A season of giving

So here we are, rushing out to the stores to buy load of new crap that our kids don’t really need, and at least 1/3 of which will sit on the shelf unplayed with, or maybe once.  I understand the notion that it’s almost like a reward for a year of being good, and sharing among adults to show how you feel about them and all that nostalgic bullshit.

Can you tell this season drives me a little nuts?  It’s not about the religious part of all the holidays for most of the people out there, it’s about giving Little Tommy and Little Susie more than they need or could possibly want because they want it and as their parents, you have to give it to them.

Here’s my idea for taking back the holiday and making it about giving.  Plus, as an added bonus, you’ll teach your kids a cool lesson.

Find a box – come on, you just assembled 100 pieces of crap that’s going to break xmas day or the day after, you know you have one.  Make it a substantial box if you can.  Now, get out the markers, crayons, paper, glue, and scissors.  Tell the kids that they are going to decorate the box for the season – snowflakes, menorahs, trees, other holiday crap like that – and write in big letters on the sides – “The Giving Box”.  That’ll keep them busy, encourage them to make it as colorful and elaborate as possible.

Now, here comes the cool part.  Have the kids take the box (and if you have more than one kid, you can do more than one box), and put it in the middle of their room.  Their next job, is to FILL IT with stuff they haven’t played with in a long time, or stuff they don’t want.  See if they can bring it all the way up to the top of the box, so you can tape it shut.

Now, find a charity/orphanage/church/streetcorner in your neighborhood where you know you’ll be able to give all of these toys that have been sitting around to a child who isn’t going to get anything this holiday season.  Let your kids cast offs become a light in a kids day who isn’t expecting anything.

The giving is not from you, it’s from your kids, so try to figure out a way for them to carry it in, or give it to someone, or come up with who they will give it to.  Leave it somewhere you know it’ll be appreciated.

There are benefits to this whole thing too – the kids have less crap, their rooms are cleaner, and they make room for all of the stuff they’re about to get in a few days.  This is a great weekend to do it, so go for it.  Don’t wait for spring cleaning to toss this stuff.  Give the kids the real reason for “The season of giving”.