Jacob’s Christmas GIVING List

Jacob is a typical four year old. He sees a commercial. He wants the toy featured. He goes in the toy aisle at the store. He wants this toy and that toy and oh, this one, too.

He started his Christmas list months ago and it includes more toys than he will ever get. And it keeps on growing and growing {which is partially our fault because they’ve been very spoiled on past holidays}.

My goal this year is to get him to think about how he can give to others and focus on what others might need instead of just what he wants. We started by looking at the World Vision Gift Catalog which is full of gifts we can give to others to truly change their lives. Gifts like cows to feed families, chickens to produce eggs they can eat and sell, and water, something we take for granted everyday. As we looked through the catalog I read him what each thing was and explained why someone would need the gift. For example, there were soccer balls in the gift catalog and I explained that some kids kick around a ball of trash and leaves because they don’t have any balls to kick when they play soccer.

After we looked through the whole thing I asked him what item he would like to buy for someone else.

He took the catalog from me, opened it to the first page and said “2 chicks”.

What happened next surprised me and brought me to tears.

“and a cow. and 3 pigs….” and on he went until I had to grab a paper to remember all he was saying he wanted to give.

And so his Christmas Giving List was created.

When I told him that all of this was a lot of money he suggested we sell his “baby” toys to get the money for all of the things he wanted to give. How sweet is that?

How do you help your children think of ways they can bless others?

Giving To Others With Champions For Kids and Disney #DisneyCFK #CBias

A week or so ago I shared with you all how I was working on a campaign with Champions For Kids and how I was going to give a stocking to my blogging friend, Paula. As a boy scout leader, Paula donates her time every week to give children a sense of belonging so I felt that she was the perfect person to give my stocking filled with goodies to. Since Paula has three children I figured I would give not one but three stockings so each child could have their own.

I went shopping at Walmart where I found a lot of stocking stuffers and cute little stockings. I got one Tinkerbell one for her daughter and two Cars themed ones for her children. I brought them over to Paula’s house last night and her children opened them this morning. Here are some pictures I wanted to share:

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I really enjoyed putting together stockings for Paula’s children and hope she knows how much her service to the community is appreciated :)

If you want to see more pictures from my shopping trip you can view my Google+ story. Champions For Kids can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

(Disclosure: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. All thoughts are my own.)

Giving Back During The Christmas Season With Champions For Kids

Giving to others is very important to me and during the Holidays it seems like there are even more opportunities to do so. I try to get my children involved in the giving whenever I can. When we pass the Salvation Army buckets I always give the boys money to put in the buckets. We put together boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Every year we also buy gifts for a family in need. A couple years ago we bought presents for children whose parents are in prison and donated them through the Angel Tree ministry. This year we gave gifts to a mother who we knew. She is now able to wrap something to put under the Christmas tree for her young daughters.

This year I am also excited to be involved in a campaign for Champions for Kids. Their vision is to see a world where millions of people work to ensure that no child dies from hunger or easily preventable diseases, that ALL children have the nutrition and food they need to thrive, that every child has a home, and that every child has someone who cares and a place to belong.

For my part in this campaign I get to go shopping and give a person I know a Christmas stocking full of goodies. When trying to decide who to give it to I wanted to give it to someone who was working to ensure that children had a place to “belong” and I thought of my friend, Paula, from Frosted Fingers. She is a boy scout den leader and every week gives boys a sense of belonging in the community by putting together activities and outings for them to partake in.

I’m looking forward to thanking her for her commitment to making life better for children and will be sharing more with you all after I give her the stockings.

(Disclosure: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias #DisneyCFK All thoughts are my own.)

Tips to Teach Children & Teens the True Spirit of the Holidays‏

Tips courtesy of World Vision:

There is not a better time of the year than the winter holiday season to involve children and teenagers in charitable giving and teach them why the old adage, “It is better to give than to receive,” is true.  World Vision offers five great ways for parents to lead by example and teach their children the true spirit of the holidays:

–    Consider do-it-yourself gifts, like no-sew fleece blankets that you can make with your children. Donate those blankets to a local homeless shelter.

–    Cherish the stories of your family. Have your children talk to their grandparents and write down the stories of their past. Create a book to share with the entire family or record it online.

–    As a family, select a charitable organization you’d like to support. Use online tools like Charity Navigator to find an organization that you trust. Give your children a budget and encourage them to decide how your family will donate to that organization this holiday. For example, flipping through the World Vision Gift Catalog will give children an idea of the difference they can make in other people’s lives.

–    Work with your children to create a coupon book for your neighbors that might need an extra hand this year.  Coupons could include shoveling their sidewalk, watching their children or providing a meal.

–    Bake cookies or sweets with your children and deliver them to your local nursing home or school-in-need. Get started with this list of holiday recipes.

In addition to teaching children how to give during the holidays, it is equally as important but possibly even more challenging, to show teenagers the true spirit of the holidays. World Vision Teen Engagement Expert, Michele Tvedt has several tips for parents including:

–    Start with conversation. Watch the nightly news together, and take time to discuss stories that touch on people struggling with poverty, unemployment or other tragedies. Let your teen lead the discussion and listen for them to express interest or passion in a particular social issue.

–    Begin to give teens a voice in family giving. Let your teen know you would like to give a charitable gift as a family to mark the holiday season, but that you’d love to let them be the final decision maker.

–    Take advantage of volunteering requirements that your teen may have to fulfill at school. Offer to help your teen find an organization that fits their interest. Keep in mind that teenagers are eager for authentic, powerful experiences. They will respond best to opportunities that allow them to experience poverty firsthand.

“The holiday season can be a stressful time of year. There are gifts to purchase and wrap, cookies to bake, and family and friends to visit, but when we pause to help our neighbors in need, we all experience the holidays in a more meaningful way,” said Traci Coker, charitable giving expert and national director of World Vision’s Gift Catalog.

For each item in World Vision’s Gift Catalog, the giver makes the purchase in the name of a friend, family member or business associate. World Vision then sends special cards to those individuals, describing the gifts and their impact. Last year alone, World Vision’s Gift Catalog raised $32 million and provided assistance to more than 800,000 people worldwide. The Gift Catalog launched in 1996, and while a goat ($75) is still World Vision’s number one seller, there are many affordable items for $35 or less.

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For more information on World Vision’s gift catalog you can check out my post (and be sure to enter the giveaway, too!)

(Disclosure: Post from WorldVision. I was not compensated for sharing this.)

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ideas

Last week over on Inexpensively.com I talked about how people could put together shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child without spending much money. You can read my post here.

A few of the items we bought for our shoebox

Since National Collection Week for shoebox gifts is coming soon I’d like to brainstorm ideas on what can be put in the box. Here is a list of items I can think of:

General:

*Flip flops *Hard candy *bouncy ball *comb *crayons *paper/coloring book *playing cards *travel sized game *book *toiletries *small stuffed animal *socks *unopened happy meal toy *play dough *small puzzle *chalk and a mini chalkboard *animal figurines *small musical instruments *finger puppets *pencil case *stickers *stamps and stamp pad

Boys:

*cars *dinosaurs *trains *paper plane kits *legos *trucks *baseball cap

Girls:

*lip gloss *small purse *doll *princess tiara *dress up shoes *Barbie *comb/brush set *stick on earrings *inexpensive jewelry *jacks *hair accessories

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What other items can you think of?