When it comes to shopping, my kids know I have a rule: If you want to buy a book, a toy, something fun…you must give something of meaning away. When I say give something of meaning, I don’t mean like family heirlooms or sentimental one of a kind precious objects – but things, toys, books that have been loved, cared for, in good condition and aren’t quite on the ‘out’ list yet…as opposed to something that has been trashed or clearly not of any interest what-so-ever. Nope that’s too easy. Not that this is some kind of punishment – nooooooooo, no, no.
Allowing children to practice giving something away, that still has meaning – offers valuable life lessons, teaching two important things:
1) the art of letting go and not over identifying with material objects and
2) an opportunity to practice what it feels like to truly give from the heart.
After all, if it doesn’t mean anything to you – is that truly giving?
Teaching children the art of heartfelt giving is in and of itself a gift. In a time in history when mass consumerism leads to credit card abuse, unconscious spending, financial ruin, depression, the list goes on – learning the art of ‘giving’ holds a promise of mindful choices and empowerment.
When my 7 year old begs and pleads for something he just can’t seem to live without and never knew he always needed until we walked into the toy store and oh my god there it was and now he just has to have it….the onus is on him, and he knows it. What is he willing to give that he already has – what is this new shiny toy worth to him. Now we see the wheels of critical thinking start to turn…and that makes me burst with pride. I watch him as he slows himself down – sometimes it takes longer than others and sometimes even longer – then the muscles of self control start to take the wheel. What I am watching is the process of how he self regulates his own desires by checking in with with himself and his values. Bingo!
He is learning to master a skill that is strengthening independent thinking and when he’s older, will give him the confidence to make hard decisions even when faced with peer pressure. Do you see where I’m going? Guess what, there’s more: The end result is not about charity – it’s about exchange. Learning to understand early that life is based on exchange, not entitlement – whether it be money, grades, hard work, respect, generosity, energy, love…we are setting our sweet Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, Magic Elf believers up for success in experiencing, first hand that what you put out in the world is what you get.
What better way to bring to life all these valuable lessons? Enter the Santa Sack Party – a perfect and fun way to begin introducing these concepts to your family…. not just for kids either! Whip up some hot chocolate, snacks and hit the holiday soundtrack – it’s party time!
XO ~ L
1. Make ‘Santa’s Sacks’ from pillow cases or fabric – have fun and get creative!
2. Everyone gets to decorate and personalize their own sack.
3. Write a note to the new family, child or person to receiving the gifts.
4. Clean, spruce up and repair items to give away.
5. Leave sacks out for ‘Santa Claus’ The Chanukah Helper or whatever generous spirit you believe in…make sure they disappear for the sake of ‘the magic of the holidays’ 😉
**Research and select an organization to gift your donations that resonates with you and your generosity will be that much more meaningful.
This is not just an opportunity to teach some big concepts but a wonderful way to get into the spirit of the holidays for big kids or small! Throw a ‘Santa’s Sack’ party at your home, school, church, temple or community center and be the holiday magic! XO ~ L