Christmas is about the birth of Christ and God’s generosity in giving the world the greatest Gift. You understand that—and if you’re a parent, you want to make sure your kids do, too!
Enter Operation Generosity. It’s your family’s mission to bless someone this Christmas Eve with crazy, wild kindness. We mean true generosity that lets your kids be part of the giving experience from start to finish. An experience that shows them—not just tells them—how fun and joyful generosity can be! The kind that makes them say, Mom, I don’t need that toy. I want another little kid to have it.
Your heart is melting as a parent, isn’t it? This Christmas, show your kids the path to that kind of generosity.
Here’s your challenge: Make Operation Generosity a family activity that’s special and fun—and something you do every Christmas Eve. Make it your mission to focus on giving outside your home. Leave the tree and your own presents behind; they’ll be there in the morning. Then head out to bless someone else with your simple act of kindness. Make it an exciting adventure that your kids can be part of!
Teach your kids that Christmas is about the gift of Jesus—and that we can honor that by giving generously ourselves. Here are four ideas to get your wheels turning.
1. Visit people who might feel forgotten.
Call a local retirement home or hospital and ask if you can visit on Christmas Eve. Then talk to your kids about the kinds of people you might encounter (keep it age appropriate). People might feel sad or lonely, or they might be sick. So what you’re really giving these people is the gift of knowing they matter, and that they’re valuable and aren’t forgotten.
For residents or patients, your family can sing them carols, offer to pray with them, and give them homemade cards or ornaments that your kids created. And don’t forget about the staff—they’re away from their family, too, and might be overlooked by other Christmas visitors.
The same goes for public servants, who don’t stop working just because it’s Christmas Eve. So if you prefer, stop by the police station or fire department instead!
2. Leave a huge tip for your server at dinner.
Head to dinner or dessert (with hot chocolate!) on Christmas Eve, and choose a sit-down place—like a diner or a family restaurant—where you know the servers are working that night because they desperately need the money. The point of the meal isn’t to enjoy a feast—it’s to find the right person to bless.
Then take time to get to know your server. Let them know you appreciate them and that you care. Your bill may be $20, but when it comes, leave a $200 tip and a message wishing them a blessed Christmas. (Make sure you budget for that!)
Next comes the fun part: Race back to your car and watch through the restaurant window. Your server’s reaction will show your kids just how awesome giving can be.
3. Spread cheer through the air or on the road.
Traveling during the holidays can be pretty awful. So if you must fly or drive on Christmas Eve, remind your fellow travelers of the good in the world when they might be getting hit with lots of the bad.
Before you set out have your kids make Christmas cards wishing people a merry Christmas, and pick up some $5 coffee shop gift cards to hand out. As you’re moving through the airport or down the road, have your kids give them to people who are obviously stressed or having a bad day—fellow travelers, the clerk at the snack shop, the gate attendant. It’s so simple, but it communicates kindness and can bring peace in the middle of chaos.
4. Adopt a family.
You may have already participated in Angel Tree or Operation Christmas Child. Those are both great ways to involve kids in giving during Christmastime, but typically your part ends long before Christmas Eve.
To keep the giving going, consider “adopting” a family together and delivering food, gifts, love and prayer to them at home on December 24.
This might take a little planning ahead of time. You might have to go through your church or ask around to find the right family to bless, and you’ll have to set up the actual delivery.
Get your kids involved all December long by asking them to use some of their own money to purchase gifts—or to sell old toys to buy new ones. Then involve them in shopping, purchasing and wrapping. You can even bake some treats to take along. When you arrive, let your kids do the giving.
There’s no wrong way to teach your kids gratitude. Instituting Operation Generosity in your own family is a great place to start. Sure, it blesses other people, but it’s even more of a blessing to your own family. Your kids will look forward to it every year and develop generous hearts. And it’ll be meaningful for you to watch them grow in generosity. So what are you waiting for? Start planning today!