Several years ago we noticed a trend setting in with our oldest child, who was just six at the time. As Christmas approached that year, he quickly began telling us what he wanted for Christmas. There were tons and tons of toys on his list. Then he became obsessed with asking how many gifts he would get that year. He would tell me he got “X” number of gifts last year, so he should get “XX” this year.
Uh…hold the phone! Wait a minute! Did I just hear him correctly?
Did he seriously tell me he should get more gifts this year?
OH NO! That had to stop.
So my husband and I sat down and talked about how we could work on this issue that was creeping into our precious son’s life. Greed. At this particular Christmas, we had two kids and I was pregnant with our third. I saw a friend post about how their family does things a little different. I loved their idea and after talking it over with my husband, we decided that was a wonderful idea – for our family as well. One, because we wanted to teach our kids Christmas was more than presents – it was about the Ultimate Present, Jesus Christ. Second, our budget was very tight and this would help.
So, what did we do? We started what we call our $5 Christmas!
Now, before you go thinking our kids are deprived – they’re NOT! They still get gifts from grandparents, aunts/uncles/cousins. We just decided we wanted our kids to understand that Christmas was more than presents. We do, however, go all out on their birthdays. After all, that is the day God blessed our family with them and we want them to know we are thrilled each of them is a part of our crazy, wild and loving family.
First, we put everyone’s name in a bowl.
Then, each person draws one name out. They are allowed to only tell Mom or Dad, because we try to make it more fun by keeping who they have a secret from the other kids.
Next, we give them $5 to go shopping. Right now, they usually go to the dollar store or the dollar toy section at Wal-Mart to find just the right gift or gifts for their person.
As they grow, I anticipate my girls might become VERY creative and use that $5 to buy craft supplies and make their gifts. I can’t wait to see how this changes and evolves as they grow up!! We now have four kids and they are all finally old enough to understand what we’re doing exactly, but it has still been so much fun.
The last thing we added was letters. Each person is to write a letter to the person who’s name they drew. These letters are to include why they love them, why they are happy the person in our family, something they enjoy doing with them, their favorite thing about that person and a prayer for them. They are welcome to write as much as they want, but those are the basic things that must be included. I am keeping these from year to year, not only to remind my kids of the things they said when they fuss and argue with each other, but also as a treasured keepsake that I know they will love as they get older.
With little ones in the house, who can’t read or write words/sentences, we have written these for them in the past. But this year, they are all old enough that I wanted to create a template they could follow and if we needed to fill in their answers for them, that was still okay.
So I have created some fun Christmas Letter Templates for you! There are 9 different options available in this pack – 3 designs in 3 variations: manuscript lines for young writers, plain lines for older kids and a letter template with writing prompts for parents to fill out for the pre-writers.