Every year our church has a shoe box drive and I usually fill them up and drop them off. This year the kids and I went to the dollar store so they could pick out the items themselves. Teaching kids about giving back, particularly at Christmas, is a lesson they will carry with them their whole lives. I remember collecting coins at Easter, taking cans for the food drive, and bringing bags of clothes for our church rummage sale. My parents taught the importance of charity to us and I am so thankful for that.
After church last week we stopped at Dollar Tree and I told both my kids to fill their boxes with things they would like to have. My son wandered the aisles, carefully thinking about each item. My 3.5 year old wanted to grab everything! We spent quite awhile going up and down every aisle picking out things that a little girl her age would like to have. I think the pink sparkly ball was the favorite and the one she was most excited about. The princess looking mirror was a great find too! My son added things like pens, notepads, toothbrushes, combs, candy, and silly string.
Once their boxes were full they were both a little bummed. When I asked them why the long faces my daughter said, “We can’t fit anymore in here. I need another box!” My son said he was a little sad because the football wouldn’t fit. To be honest, it made be proud that they were feeling that way. They were sad only because they wanted to do more. My son, ever the logical one, said, “You’re happy we’re sad? Mommy! That’s not nice!” One day he will understand why.
When we got home we spread the items out and put them neatly in their boxes. This was a great experience with my kids and one we will continue to enjoy together each year. We love our church and the generous and giving spirits of our congregation; Operation Christmas Child is just one of the many programs we support. It’s not too late if you want to create a box for a child online. Just go to their website and follow the prompts to create a box.
Merry Christmas! *Kylie
All of the “I want” and “can we buy” questions have been pretty overwhelming with my 3.5 year old lately. This is such a good reminder about how to turn those questions around and teach giving. I did something similar for a foster kid backpack program recently and I was pleasantly surprised that my daughter loved picking out items for other kids. I think she just loves to shop regardless of who gets the “stuff”.