Better to Give…

This week, we’ve been passing out gifts to Lydia and Asa’s teachers and friends. They’ve had such a fun time giving they’ve even commented that one of their favorite parts of Christmas is giving. This is an attitude I want to cultivate. I’ve purposed that at Christmas we put giving first as a family. Here’s a few things we’ve done…

1. Christmas Lists

I know I’ve mentioned this before but we don’t make Christmas lists. I don’t want my kids making a list and checking it twice. I don’t want them to think Christmas is about getting everything they want just because they ask.

The only lists we make are what we are giving to others.

2. Sibling Gifts

I got this idea from Design Mom. Instead of buying presents for siblings, they make a gift for each other. In the past Lydia has made a memory game and crayons for Asa. Asa made a ribbon-wrapped headband and a glittery letter “L” for his sister.

This year Lydia is making I-Spy mats for Asa. Asa (with my help) is making the coolest thing ever: a doll house from foamboard!

What I like about this is it gets the kids thinking hard about their siblings, hard about giving and then actually doing some hard work.

3. Sponsored Kids Gifts

Remember our printable nativity sets? I love the idea of sending a special gift (outside of a monetary gift) to our sponsored kids–especially because you have to send it so early, it’s your very first gift of the season. What a great way to set the stage for the holidays.

4. Handmade Gifts

This is similar to the sibling gifts. I like the kids to make gifts for teachers and extended family. One year we made Christmas coasters. Last year was gourmet apples. Once we did Home Depot crafts.

This year we did mini pumpkin loaves. (I may have saved one for myself…)

I want the kids to feel like they are actually giving a gift to the ones closest to them–not just signing their name on the bottom of a card.

Basically, any time I can get the kids involved in gift giving, either by making it, writing their name on the card, picking out a present or wrapping them up, I want them there!

5. Jesus’ Gift

I’ve written about this lots of times. And many people do it better and in more detail than me. But we take special time out of our Christmas-crazy to pick out a gift for Jesus. In Matthew, Jesus said, “If you’ve done this [fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the lonely] you’ve done it for me.” {my paraphrase}

So, our gift to Jesus is chosen from the World Vision, Samartian’s Purse or Compassion Gift catalog. We choose a goat, or a house, our fishing gear or part of a well to give to someone who doesn’t have basic needs met. We give to them. And we know that Jesus receives it as done for him.

Oh, I want my kids to give to Jesus!


This year, I’m excited to partner with Razoo to help you teach your kids about generosity and giving. Razoo is an easy online fundraising site. You can donate to almost any organization through Razoo and you can give gift giving cards to your friends and family so they can donate!

Give the Gift of Giving at

It would be so cool to put a Razoo giftcard in your kids’ stocking so they can pick out which organization they’d like to donate to and then actually do the giving!

How do you help your kids LOVE to give?


  1. I love your ideas for handmade gifts. We actually just made the “scented ornament” from Truth in the Tinsel for Lydia’s bus driver and cafeteria aides.

  2. I would give $50 to Operation Christmas Child or National Center for Biblical Parenting….I can’t decide!! Love them both and they both have had a wonderful impact on my family!

  3. I would love to give $50 to Compassion International! I have been thinking about having my kids pick something from the catalog to give, and this would be a great way to do it!

  4. What a great idea! I think this is the best give away I’ve ever entered! We don’t do Christmas lists either. Never have so it’s not something they think of. We do lists of what we would like to give and focus on making homemade things and doing activities that make memories with loved ones. We also focus on doing acts of kindness and try to do as many as we can. This year we have been focused on “the least of these” and identifying who these people are and way we can help them and pray for them. All these things help make the Christmas season more enjoyable in spite of the commercialism. 🙂

  5. Amanda, I LOVE this post! Compassion is always on our heart. We would split the $50 and do half for Compassion and half for a local organization.

    We have never been big on gifts around here. Growing up we didn’t have a lot of money, so I never asked for anything. The girls don’t expect gifts from us, but we find something that we think they will like or need, we’ll get it for them, but not much different than the rest of the year…if they needed shoes, books, etc. I really like the handmade sib gifts. We LOVED the Sparkle Box book that I got to review this year, and the girls are excited to open their box on Christmas to see all the things we got for Jesus this year. 🙂 I actually do like giving more than receiving (which sometimes turn to clutter, hey, just being honest), but I’m not a big fan of shopping, so it’s tricky. Thanks for all the ideas for the handmade stuff.

  6. I love these ideas! I especially like homemade sibling gifts and the “gift for Jesus”. I’m totally trying both this year!

  7. The homemade sibling gifts is an idea I’m going to put in my pocket for next year. That is a sweet idea. 🙂 And sending a printable nativity to sponsored children? That’s cool!

  8. Great post – great ideas! I will have to check out Razoo. Sounds like a wonderful site. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I’d love to give to the Freeset or love146 groups! My heart and my prayers are with their efforts!

  10. Yvette Ling says:

    Thank you for the opportunity to win! I would live to sponcer a child through Compassion.

  11. I’m not sure who I would give the $50 to. I’ve recently learned of an organization Hope International which I want to learn more about but it sounds really wonderful (and it’s currently headed by someone who was at my college the same time I was). There is also a local church that is starting a ministry for women caught in the sex industry which I would love to support. And I’ve recently been introduced to Freeset which I love their mission. So, it’d take a little prayer to decide.
    I really love the idea of giving these to kids so they can give.

  12. I would use the card to support Reach Out Honduras. This is the link to their Christmas projects for 2012, They are building a school for the poorest of poor. I would LOVE LOVE to give them a help with that. 🙂

  13. Love allll this! Exactly what I need to motivate me to do more with my little ones! thank you.

    Razoo is now on my gift giving list!

  14. Probably Heifer International.

  15. I love these ideas! Thanks!

  16. We have a missionary organization that does care for dying cancer patients in Africa that we would probably donate towards. What a cool idea! I love the idea of doing this for the kids for birthdays, etc… And lovely, lovely ideas that you shared on helping our kids get into the spirit of giving! I’m inspired, as always, Amanda!

  17. My oldest is 4, and we have never discussed a Christmas list. I’m really happy to read about others who don’t like the “list” idea. I have tried to focus more on giving as well, but I’m not sure how much a 4 yr. old understands. We do give items almost every week to local food banks through our church. This week we are giving some items (which he helped pick out) to a local shelter. I love seeing how excited he gets while shopping for gifts for other people. Especially when he doesn’t even know them! I’m inspired by reading about what other people do with their children to help them understand what the Christmas spirit is really about. There is still time left for me to try some of these ideas!

  18. Great post, Amanda! One of the things that I have been amazed by is how I don’t have to work hard to help my kids understand this. We just do it- it is part of how we celebrate Christmas, but it is not a “teaching” thing- just a living out our faith thing. Last night, I was blown away when my kids prayed that they would remember that Christmas isn’t about the presents that are under the tree, but it is about the best present that has ever been given- the gift of Jesus. It is a huge blessing to see them falling in love with Jesus!!!

    • Yes, Becky! And don’t you want all areas of your kids’ lives to be this way? Where they just “do” or they just “don’t” b/c of how our family has lived?

      Great thoughts!

  19. How cool! We try to do lots of random acts if kindness this time of year to help keep the focus off of the gifts we/the kids receive.

  20. This is great! I especially love the idea of no list. Good to remember for the future when my kids are older.

  21. My family doesn’t let the kids make a Christmas list either. The parents always know what to get but never ask them what they want. The older cousins like me ask but because they have been taught not to ask people for things, they usually don’t list things they want; Which I believe is a good thing.

    But I do have a list of gifts I need to get for others as well!


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