Christmas with kids.  A constant battle between wanting to give our children a few nice presents, and wanting them to get that one awesome gift from Santa, but also wanting to teach them that Christmas isn’t all about getting – the joy and beauty is in giving.  Wanting to make nice memories for our kids, but trying our best to not get caught up in the consumerism and over-consumption that the holiday has turned into.

A friend of mine told me a story about a mom whose boys wrote their Christmas list in November.  They asked for very specific Lego sets.  She searched for these online, found them, and ordered them.  Then the boys completely rewrote their list, and then rewrote it again.  This mom didn’t know what to do.  She wanted to get her boys the special gift that they really wanted, but they seemed overwhelmed and couldn’t even decide what that special gift was themselves.

I thought a lot about that story, and how common that is – kids watching commercials, and seeing ads, and thinking that they want – no, need – every new toy that catches their attention.  How do we get them to focus, slow down, and really think about what Christmas should be about?  How do we teach them that it is OK to want a nice gift, but to not get caught up in the “me, me, me” mindset that Christmas can turn into?  How do we teach them that giving is better than receiving and that Christmas should really be about coming together with family and friends and sharing love and kindness?

In effort to help teach our children all that … we have created this:

A World-Changing Kids Christmas Wish List for Santa

This asks kids to think about what they want, but balances that by asking them to think outside themselves to come up with three Acts of Kindness they can do, which will allow them to strengthen their kindness muscles.  It also asks them to think of another child their age who does not have as much as they have, and asks them to come up with something that this child would like, which will allow them to strengthen their empathy muscles.  It is my hope that this template will help us steer our children away from thinking that Christmas is only about presents and teach them the joy of giving to others.  I know Santa would approve!

As promised in the “Extra Bonus Act of Kindness” section, we did some research to list as many organizations that we could find that take new toys and distribute them to kids who need them.  If you have any other organizations to add to this list, we would love to hear about them and add them in!

Ottawa:

Amy Volume, from KISS 105.3, is collecting toys for the Ottawa Mission until Dec 20

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa

Black Widow Cheer Gym will have a bin in their lobby until Dec 19

CityKidz

eQhomes and Mrs Tiggy Winkle’s (until Dec 15)

Minwaashin Lodge

St. Joe’s Women’s Centre

Toy Mountain Ottawa