On Monday I spent my morning volunteering for Christmas with Dignity an awesome event organized to help disadvantaged families purchase deeply discounted gifts for their families for Christmas. Retailers and others donate goods that are then sorted and tagged by volunteers for these families to buy for pennies on the dollar. As the lovely Clara put it “It’s a hand up, not a hand out.” Many of the families participating go without most of the year. In some cases the children don’t even have beds, but sleep on the floor. This organization allows these parents to purchase some much needed things for their homes (furniture and appliances) as well as some fun things for the kids. It breaks my heart that so many kids go without, but I am so glad to be able to help in the small ways that I can.
So this leads me to my Christmas conundrum: how do you explain giving to those less fortunate during the holidays to your children who still believe in the magic of Santa Claus? I want to share the spirit of giving with my kids, but I don’t feel right coming out and saying “Santa doesn’t visit the poor.” There is a short window of magic in the world of a child these days and I don’t want to take that away from them. I am at a loss as to how to keep the magic yet expose them to the need.
Because there is a great need in our community. Our family is very blessed and I want our kids to grow up knowing that. I don’t want them to take for granted that there are so many kids just like them who don’t have enough food to eat or presents under the tree. The many material things we have access to aren’t a right, they’re a privilege. I want them to grow up with a spirit of service, not just during the holidays, but year round. I know I can show them the joy of giving in that regard, but with Santa and the less fortunate, well, I’m at a loss.
Any ideas, suggestions? Whenever I think about it I hit a mental wall, so maybe the solution is easy, I just can’t get past this mental roadblock. Help me out guys, leave me your thoughts!