Most people are more generous this time of year, and it's fun to be on both ends of that generosity - on the giving end and on the receiving end. I love hearing stories of how someone went to order a coffee and found out the person before them had secretly paid for it. I love how you can buy a toy for a child of a military family and the salesperson will yell into the microphone "One more for Operation Homefront - woo hoo!". I love hearing the bell ring for the Salvation Army when I go grocery shopping....being pestered by my kids to drop some change in the red bucket.
It's just plain fun and satisfying to give to others.
I love that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. Over the years I've been very intentional about my girls knowing whose birthday we are celebrating and what it means to give gifts to the greatest gift of all...Jesus.
"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40
Although we don't have very many Christmas traditions, every year we come back to this....one of the best ways to love Jesus is to love others: how we love each other, how we love our extended family members, how we love our literal neighbors, how we love our church family and how we love those around the world. Our Christmas celebrations include showing love in all the above ways.
One of the biggest ways we've done that is by using Compassion's Gift Catalog. The ministry of Compassion and child sponsorship is part of our family culture. Making Christmas cards for both our sponsored children and unsponsored children is normal for my girls. Going through the catalog and choosing items we'd like to gift to others is also normal.
Another "normal" at our house is to decorate our Christmas tree with ornaments from Compassion countries and photos of our sponsored children. We've been blessed to travel to several countries now, and have a nice little collection. I love turning souvenir keychains into ornaments.
This year we printed out each child's photo - making them fancy with Pizap. Each day we choose a child to pray for and then hang their photo on the garland that's hanging on our huge map. It's a great visual and is quite festive and beautiful. How blessed we are to have these kids in our lives.
I would love to hear some of the ways your family is giving this Christmas away....I find it very encouraging and inspiring to hear what others are doing, so please take a moment to share in the comments.