Today I did something I have been wanting to do for a long time.
I sat my boys down and explained how lucky we are to have food, toys and clothes... because some people are not so lucky. I told them that because we have so much, we should also give some things to others who need things. Christmas is not just about Getting presents, it is also about Giving. For being only three and four I was surprised at how much they seemed to understand.
Into the truck I loaded a new boxed sit & spin and 3 sets of snugly blankets with stuffed animals. After picking the Big Guy up from school, I asked the boys to tell me what we were doing today - and why.
And they did!
I let them know that even though we were going to the bakery, we were not going in to buy anything today. Today was just about going in to drop off the presents for children who needed them.
I was amazed that no one fought me to buy pizza strips or cookies. Instead, they asked if they could each bring something in. The boys stood in front of the bakery and I handed each one of them a present. Into the bakery we walked and were directed to the Toys for Tots drop off bin. The bin was at least two times the size of the kids. I was saddened to look inside and see it nearly empty with only a little more than week to go till Christmas. I took a turn lifting each one of the boys up so they could drop their present in and I was just so ... freaking Proud of them. There were no tears, no 'but Mommy I want That!' ... nothing but smiles from my sweet boys.
We said Merry Christmas and as we turned to go an older man from behind the counter asked if he could give each of the boys a candy cane shaped cookie. Their eyes lit up and they thanked him.
I hope this is something that will stay with my boys for a long long time. I asked them how they felt when we got back in the truck and they said good. I explained it was so nice we got a cookie, but we didn't have to be given anything - and they agreed. I know at this age they don't get it 100%, but I am thinking this is a tradition I want to start every year - having the boys give to Toys for Tots before Christmas.
I hope that more people will do so too.