Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Giving Tree

The day before Halloween, one of my daughters asked me if she could start her letter to Santa.  I said yes, of course, but inside I worried that they'd come to see the holidays as just a time of presents, gifts, and getting.  I want them to focus on the true joy of the holidays -- giving.  So I cut out a nine foot tall tree out of packing paper and taped it to a wall in my dining room.  Then my oldest daughter and I spent an afternoon cutting hundreds of leaves out of construction paper.  I told them that every time they do something nice for someone, they need to write it down on the leaf.  They didn't seem too excited.  I think one of them even asked, "Do you we have to?" So I told them that on November 30, I'd count to see who had the most leaves, and that person would get to go out with me for a manicure and a fancy dinner at the restaurant of their choice.  Boom!  They were in and then, like a miracle, they seemed to forget about the contest and just got into the idea of doing things for others.  

Here are some of their leaves:

I had my last good eraser and gave it to a girl in my class who really wanted it.

I helped my friend Claire to not cry.

A girl needed $2 to buy a book at the book fair, so I gave her my last $2.

I stuck up for a girl who was getting picked on.

I was a good sport when my team didn't win the game at P.E

I shared my birthday presents with my sisters.

They keep getting more creative and excited each day. So, I shared this idea with people on my newsletter list and asked them to share a "leaf" with me.  Today, I got my first one!

Arlene in North Carolina recently adopted two dogs who she's going to train to be therapy dogs.  

I love it!  If you get a chance, post a leaf here or send me an email:

I promise it will make your holiday more meaningful and rewarding.

1 comment:

  1. I love this idea!! The Giving Tree was one of my FAVORITE books. I even have it translated into a Zambian language. (I know this isn't exactly based on the book, but the title certainly took me there.)

    I will have to remember this when I have kids, because it seems like such a great idea. I might even do a mini one for myself, just to remind me that each good thing I do for someone adds beauty and joy to my life. Thanks for sharing!