a dads odyssey thanksgivingchest

The Thanksgiving Charity Chest

The holiday season is quickly approaching and for most of us, this means shopping, cooking, and parties. If you are a parent this means new gifts for your child which also means more clutter around the house. Well, I have a solution to your problem and at the same time, you will be teaching your child a valuable life lesson about charity.

The Christmas season is a time for sharing and celebration with family and friends, a time that is filled with love and joy.  When I was a child Christmas was one of the best times of the year.  Houses were decorated with colorful lights that brightened up the long winter nights.  The Christmas tree was put up in the living room along with all the other Christmas decorations throughout the house.  Weekends were spent visiting family which meant playing with my cousins, sled riding, and eating homemade cookies.

Well, that was forty-something me reminiscing.  Let’s keep it real.  It was about the presents and that fat white-bearded man in the red pajamas that lived in the North Pole with elves and flying reindeer! It was looking through the Toys R’ Us flyers or any store’s Christmas toy flyer for that matter and circling every toy I wanted.  It was watching Saturday morning cartoons for 4 hours straight and the thousand-plus commercials that programmed me to say “I want that for Christmas” a thousand plus times that morning.  It was having a long break from school.  It was dreaming about all the fun time I would have playing with my new toys.

Christmas as an adult

Yes, the commercialization of Christmas was very influential and just as strong decades ago as it is today.  But as an adult I have become aware of the darker side of the Christmas season, it is a time of greed and ill will amongst corporations and people as well.  The 2018 Deloitte holiday retail survey said 78% of consumers plan to shop for themselves.  Now I don’t see anything wrong with trying to save money, I to have shopped for myself during the Christmas season.  What makes more sense spending $500 for a new Smartphone or $1000? 

A valuable lesson in charity

As a parent, I am responsible for raising a child to become a respectable adult and I am always thinking of ways to make things a teachable experience.  My wife shared a story with me about what her friend does before Christmas to de-clutter their house.  She has her children pick out the toys that they don’t play with anymore and puts them in a box then goes and either donates them or throws them out. 

That got me thinking and what I came up with was that is a great way to teach our son a valuable lesson in charity.  Don’t get me wrong, I want my son to experience the same joy, excitement, and magic of Christmas as I did; I just want to instill some charitable values in him as well.  Now to my parent’s defense, I know they taught me about helping others, I just don’t remember their way of doing it. 

Setting the stage

So two weeks before Thanksgiving I am going to get the chest we have in the attic that stores some of our blankets, clean it out and place it where we will put the Christmas tree.  I will then explain to my son that there are families who are less fortunate than us.  They don’t always eat dinner so they have to go to bed hungry, they don’t have enough clothes to keep warm at night, and the children don’t have a lot of toys to play with.  Then I will ask him how that makes him feel and why.  I will suggest other words like grateful, blessed and gratitude so he may understand his current situation.

Wrapping it up

I will then explain the importance of helping those who are less fortunate than us, not because it makes us feel better but because it is the right thing to do.  I will then ask him if he would like to help those kids by giving some of his old toys and clothes away.  This will go on for two weeks until Black Friday which will be the day we will go to the local Salvation Army and donate his items.

I hope this blog provided you with some useful information.  If you enjoyed this article please sign up to receive my newsletter.  Thank you and remember, if you shoot for the stars and come up short you’ll still land in the clouds, but if you shoot for the clouds and come up short you’ll land in the dirt.

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