December Coffee Chats

For each Tuesday Coffee Chat in December, I'd love to take my readers around the world and learn about the holidays in different cultures.  You can talk about traditions, share some memories, a recipe, or just how you celebrate.
If anyone has an interest in doing a Guest Blog Post -- drop me a line: just click that cute @ coffee cup on the sidebar to get my email!  First Edition next week, December 6th, 2011.

 Tis the season to be greedy.....fa la la la la la, la la la la

Give your parents a 10 foot list....fa la la la la la, la la la la

Toys that cost more than my car....falalalalala, lalalala

Anyone relate?


Great, just my kids who are all about the DS, Lego, Barbie camper, a Wii for rainy days at home.... and a cute furry kitty cause its' free.  (yes, but the vet shots aren't little one).

Seriously, how do you combat this rampant commercialism.  I dare not turn on the TV, for the speedy, migraine inducing images have already started to plant their suggestive selves deep in my children's psyche.  EVERYONE has a Wii but us mama.    Yes, well.....they probably get to eat too.  Which you won't if we buy one.   Make a wise choice.

If you have children underfoot, you learn very quickly that they are born mimics.   Thus, the best way to teach them compassion, clearly starts at home.
  Now before you give me too much credit for being so altruistic, let it be known, that I too had to learn at the feet of a compassionate mother.    A mother who still applies that selfless bent - now towards her grandchildren - where she will stand in line at Toys R Us at 7 am to just to get a desired toy on sale.
Or, stay at my home for 5 months while I am pregnant and hospitalized.   
How do you say enough Thank You's for that?

I have also learned such lessons at the hands of a loving church family who prepared meals for an entire week when our 3rd bundle of joy arrived.   I have been blessed by the generosity of my neighbours who know that one salary and 3 kids does not go far when everyone needs new snowsuits and boats for winter, and bags of clothing has simply be given.  Or, a free twin size bed and box spring -- because it was just taking up space in their garage anyway.  They have given....and asked for nothing in return.  God, Bless them abundantly today!

 How to pay such kindness forward?
In a just start.
It gets easier with practice, trust.

But here are a few suggestions to get you started.

 My mother sponsored a child when I was growing up.  What better way to educate my children, not only about all their "Haves"; but show them just how many truly are "have nots."   Thus, we have also decided as a family to carry this tradition forward.   I am so excited to do our first letter for this holiday season to "our" little girl in El Salvador.  What is Christmas like in her home? 

It's A Girl!
Don't know what to get for that someone who has everything this year?   How about donating a goat in their name?  Or some clean water for an entire village.   Yes, water for a present.   How lucky we are indeed.   Browse Give a Gift of Hope

Browsing through the dollar store more your style?
Great - grab a BOX and fill it up.
 We did one for a young girl this year -- it was so much fun finding hair bows, bands, toothbrushes, stickers, and other fun, girlie things.

I know this next one can be a little frustrating.   Especially if you are out all day doing your Christmas shopping and hear that ringing bell at Every Store You Enter.   Honestly, feel free to say that you already gave at another store.  I am quite certain no one will chase you down screaming, "Liar!  A Pox on you Scrooge!"
 And if it makes you feel any better about dropping a few coins into that kettle....even on several occasions throughout the holiday season:

consider this:

The Salvation Army's Commissioner Todd Bassett receives a salary

of only $13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing this $2 Billion dollar organization. Which means about $0.93 per dollar earned,is readily available and goes back out to local charity causes... truly amazing.. and well done.

Of course we all have local food banks,  snowsuit and toy funds, homeless shelters and food banks, all of which depend on our monetary donations; or most importantly often, our Time.

If you want to teach your kids to care for others, and hopefully stop the whining and begging, you are going to have to roll up your sleeves and pitch in.   If they are of an appropriate age - get them involved too!   They can pick out a can of pasta sauce or soup at the grocery store and drop it in the food bank bin.   They can choose one gently used toy to be donated before handing over their "gimme, gimme" list.  They can place their own outgrown clothing in a bag to be donated to a local shelter.  

The more you have them do.....they more they will learn.  And the easier it will get.   And pretty'll have a child that not only gives: but gives with a cheerful heart.   

Now, if all the children of tomorrow learned this simple lesson -- perhaps we may just get Peace and Harmony yet.

How do you teach your children compassion and to give unto others?

Oh, and P.S.   On a post regarding charity, I should most definitely say a big THANK YOU to those few, yet very special someones' who have continually submitted posts to my little chats.   I know I am small yet....but perhaps in 2012, I will grow.   If anyone has a topic suggestion, feel free to send me an email!

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