Daily Advent Gift: Day 8

Today, one of my boys’ went to a birthday party where they requested we didn’t bring any gifts for the child. Instead, they requested we bring an unwrapped gift for a child through Toys for Tots. What a great way to teach kids to give. Love that!

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The Toys for Tots Mission is…

The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.

The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.

Consider buying a toy for a child and dropping it in a Toys for Tots bin. Find locations here.

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Daily Advent Gift: Day 2

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“The world’s deadliest creature, the mosquito, kills nearly 655,000 people every year. While preventing malaria is inexpensive by U.S. standards, it’s out of reach for poor African families who must watch helplessly as their children suffer and die. Your gift will provide one of the best ways to protect children from malaria—bed nets—as well as critical education for prevention and control.

Every $18 you give will provide long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets that will protect an entire family from this deadly disease. Since these nets can be used for approximately four years, that means you will save the life of a family for only 18 cents a month! It’s one of the best investments you’ll ever make!”

World Vision Bed Nets Donation Page

Daily Advent Gift: Day 1

Advent brings many different traditions. Some people hide an Elf around the house, some have daily readings, some practice daily acts of kindness. Last year, the boys and I practiced giving by delivering poinsettias throughout town, donating clothes, buying new toys & clothes for those in need. Truthfully, we’ll probably do many of those same things this year. But the year, we’re going to Give More. In lieu of creating Holiday Gift Guides for Non-Profits, my family and I are donating to a non-profit. Every day of advent.

Why?

The more I give, the less I want.

Join me, won’t you? It doesn’t have to be a lot. Keep reading to see what $1 can do…

Day 1? Blood:Water Mission

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Blood:Water Mission is a grassroots organization that empowers communities to work together against the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa.

Blood:Water Mission

Friends: One Dollar. Less than the cup of Starbucks will give someone in Africa a year of clean water. You can donate any amount ($5 minimum) through the secure Blood:Water Donation Page.

Christmas Giving with Kids

I’ve been on a quest to try to figure out ways to give & serve with the boys. The problem is that they are 5. And have the attention span and body control of puppies.

Every November I come up with a list of giving activities. I plan on doing  Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this post and this post about RACK. So inspiring!) And by this time every December, I feel like a complete failure for getting consumed with shopping, holiday parties, decorations, and of course sickness.

So far, we’ve enjoyed loving our neighbors by filling the Operation Christmas Child boxes., donating winter coats to One Warm Coat, and buying toys and food for Full Gospel Tabernacle in Far Rockaway, NY. But my favorite Christmas giving tradition that we’ve started is to walk around town center, delivering poinsettia plants. (And by “tradition” I mean that we’ve now done this two years in a row…) It all began with a poinsettia fundraiser for their preschool. But since we don’t need a bunch of plants, we decided to spread the love around town.

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The boys decided to give their plants to the Post Office, the Police Station, the Fire Station (though it should have occurred to me that no one would be there since it is a volunteer department, so we left it by the door. They probably thought there was a bomb inside.), the town Cafe (the only restaurant in town), the Library and the Dry Cleaner (of course, so they could get lollipops).

It is such a small way to put a smile on someone’s face, and brings us even greater joy to deliver these. It was wonderful see the boys confidently and happily hand over the plants, saying “Merry Christmas, this is a gift for you!”

Maybe some year, we will be able to do daily Christmas giving. Or maybe I’ll take the pressure off of myself  to just enjoy the season,  give however we can and continue our giving activities throughout the year, instead of jamming them all into Advent.

How do you give with your kids during the Christmas season? I’m always looking for ideas and inspiration!