Wednesday, November 20, 2013

In a Shoebox

For our family Christmas isn't just about the gifts. It's not about what we give or receive. We believe in the spirit of the holiday; the joy, the kindness, the cheer. Last year we simply made monetary donations but this year I felt April was old enough to begin taking part in giving to others.

Operation Christmas Child is something I did as a child. I remember enjoying greatly the process of choosing special things to fill our shoebox. It seemed like the perfect activity to do with a young child. We talked about how some children are alone or live in a place where their families can't give gifts. I told her how some children have never been given gifts or even cards on the birthdays or Christmas. We agreed that it would make some little girl or little boy very happy if we put some special things in a box and sent it to them for Christmas this year.

It took a couple reminders but April did seem to understand that the items she chose at the store were not hers to keep. We were choosing items to make some other child's Christmas special. I thought that one of the boxes should be for a girl between the ages of 2 and 4 as many of the things April selected were appropriate for her own age group. She chose crayons, paper pads, stickers, My Little Pony, a toothbrush, socks, a lovey, a ball and several other special things. We also decided that we should send one to a little boy too so we chose things we thought her male friends would like. For both boxes April made special cards. She carefully selected Christmas stickers, her favorite stamp and made sure not to leave a single corner untouched. Watching her make those cards and tell me about the girl that lives far away might have been my favorite part.

Today we put it all together and dropped off our boxes. In the car we talked about how the boxes would go on a truck, then a plane and then probably another truck and finally handed to a child. We talked about how excited they will be and what April thought their favorite things would be. She was so proud and happy to hand over that box of toys and she seemed to really understand that we were doing this for someone else's happiness. And that made us both feel happy. We don't do these things for the pat on the back or to make our images better. Making others happy and offering a helping hand is good for the soul and I find it makes the things in our own lives seem that much more precious.

If you and your family would like make a shoebox, you can find more information here.

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