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Author Topic: Yule and Children  (Read 3254 times)

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Fox

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Yule and Children
« on: December 08, 2010, 10:48:05 AM »

I was going to post this in the charity thread because it is along similar lines, but thought it probably deserved its own attention.

As a part of our family Yule celebration, we have attempted to get our kids to think about more than just "what stuff am I getting" and "I want. I want. I want".  We've tried to do this in a way that is still fun and exciting for them so that, hopefully, the point behind it, thinking about others, really sticks.  We have been having them pick out a small gift for each other that they have to take the time to shop for, pay for (with our money, but they have to go through the check out process of handing over the money and getting the change), wrap themselves and then they put this under each others' trees until the first day of winter when they get to open them.

In many ways, this has worked.  They love doing something different that they know their friends don't do and are always really excited about this activity (all parts, not just the opening) and they tend to really enjoy giving to each other and do take the time to think about what each other really wants.  They also tend to appreciate these little gifts a bit more than some of the things they get from us or other family members.  The problem with this is that it is still about the "stuff".

Hubby and I have tried to come up with something that brings the same level of excitement and enjoyment as the gift exchange and still be a good experience and lesson in giving of self , but isn't so much about the "stuff".  We seriously considered taking them shopping for toys, having them pick out something they would really like to have and then having them drop it in the Toys for Tots box on the way out, but they'd probably hate us for that.  :whistle:  When the flier first came home, I thought that might be a good place to start, then I read the wish lists.  I also know that, at least at this point, my kids aren't the types where doing anything at all that doesn't benefit them in some way could be considered fun or something they would get excited about.

Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?  Anything you do, or someone you know of, that may give me a jumping off place for us to reshape our Yule celebration for the kids?  Or, do you think what we are doing now is really still the better option at this point?  Oh, and my kids are 12, 8 and 6 this year if that helps.
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Tirya

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Re: Yule and Children
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2010, 10:57:20 AM »

Is there someplace you can go visit and bring gifts - a retirement home or something - where people who don't see/have grandchildren could benefit from meeting your little ones, and maybe your kids would learn something long the way?
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BronwynWolf

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Re: Yule and Children
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2010, 02:05:37 PM »

I like Tirya's suggestion. Having volunteered in homes, I know that many seniors do NOT get visits. Except at Christmas, when it seems everyone starts remembering. Meriah helps pick out the stuff Mom gets for the Giving Tree, and she is involved with the Neighborhood Watch Program with me and Mom...year round involvement.

At Yule and Christmas, I try to focus on the basic reasons for the seasons: The return of light to the dark world. Hope and family. It isn't about charity or giving or getting presents. Our Yule is simple: A short rite to welcome back the light, and acknowledge the change of seasons.
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Wolfsrain

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Re: Yule and Children
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2010, 06:29:32 PM »

Agreeing with Tirya.

I've always kind of liked the getting for other children thing, so while your kids would hate you for having them pick out something they REALLY want and then just not being able to keep it, it would make for a better experience if you somehow were able to get them to consider all the things they really love, want, have received in the past and then think about how they would feel if they never ever got a gift for the holidays. While that is about the 'stuff' it's also about getting them to understand that level of love. That someone cared enough about them to bring them something special and that not everyone gets to feel appreciated, loved or wanted enough to get gifts, and sometimes kids grow up in homes where they barely have enough money for food around the holidays let alone presents. So if you DID bring them to a toy store don't just make it about "what would you want? okay you're not getting that, we're putting it in a drop off box" make it about consideration. Have them think about the other kids waking up and not having something to open and instead of, "I want it" make it "what would make someone's holiday really special? How can I make them feel loved? What would THEY want."

Also the food thing. I'm also a huge fan of food drives and there are a lot of places you can go to actually assist. I don't mean your kids have to plop food onto plates but they can actually go to a place the food is being delivered to, to deliver it themselves. It gives them a chance to see (on occasion, sometimes it goes to people's houses and not just a place where people go to eat) who really needs it, and how much they're helping.

I don't know if I made much sense Foxy, but these things can be important.  :loveheart:
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Crystal Dragon

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Re: Yule and Children
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2010, 09:46:35 PM »

Do you have any organizations that deliver meals to shut ins?  Maybe if they were involved in something like that or even taking toys to a women's shelter?

I do think what you are doing is better than nothing (which is what most do ... nothing).  And getting them to not think about "stuff" when our whole society is geared toward who owns what is really tough.

Kudos to you for even thinking about teaching your kids love and kindness. :warmfuzz:
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Wolfsrain

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Re: Yule and Children
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2010, 10:41:01 PM »

 :hilook:

Kudos to you for even thinking about teaching your kids love and kindness. :warmfuzz:
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Fox

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Re: Yule and Children
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2010, 11:43:29 PM »

I've always said that what I want most for my kids is to lead happy, healthy and productive lives when they get older, but really, with all the ugliness that we see on a daily basis, some in our own families, what I really want is for them to see and be a part of what is beautiful in the world.
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bluefire

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Re: Yule and Children
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2010, 12:06:41 PM »

Just an idea.  When my children were young, I had an art project/coupon day with each of them, separately.  They made a pretty coupon (well, the one my daughter made was always pretty; my son is decidedly NOT an artist) gift for their sibling.  The coupon was for whatever they wanted to give as a gift -- I'll clean your room for you; or I'll play a game with you; or I'll make breakfast for you; whatever.  It was a fun time for me to spend with each of the kids, talking about what they thought the other one might really enjoy.  Good times.
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Re: Yule and Children
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2010, 04:41:37 PM »

What about picking out an angel from the angel tree to adopt a family or child/teen.  They usually have them at walmart.  Or there is the sack it for santa at CVS geared towards teens. 

Because the teens always seem to get left out when it comes to donations. Most are for babies/kids or for adults.

That might be something good for your 12 year old to do (the CVS one) and maybe toys for tots for your two youngest ones
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xhesive

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Re: Yule and Children
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2010, 10:21:02 AM »

I love the idea of charity and with my daughter what we do every year is have her go through her room and pick out 10 toys she can give away. I go through the closets (can be scary sometimes) and pull out whatever clothes we won't wear or doesn't fit us. And we take it to the local homeless shelter. Shelters are always in need of stuff and most will even let you go in and look around and see what they're immediate needs are. If you don't want to go in you can always call and ask where they're drop off boxes are at around town.

Our family does this every year at different times of the year and it really helps the children and adults both to resonate just how fortunate we are and how good it is to give a little to help someone else.
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Fox

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Re: Yule and Children
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2010, 06:45:03 PM »

Well, apparently we are doing our jobs as parents here.  My middle child just came to me asking about a flier that came home from school the other day.  There is another family, this one in our district, that lost everything in a fire recently.  In an attempt to raise money to help them out, the school is giving the kids special days (hat day, pj day, etc) at the end of this week and into next week that they can participate in if they donate, 25 cents for each day. 

My daughter had brought the same flier home a few days ago and we'd sent money in with her.  My son just came and asked me if he could do what his sister had done and take in $5 to help that family out.  I said absolutely and was walking to my purse as he was still talking.  He said that he had $5 in his money back that he could give.  He was totally prepared to give his own money to help this family and hadn't even thought that his giving would come from us even though that is what we did for his sister.

There are so many times that I think what we say never sinks in, but apparently that isn't the case.  I'm super proud of my son right now.  :loveheart:
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Wolfsrain

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Re: Yule and Children
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2010, 10:49:24 PM »

Awww, Foxy that's super sweet!  :loveheart:
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Re: Yule and Children
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2010, 01:42:21 AM »

 :loveheart:  Very sweet!  Of course, I already knew you had some great kids there. :warmfuzz:
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Re: Yule and Children
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2010, 05:59:40 AM »

How sweet!   :loveheart:
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Re: Yule and Children
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2010, 07:44:06 AM »

You have every right to be proud. That is so sweet and super nice of your son to be so thoughtful. Sounds like you have some really great kids. :whoohoo:
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Re: Yule and Children
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2010, 01:06:02 PM »

 :loveheart:
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Starfish

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Re: Yule and Children
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2010, 01:19:02 PM »

This is absolutely inspiring.  ()
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