Thanks and Giving…

Psalm 106:1

Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

     Hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving and took some time to not only be with loved ones, but also allowed a moment to focus on what you are thankful for. And whether or not you are heading out to fight the crowds for Black Friday shopping, or staying safe (and sane!) in the comfort of your home while indulging in those internet sales, you might still need some gift ideas. Gift giving for the kiddos, no matter what age, can get out of control, as you know! Kids have way too many toys and electronics nowadays- so many that they don’t even remember what all they have! How about a new tradition for the kiddos (or grandchildren as in my case!)? One thing I have started with the grandkids, which I should’ve done with my own kiddo while she was growing up, is to buy less toys! OMG, it is sooo hard to do this as a Yaya! I want to buy everything that their sweet little hearts desire! But I know that isn’t what they need and it isn’t teaching them the meaning of the season. So here is my blueprint:

*One thing to read, one thing to create with (art/crafts), one thing to play with (toys/electronics), one thing to wear (this year they get cold weather gear!), one thing to do (hike, swim lessons, movie day, etc.), and one thing to give. “Give” you ask?! Yes! Something that you can do together that shows the spirit of the season – GIVING to others and showing God’s love. One thing our family has done for years is Compassion International’s Operation Christmas Child boxes. Now that tradition has extended to the grandkids. Learning how to shop for other kids from around the world (and learn that they don’t get to keep it for themselves!) is such an important and fulfilling activity!

But NOW, we have a new activity that I hope will be a tradition with the grandchildren! We are making giveaway bags for the people who are “panhandling” for money on the corners in our city. Anyone else ever have that dilemma of whether or not to give them money? I think most of us want to help, but there are many who feel like the money might be used for something other than food or essentials. So how about creating giveaway bags to hand out instead? My daughter and I took the kiddos to the Dollar Store earlier this week and filled up our cart with food and some essentials that we thought people might like/need: Granola bars, chips, nuts, trail mix, crackers, toothpaste, toothbrush, combs, cleansing wipes, etc. We even grabbed some activity books for the ones that have children with them. Both the kiddos had fun picking out food for the bags, even though the 2 year old didn’t quite understand and just wanted to open and eat everything we grabbed! We will assemble the bags in a few days and then have them in our cars ready to give someone next time we are uncomfortably sitting at a light next to them.  If they really want the help, and just don’t want the money for something else, they will more than happy to receive a bag.

Just as there are many things to be THANKFUL for, there are many ways to GIVE. I challenge you to discover a new way that you and your family can create new traditions and new ways of giving. As we are now officially into the holiday season, let’s all take the time to focus on what is important in our lives. Many blessings to you all!

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