Family traditions are important--and can teach your grandchildren valuable lessons.
When our children were small, we saved our spare change all year long in a special jar. Every December, we’d count and roll the coins, then take the kids to the toy store. There, they’d each get to choose what to buy with their share of the money we’d collected. Their decisions were never easy—they each thought long and hard about what they might want if they only got one toy for Christmas.
After everyone had figured out how to spend their allotment, we’d take our toys to the checkout stand. Every year, a surprised cashier always happily took our payment despite it being entirely in change.
The final step was letting each child put the new toys they had selected in the box for Toys for Tots. Granted, the year my youngest was not quite two, she had to be coerced to give up the baby doll she had chosen! I still have a very clear mental image of the longing look on her face as we walked away from the donation box.
This Christmas tradition became a cherished family outing. Family traditions are important, and when you combine family traditions and values, you create a powerful message to your children and grandchildren. For us, this was a tangible way to show them how pennies and dimes could add up, and to let them in on the excitement of giving to a good cause. Saving and giving were both values we wanted to pass along.
Starting a tradition like this with your grandchildren doesn’t require a trip to the toy store, or even any spare change. There are opportunities in every community to help others. The key is to figure out what values you want to pass along, then look for ways to share that with your grandchildren. Maybe it is taking part in Christmas Eve worship as a family. Maybe it’s a New Year’s Day hike with litter clean up included. Maybe it’s making cards together (even if it’s over video chat!) to send to a local veterans’ home.
The possibilities are endless. Please share your traditions in the comments!