There is definitely magic in children waiting for Santa Claus to bring a long awaited for toy, and the music of Christmas combined with gorgeous decorations are also wonderful. However, if you want to teach your children the real meaning of Christmas, the miracle of the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ, one way to do that is to let them be a part of something much bigger than they are. Giving service at Christmastime is something that will not only build better character in your children, but it will also create memories that will last a lifetime.
Gifts You Can See - One thing you can do is to have a day where your entire family goes Christmas shopping, but with a new point of view. Instead of shopping for family members, shop for the needy. Decide ahead of time how much money you can afford to spend on your shopping trip. Next, divide that amount into equal portions and let each family member select gifts to take to a place like an orphanage, a homeless shelter, or a children's unit in a hospital. Another idea is to buy inexpensive Christmas stockings and fill them with assorted gifts. For example, the stockings could include a treat, and toys that would be good for both boys and girls. Some examples might be a coloring book and colors, little story books, modeling clay, and plastic animal figurines.
Intangible Gifts - If your family is already on a very tight budget, there's still plenty you can do. Call different non profit-organizations (like THE LOUIS HOUSE FOUNDATION) and explain to them that you want to be a part of the Christmas festivities that they will be offering for children in your community. For example, if your family can carry a tune, you might volunteer to lead the singing of traditional Christmas carols at a children's hospital or at an orphanage. Another idea is to serve food at places that will be providing a holiday meal to the needy. Just visiting individuals at a nursing home could bring joy to lonely people. Do you have a non profit organization that needs people to wrap Christmas gifts that will later be delivered? What about being one of Santa's elves and helping to deliver those gifts?
After the holidays are over, think about continuing the spirit of Christmas by doing service every month. Christmas will definitely take on a sweet new meaning.