In keeping with my previous post about spending less, giving presence instead of presents, and giving to a charitable cause for Christmas, I wanted to share a quick story. Just after I posted the video about giving (the video I first saw over at author Angela Hunt’s blog), I received a card in the mail from my agency for Christmas. I receive this card every year and with it normally comes a package or a generous gift certificate for me in thanks for being their client. This year, they surprised me. My Christmas card was from Samaritan’s Purse and it said that my agents had donated to have a certain amount of Christmas Shoe Boxes for kids and money to feed a baby in my name. It was the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received.
So, to pass on the spirit, our family decided to participate in the Christmas tree gift giving at our church. We purchased a few ornaments from the Africa tree, that allowed us to do the same thing. We can now send the ornaments in a card to loved ones instead of a fancy gift. This is especially great for the grandparent who has everything and no room for anything new. Our kids really got a kick out of this. Children naturally have a very giving spirit and I must say their excitement humbled me, even as I was honestly a little bit worried about the cost. It is, after all, not the easiest time for most of us when it comes to finances at this time, right?
As if that wasn’t enough good will, our children really wanted to do the Angel Tree that required them to buy a gift for a prisoner’s child. This meant loading the kids in the car, fighting the Christmas crowd at the store, wrapping, and eventually delivering the gift back to the church. An inconvenience? Well, yes, but honestly the kids were so excited to pick out the gifts for their chosen child that it bumped the scrooge right out of us. As the kids wrapped the gifts themselves, they were only too eager to give up a little bit of their own abundance of gifts under the tree to give to someone else. It was just so easy for them, I was surprised. I wonder, maybe it’s adults who make our children selfish by giving, giving, and giving to them without teaching how be grateful and charitable.
All this, to say that the little girl my daughter chose to buy for only wanted a book. A book! Not books, not a certain book, but just a book. I couldn’t help being proud of my daughter for choosing a book lover and happy there is a little girl out there who loves to read and would ask for such a simple little present. One that she can read more than once if she wants, or that she can share with others. Of course, we couldn’t buy just one, so we bought a couple of American Girl books and a Christmas book that tells the Christmas Story of Bethlehem, only a mouse was involved. Yes, a mouse, but anyway, my daughter loved it, so we thought this little girl would too.
Over all, the experience has been wonderful for our family. We gave each other “presence” as we spent time together on our giving project and we learned a few lessons. I must say that the video I posted last week really did inspire me more than I expected. And as an author, of course the part about that little girl definitely boosted my spirit. Who would have thought that a child who could ask for anything within a certain price range would ask for a book?