Ever since I was a child myself, I have absolutely loved Christmas! It may be because I have always been surrounded by children and you can’t help but be joyful when everyday is spent with beautiful little people or maybe it’s because secretly I’m just a big kid myself – but I love everything about it! From spending time with family and friends to the decorations, Christmas carols, Christmas craft, fancy food, present giving and Christmas parties – I love it all. Each year I begin planning earlier and earlier so that Christmas lasts even longer. Yet while I enjoy all aspects of it, I’m always mindful that it isn’t like that for everyone. Christmas is a wonderful magical time for many but for others it can be quite the opposite. It may be a time of great loneliness, neediness and depression. Although colourful lights, Santa and Christmas trees are a huge exciting part of Christmas, it is really important that as adults we do not lose sight of the big picture and the wider community. There is nothing wrong with celebrating, decorating, buying gifts, etc. but children should also be taught about caring for others. Charity should be a part of our lives throughout the whole year but Christmas brings the perfect opportunity to teach children about giving to those less fortunate and also about the real meaning of Christmas.
Teach them about the real meaning of Christmas
Whether you believe in Jesus and the Christmas story or not, it is important to share it with children so that they know why Christmas is celebrated. Some people celebrate Christmas as being the end of the year and do not associate it with Jesus being born but I think it’s important for children to understand how it all began. The best way to do this is through children’s books or a child friendly bible. Regardless of your faith, present it as a story or as what some people believe but children should be educated about such a huge yearly event.
Teach them to GIVE
Teach your children to be gracious and grateful by showing them to care for others and to give, not only at Christmas but always. Make sure you explain why you are giving and how important it is. Here are a few of my favourite charities and ways that you and your children can give at Christmas time:
World Vision has some great gifts you can buy for people in poor communities. When you buy a gift from World Vision, the recipient receives a Christmas card detailing what you bought and how it helps. Presents begin from $5.00 and that will buy school pencils which will enable children to dream and create. Some other great gifts you can buy to support these communities in need are: chicken and eggs $10.00, mosquito nets $15.00, much needed child immunisation or school books $25.00 each, blankets to keep warm $35.00 and for $125.00 you can train a teacher or buy food for life! There are also lots more options of things to buy which will make a difference to children, families and communities. And if you want to help the whole year through, consider sponsoring a child. For more information visit: http://trans.worldvision.com.au/Gifts/GiftCatalogue/Gifts.aspx
At UNICEF you can buy gifts that are delivered straight to needy children. $34.00 will buy polio vaccinations for 200 children, $27.00 will protect 100 children from the measles, and $466.00 will provide a water pump for the whole community, plus there are many more gifts to choose from. Your loved ones will receive a card detailing the wonderful gift you bought in their name. We take healthcare for granted but these children won’t survive unless more people open their hearts. You have the power to make a difference to so many people’s lives and help a whole community. Find out how you can help at www.unicef.org.au
At the RSPCA you can help make a difference to many animals lives who have been abused, neglected and mistreated. Be their voice by supporting the amazing work of the RSPCA. Buy RSPCA Christmas cards or gifts and the proceeds will help make life better for many darling precious animals. Find out how at www.rspca.org.au
Almost everyone knows someone who has been affected by Cancer and so much more help is needed if we are going to eradicate this insidious disease. Give your support this Christmas by buying Christmas cards, donating money in lieu of gifts or asking others to donate money instead of buying you a gift at http://www.cancercouncil.com.au.
Make A Wish Foundation
The Make A Wish Foundation, with the sponsorship, donations, and support of the community grants the wishes of children with life threatening illnesses. Support them by buying cards and gifts from Make a wish at www.makeawish.org.au
Another beautiful way to teach children about giving is to allow them to help you when volunteering your time. As a family you can collect gifts, food and other necessities for families in need; help out in soup kitchens; or by delivering presents to needy families, etc. Also, check with local churches or charities and find out other ways you can donate or volunteer.
These are all great ways to get children into the real Christmas spirit and to show them what giving is really all about. It’s important for children to know that giving isn’t about expensive presents it’s about helping those less fortunate than ourselves. Make Christmas time the time to begin teaching your darling precious children a lesson so valuable that when taught consistently throughout the year will last a lifetime.
Happy guiding and a giving Christmas
Darling Precious Children