Have you purposed to teach your children to find joy in giving? Isn’t that vitally important since our flesh is selfish, and children who aren’t taught to be givers grow into adult takers?
Christmas is a perfect time of year to easily incorporate activities into your Christmas traditions that will help your children discover what Jesus taught: “. . . and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
There is another aspect of this that comes into play as well, that we learn from King David. “And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver” (2 Samuel 24:24). It isn’t just our giving and telling the children what we are doing, but rather helping them invest themselves in their own part of the giving.
Think about the good feeling you have experienced when you gave a gift that cost you something and was meaningful to the recipient. Don’t you want your children to experience that as well?
There are multitudes of giving opportunities at Christmas. The ones you pick, your attitude and excitement about them, and your children’s investment will work toward helping them love to give and focus on that more than getting. They can experience that now as children but also through the rest of their lives.
Family Gift Giving
As our children were growing up, they were expected to do their chores as part of their family responsibility. However, before they were old enough to earn their own money, we gave them a small amount of money each month that was available for them to purchase birthday and Christmas presents. When they grew older and had their own income sources, they used that money, and it truly cost them more.
Even as little children they would spend hours thinking and praying about each gift they would give. They loved to shop and find just the right item in their budget to fulfill their plan. They watched with excitement when the gift was opened, and they were always eager for the next family, gift-giving opportunity.
Steve and I delighted in our children’s involvement and pleasure in giving gifts when they were little, but to see it when they are now adults fills us with the reality of this verse: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 1:4).
We see our married children teaching our grandchildren the same joy of giving they learned. Our grandchildren have some extra chores they can do to earn money for gifts. Then they go to the Dollar Store to shop. When they give Grandpa or me a present, full of smiles, they literally quiver with enthusiasm waiting for us to open their gift.
Some families’ gift is one of time and skill because they make gifts for each other, considering the others’ needs and wants and their ability to supply.
Operation Christmas Child
We love Operation Christmas Child that gives a shoebox of toys, gifts, and a Gospel tract to children in third world countries. As young adults, our girls are now helping their nieces and nephews learn to love to give. They set up a Christmas-in-August-extended-family, fund-raising breakfast where the children pitch in to help with decorating, cooking, serving, and cleanup. The children give a presentation on Operation Christmas Child and ask for donations from the family. Then they are involved in purchasing items for the shoeboxes, filling the shoeboxes, and delivering them to the collecting church.
May I encourage you to set a goal of helping your children learn the joy of giving gifts that cost them something, whether it is their time, skills, or money—to make the focus giving rather than receiving—and then do what you can to implement it?
Sarah wrote a Christmas book we just released that I believe would help you in this goal as well. You’ll find find sweet enjoyment reading Sunflower's Christmas Miracle aloud with your children. I am sure it will prompt and motivate the kind of giving spirit you want for your children.