Creating a Giving Tree in Your Home This Holiday Season

Updated on August 28, 2019
VVanNess profile image

Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, blogger at Healthy at Home, and educator. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.

Source

Christmas is a big deal for most people. Adults are decorating, planning, and shopping, and kids are attending parties, keeping up with Santa and the Elf on the Shelf, and planning out their Christmas list of desired presents. The Christmas season has essentially turned into a time of commercialism.

Moms all around me are constantly talking about gifts for their children and worrying about how much money they should be spending on them. Households all over the US are frantic about having perfectly decorated houses, participating in all of the latest Christmas parenting trends, and leading their kids up with treats and gifts. Even our families on both sides continue pumping my toddler up for all of the gifts he's going to get for Christmas.

What happened to the true meaning of Christmas? What happened to Christmas being a time to help others and consider other's needs?

Source

In our household, we work hard to perpetuate the idea that we were put on this Earth not to please ourselves, but to be an example of Christ to others. All year long we look for opportunities to be a blessing to others, whether it's providing food to those on the side of the road, sending cards, making meals, or visiting those in the hospital. We've even put money in mailboxes anonymously for families we know are hurting for rent and food money, even if we're hurting ourselves.

So in the name of blessing others, we don't buy gifts at all for those occasions when they are expected. Though we do buy fun things all year long just because, and then we shop at thrift stores, garage sales, and Facebook sites. We rarely buy new stuff for ourselves.

Instead, for Christmas, we set up a Giving Tree. We fill it full of wonderful ideas for blessing others that we come up with as a family. Then every day during December we pull one or more ideas off of the tree and do it. It may be as simple as giving a gift, making a meal, or hugging someone that is hurting, but we make that (and the real story of Christmas) our focus. Then gifts that are given are thoughtful, but not expected.

Let me show you our tree!

Source

Every day of the month of December, we purpose to do something that honors others in our lives, and for each "good deed" we put a beautiful snowflake on the door. We discuss how beautiful our blessings are in the lives of other people and how we can bring happiness to their lives with the things we do.

Supplies

  • Ribbon
  • White paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Great ideas for giving

Instructions

  1. We started our tree in November with a Tree of Thanks where we filled it with all the things we're thankful for.
  2. I hot glued ribbon to the front door as a tree, so my 1 year old wouldn't pull it off.
  3. Then we cut out shapes for the door. (Hands for Thanksgiving and snowflakes for Christmas.)
  4. There are two ways to do this. You can write on them and then tape them to the door to be removed as you accomplish the blessing written.
  5. You can make a list of blessings and attach the snowflakes to the door as you do something nice for someone else.

Source

I'm hoping that by taking the focus off of receiving gifts and instead focusing on what we can do to bless others, my children will grow up thinking differently. My goal is to develop a generous spirit in each of them that wants to create a better world through helping others. This practice also helps my kids to appreciate what they have and become kids that joyously share.

Another side bonus is that they aren't screaming about toys, we don't have to worry about spending a ton of money on useless stuff to fill up our home, and they value time, people and experiences more than they do stuff. We make most of our Christmas decorations ourselves every year, and we are going to cut our own Christmas tree for $10 in the national forest this weekend. On Christmas morning we make homemade cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate, play in the snow, and curl up together in front of a Christmas movie or make crafts together.

I would rather Christmas be about Christ, being a blessing to others, and family than presents and getting material things. Therefore, we are starting simple, like with this tree and practicing giving. Maybe it's time to consider some alternative Christmas traditions in your home as well.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Victoria Van Ness

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • VVanNess profile imageAUTHOR

        Victoria Van Ness 

        11 months ago from Fountain, CO

        Thank you so much for the positive thoughts and the encouragement. (Tears.)

      • profile image

        RTalloni 

        11 months ago

        Such a lovely post! Thank you for sharing your method of refusing to allow toy companies along with all the other industries making tons of money off the season rule your holidays and especially your children. It is heartening to hear about the trend to do things like this to help little ones understand the real reason we celebrate the season.

        It's fun to send our little grands living so far away gifts at Christmas/birthdays but we've tried to send a combination of useful things (clothing, shoes, etc.), consumables (craft sets/books that keep little minds and hands busy learning/reading), and a few things we make, such as toy doll cradles and Montessori styled activity boards, instead of a bunch of toys that, as you say, fill up the house with plastic.

        Recently I saw a news blip on a community effort to establish positive relationships between police and disadvantaged children. It is a program in which the police take them shopping for Christmas. The officers say that most of the time the children want to buy for a sibling, parent, or friend. It was a precious thing to hear of the heart these children have at that young age and so important to encourage it.

        Your efforts to encourage your children in this way mean that you will have outstanding children and young adults. Protecting their open hearts from materialism, stemming the tide of popular culture's encroachment against their little minds, all works to strengthen them against being deceived as they grow up. Among other things, it will teach them to think things through. Bravo!

      • VVanNess profile imageAUTHOR

        Victoria Van Ness 

        11 months ago from Fountain, CO

        Thank you all. It's hard to know how to address all of the important issues with your children while they are still small. But I think it's about starting with one thing at a time as it comes up in your lives and is relevant. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 

        11 months ago

        I applaud your wanting to instill a spirit of generosity and giving in your children. It is the heart of the Christmas season.

      • manunulat profile image

        Jason M Quinapondan 

        11 months ago from Cebu, Philippines

        I agree that Christmas nowadays has been overly commercialized. Its true essence has been diverted into material things. I like this article and its effort to redirect the readers to what Christmas really is all about, that is, to bless others and our loved ones and to be grateful of the good deeds experienced and to pass those to people around. Indeed, it is a wonderful legacy you can teach to your kids. Kudos to you!

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        11 months ago from Sunny Florida

        I think you are certainly embracing the true meaning of Christmas with your tree. That is a great tradition to teach your children.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, holidappy.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://holidappy.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)