Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Night of the Giver

My cousin Elizabeth and her husband Paul have an original and intriguing tradition they've observed for the past 11 Christmases, which I asked if I could share here as a part of my series on the Benzing family. I also thought it would be a timely post for parents who might be concerned about the greed they see in their children at Christmas (it's there all year, right? Just more obvious now!). They came up with The Night of the Giver for 2 reasons: "First, we wanted to exalt Christ and give him the spotlight on Christmas morning. Second, we wanted our children to learn the joy of giving and to practically experience the joy of giving."

The Dziadul family has 5 children, so they celebrate for 7 nights -- each family member getting their own night to be "the giver". When it is your night to be the giver, you plan and pay for the activities for your family and give your gifts, while receiving nothing yourself except the joy of giving. Sometimes they go out to eat, to a movie, ice skating, caroling to shut-ins -- whatever the giver plans on his or her night.

Paul and Elizabeth give out their gifts on their nights as well, and Christmas morning is the time to consider Christ's great gift to us. They "
sit around the tree, read the Advent account in scripture, sing carols & thank God for his indescribable gift in Christ."

How does that strike you? Perhaps this idea could be adapted and embraced with your family!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness I love it! :) Gretchen, WHEN did you get to talk to all these people about these things? I barely got names of kids? ? ? ?:) I really like the idea of this leading up to Christmas so that Christmas morning is all about the gift of baby Jesus! :)

Anna

Sara Mincy said...

GREAT! Wonderful! I love it. I see the need to change some things around here- it seems that there is not even joy in receiving anymore- just what else do I get?!?!?! I need to start now to plan for next year- because what happens is that Dec. comes and we just fall into the regular routine. Thanks for the idea.

Beth said...

Gretchen,
Thanks for the nice post. We still do have some gifts on Christmas Day, but not the all out frenzy it used to be. And it's not just about the kids learning to give and not be greedy. I have had to learn this also, but in a backwards sort of way. I wanted to buy my kids EVERYTHING, and have a mound of presents for everyone. I have had to learn to be very choosey about what they are given, and limit myself. (It was also a good lesson in -gulp- submission to my husband.)

Thank you for the comment on my blog. I'm not sure about the Benzing sneezes, but I agree about the laughing! I remember playing games with Grandma, Aunt Pat and my mom, and all three of them ending up doubled over with laughter over some silly thing.

Elizabeth

Annie said...

Wonderful way to make Christmas less gift centered! I've been thinking about this how to do this the past few years. I remember how greedy my own heart was as a child and hope to shepherd our children away from this tendency in the Christmas season. Hopefully I can tuck this idea away for future years!

Donette said...

LOVE IT! Our kids are still a bit young to do exactly what you described, but we could bend it to meet our needs! One thing my parents always did for us was to make us clean out clothes and toys before Christmas and donate them to a charity. It keeps a focus on giving, and keeps the house from becoming overrun with thousands of toys! No kid needs that much to play with!
We already did this with Elijah this year, and Dan and I have had multiple discussions about limiting the gifts so that we don't fall into the "what do I get next?" syndrome. But alas, it is easier said than done when we are at the store and see all the toys that we think our kids would love. A perfect example of the materialism in our own hearts.

Boy, oh boy, do I wish this sin was easier to overcome . . .

Sharon said...

That's a great idea. I'll have to tuck that one away in my mind for future reference.

To answer your earlier question, I think David talked to Josh about our coming through Louisville on our way back from Iowa after Christmas. I don't think anything has been set in stone, obviously.
~Sharon

Morning Rose said...

Great idea! It's so easy to get caught up with gifts and the busyness of Christmas while missing the real reason for the season.

Emily said...

That's really cool and super creative!
-emily

Emily said...

I have a new post. :D