Monday, December 20, 2010

The Christmas Morning Project

I'm posting this because whenever I've mentioned it to someone they say "That's a great idea!" I believe that everyone wants to give service to others, what is lacking are the opportunities presented to us.

I was a very selfish teenager- more than one Christmas came and went where I was not as grateful as I should have been. One of our goals for our family is to do service on Christmas day. There is three reasons for this 1- To remember the Savior Jesus Christ and the life of service he lead 2- To open our children's eyes to the world around them and help them to recognize their many blessings 3- To keep them from being spoiled and ungrateful. Besides, it just feels like the right thing to do.

So how do you take a 2 year old to do service? Who could a toddler possibly serve?

My cousin shared a touching story about when she visited an elderly woman with her new baby, and the woman wanted so dearly to just hold the baby. Hesitant to do so, my cousin shared her little girl with this blind elderly woman and the woman began to cry tears of joy.

My grandmother is in a retirement community, when we walk in the door every single person lights up when they see Sam. They love just looking at her smile and say very nice things about how pretty she is. My grandmother lives no where near us, but there is a nursing home down the street, so Christmas day we're going to take Sam and a few other kids to visit the elderly that may not get visitors on Christmas.

Trying to think of what I could give those who's years have passed them and may be forgotten, the best thing I could think of was to spend time with a child on Christmas.

I called the nursing home activities director and they are happy to have any visitors on Christmas.

I share this only because in this time where we blog about gifts to give our neighbors and friends in order to share ideas- I thought I'd blog about service to render on Christmas.

If you have any other ideas as to how to render service on Christmas, please share.


Melissa said...

This is so lovely. I think you are so smart for starting this family tradition of Christmas Day Service early. Good for you! You are so right, children make people happy, they don't have to be related to find the JOY in a child.

This year our family is going caroling and Christmas Eve to an extended care center for sick kids. (Transitioning from hospital to home care.) I'm hoping I can keep it together enough to sing. We'll make a plate of treats for the caregivers and ornaments for the patients. Our hope is that we begin Christmas Eve with that spirit you are talking about-- Gratitude.

(We also will celebrate our Savior with Eve's baptism the morning of December 24th! cool!)

Robin said...

We will carol at 3 nursing homes on Christmas eve. We are also handing out gifts to homeless children today and serving dinner at the shelter on Thursday. We have found that the entire family is happier when we do these things.

I miss grandma.

lawafterthebar said...

One Christmas, when we lived in Escondido in Southern California, we helped fill a truck with toys and pinatas and headed down to Tijuana, Mexico, just over the border. We delivered them to, and staged a Christmas party for, an orphanage for the disabled. It was one of the most memorable Christmases of my life, the exception being the mission, of course (and for similar reasons).

What was most striking to me about the party was that after the pinatas were broken, or rather as each was broken, the kids, after a typical rush to gather up toys from the now broken pinata, would then turn and run with the toys and candy to the shut gates of the orphanage. There, they would push them through the bars to other children who were outside, maybe friends, maybe siblings (I think the orphanage was more for the disabled than for the parentless...), but really anyone who wasn't at the party. And they didn't hold stuff back. They shared as abundantly as they received.

It reminded me a lot of the widow's mite (forgive me if I'm waxing long, here). They had nothing, and they thoughtlessly gave what largess we gave them, a small fraction of what we could afford, to others who had nothing. I left feeling humbled.

We have a two year-old this Christmas, and she has two parents who come from families who make a big deal about the holiday. I worry that we will not connect with the real meaning of the Savior's life, that we forget the Christmas is celebrated because he gave as much as he had. At this juncture, I think I'll see it as a win if we can teach her to share what she receives, not throw a tantrum when the receiving is done, and can get along with everyone (which, really, given her nature is NOT a difficult goal). In coming years, though, I think we will integrate a "field trip" component. We helped with some 12 days/sub-for-santa activities this year, and while she stayed strapped in the back seat while we ran from doorsteps and Britt's baking, I hope we can give here a more active role in participation.

Thanks for the reminder and the encouragement to make this a conscious effort.

Kristen said...

I have enjoyed reading these and feel that this is an area in which I can improve. We have often done a secret Christmas gift drop off on Christmas eve to a family in need, but that is about all.

I have a friend who I greatly admire. Their family tradition is, and always has been that the kids receive 3 gifts on Christmas; one need, one want, and one suprise. But on Christmas morning they wake up early and go to the homeless shelter and serve breakfast for a few hours, then they sing Christmas carols on their way home and enjoy their own family Christmas morning when they get home. She said that after serving the homeless her kids feel more than blessed with their three gifts and the whole day is filled with the spirit. She said when the kids were little they would "wear" them in a back carrier or snuggie, or one parent would walk around and clear trays with the kids letting the homeless enjoy their sweet spirits. She said it always seemed to work out.

I am going to make a greater effort to incorporate service into my holiday traditions and Christmas day.

Thanks for sharing all the great ideas!

Britt said...

Wonderful Gift Kory! You are teaching Sam young the gift of service.
Hugs, Britt

Adam & Kristen Birkmeyer said...

Thanks Kory for sharing. You're an awesome Mom!

Linda said...

You definitely have the true Christmas spirit.

Salt H2O said...

Mellisa, Robin, Law and Kristen- thank you for sharing what you do! I'm looking forward to incorporating these ideas into our family. I really like the 3 gifts idea as well.

Brit, Kristen and Linda- thanks for the compliments! My motivation is self serving- I'm trying to keep my kids from becoming what I was in my teens- selfish.

I hesitated to blog about this because service should be anon., however when reading other people's stories of how they serve, it inspires me to do the same. We're hesitant to share our experiences with service because we don't want to do it for the accalades of men, but then again- why not collaborate and share ideas?

goddessdivine said...

Single people tend to be a little on the selfish side, so my friends and I get together to shop for people in need. The last two years I've called and gotten names of patients at the state hospital--those who have no family with whom to share Christmas or bestow gifts. We get their wish lists and shop for them. It's a lot of fun, and a good way for us to help those who are struggling and/or disadvantaged.

How wonderful you are teaching your kid(s) to serve at Christmas time. I always thought I wanted to do the same--if I ever get the chance to reproduce--so that my kids don't grow up to be greedy and self-absorbed like so many teens/young adults we see today.

Kerren said...

Precious and tender thoughts from all of you . . . thanks for sharing them. If you have never read "A Stranger for Christmas" by Carol Lynn Pearson, I would recommend it highly. It's a short quick story and reminds me of the goodness in the world that we seldom hear about. There is such a wonderful amount of goodness and opportunities for more everywhere we turn. Seems to me that each generation of parents tend to do a better job on the things that matter the most! Way to go!