Monday, December 8, 2008

The Spirit of Giving

"God loves a cheerful giver," are words spoken often in our house. i think it is important to cultivate a spirit of giving in our children, and in each other.

typically when one thinks of giving they immediately consider their wallets, but in all honesty our wallets are pretty bare. because of this we have looked for creative ways to give over the years. i hope that regardless of how empty or full our wallets are we will always seek creative ways to give.

a creative way to give to the community:
free hot chocolate stand- for 5 years we have served free hot chocolate to our community. first, we get permission from a local small business, and use of an outlet. next, we set up a table complete with 2 large coffee pots (we borrow these from our church) filled with hot chocolate (enough for 160 cups), toppings of whipped cream, and marshmallows, and add a candy cane. then, we put the kids to work, inviting passers by to receive their free hot chocolate.for an individual or family:

the 12 days of christmas- we have had the opportunity over the years to surprise families in need of christmas blessings on the 12 days before christmas.
first, choose a family that needs to blessed! may be a family new to the community, a family facing financial difficulty, or a family struggling with health. there are many who need a bit of light to shine on them and their circumstances. many who need tangible love from their community (or even strangers) poured on them.
next, find 12 families (including yourself) to be gift givers for the 12 days leading up to christmas. assign a day to each family, give a gift tag to accompany their gift, and directions to the recipients house.
then, deliver gifts! gift deliveries are top secret. deliver early a.m. or in the p.m., be creative in your deliveries, send someone dressed as santa, or in camouflage. this is the one time a year it is okay to doorbell ditch (accept don't ring the doorbell)!
finally, with the last gift delivered on christmas, send a card with everyone's names, wishing them a very merry christmas! this years gift tags have a #1-12 on one side, with this saying on the other. for family:
with as many as 7 families filling the jones house, and a grand total of 23 family members, well, that is a lot of gifts! we decided to get creative to find a way to blesss family members. how do we do it? breakfast in bed!
on christmas eve. morning families are served breakfast in bed.
the night before we leave a door hanger on each door (just as you would find in a hotel), asking family members to tell us the time they'd like their meal delivered, beverage choices, and other special instructions.
on christmas eve. morning we wake early and get to work. michael does most of the cooking, while i serve as assistant. we ready the meal, ready the trays, add a special note accompanied by the christmas story of jesus' birth, then deliver the breakfast trays.

my favorite year delivering breakfast in bed, was christmas 01. first let me tell you i was miserable! 7 months pregnant with josie and on crutches due to a sprained ankle.
but this christmas was special as it was our last christmas with michael's grandfather, dick jones, or gramps as we called him.
his grandparents were so delighted to be served breakfast in bed! in all their travels, gram and gramps had never been served breakfast in bed before, they were thrilled. gram was so thrilled, that she took the door hanger to her next hair appt. and bragged to her stylist of this creative gift.
emilie (2), a very pregnant me, and gramps. gramps feels josie kicking!

what are some creative ways you give at christmas?


  1. These are just FANTASTIC ideas. You have such a big heart. I LOVED reading about each one.

    We're using our advent calendar and baking cookies every day this month - til Christmas - and we're taking our boys to give them away to the hungry. We love to bake around here and it was a tailored to our family way of teaching the boys about giving to others.

  2. i love all your ideas Denise. the 12 days of Christmas is wonderful. all these ideas are easy to do and a great way to teach our kids about giving. you have such a kind, generous heart friend.

  3. Very good ideas. I like the 12 days of Christmas. I might have to steal that one.
    Hot Chocolate. Is that just a Jones thing? Need help? Carolers?:)

  4. I've loved the caroling we used to do in our old neighborhood when the kids were little. That was one of my favorite ways to give. And since I don't like to cook except at Christmas, I really liked to give cookies! Then... Joe's friends started giving me orders each year and that kinda took the fun out of it... and no, I'm not kidding. Just call me Sara Lee. Cops. They eat a lot.

  5. Great to see "the spirit of giving" Suggest families consider those who are not able to celebrate their child's birthday. Cheerful Givers is a charity that provides toy-filled birthday gift bags to shelters and food shelves so that parents living in poverty can give their child a birthday gift. It's all about self-esteem. Visit for more info.