We are blessed, always have been in more ways than one - well unless you ask the oldest she will recount Christmas of '98, when the hog market tanked - she was only 2 so I am not positive she remembers - but every time they complain about not getting something they "NEEEEEEED" they are forced to relive that year and am pretty sure they have been traumatized by our story's!
Anyway - every year our church puts up an Angel Tree - you know where you pick "ornaments" with wants and needs of children and family's that could you use a little extra love this time of year - we have always tried to help, (our church is amazing if you aren't there to pick your ornament the first Sunday it is up they are usually all gone) from the time I had my first kid I tried to pick an ornament the same age as her - my goal was to personalize who I was buying for to grasp that these people were asking for necessities as presents - as the kids got older they were instructed to pick an ornament with an age the same as theirs - so that as they were shopping they could relate and hopefully get an understanding of how lucky they were - most of these kids needed clothing for Christmas!
So this is how it works:
1. Each of my kids is to pick an ornament off the Angel Tree close to their age (sometimes this is not always possible but they can usually get close)
2. They are given the budgeted amount of cash, their list of what their child needs and turned loose (you know what I mean - and we usually go to Wal-Mart where there is lots of choices and you get more bang for your buck)!
3. They have to pay the cashier - they see how much each item costs and the total - and yes some years we have had to put things back and yes they always ask if they get to keep the change - the answer is always "NO" - they should spend as much as they have on the person they are buying for - if you have a little extra buy some Christmas candy!
4. I make the kids wrap the presents! They must wrap neatly and be presentable - I always say "If you were only getting one present wouldn't you want it wrapped neatly and with tissue paper inside not just thrown in a box, so that it looked like someone really put care into your present?"
OK so this year we got to Wal-Mart and my oldest says to me:
"Mom this kid only wants pants and a shirt - I brought some of my own money would it be alright if I buy him a toy too?"
I CRIED right there in the middle of Wal-Mart, I did - she looked at me like I was insane and said "MOM what the heck are you doing your embarrassing me?" - I thought to myself "OH thank God it is my kid and this is not just a dream" - seriously I had my doubts!
I looked at her like she was insane and said:
"Don't be an idiot - of course you can spend some of your own money - that is the whole point of this - for you to learn to give to others!" Yeah I really said that, it is me after all!
SHE GETS IT - I truly think they all 3 do and that makes my heart smile!
I also have to close with the story of wrapping the gifts - I am also the person that has to be called every year at the last minute from the person who organizes the Angel Tree with the question: "Hi Jent we really need to get the presents out to the family do you think maybe you could bring yours over to the church they were supposed to be here last Sunday!"
So last night after I hung up the phone I hollered for the kids to come wrap the presents, the oldest looks at me and says: "I really have a lot of homework, I don't have time!" I looked at her and simply said "Wow that sucks how about I hang on to your laptop so that you aren't tempted to watch movies or surf the net and can stay focused on your homework!"
She wrapped the present!
Side note: Chris informed me last night that I may of scared some you with my last ranting post - that was totally not my intention, while I probably am someone to be feared (just ask my kids), in that post I was merely stating my utter shock that so few people were interested in winning a FREE cookbook - however in your scared state I have to say that each and every comment forced my ego to grow a size bigger and made my heart very happy - and also allowed me to find some of your blogs that I didn't know about so THANK YOU!