Lewie came home last week from school with an envelope for a holiday shop. Apparently, every year his school turns the gym into a holiday gift shop where the children are able to purchase Christmas gifts for their families. On the envelope, I had to write the names of people Lewie would shop for and how much money was to be spent (maximum) on each. (Prices of gifts ranged from $1 to $5.)
On the envelope, I wrote that Lewie would shop for me, Daddy, his two grandmothers, and his teacher. I checked off $4 for each, and I put $20 in the envelope. The goal of the event was twofold. It's main purpose, of course, was to teach children about how wonderful it feels to give to others. The second lesson, however, was to teach children about how to budget their money accordingly.
Lewie came home that day smiling ear to ear. "I have presents for everyone," he announced wildly.
"Aren't those supposed to be for Christmas?" my mom asked.
I suppose I could have made him wait, but waiting twenty days, for a first grader, is an eternity. Not only would he probably forget what he bought for everyone, but the excitement of us opening them would be lost in the lapsed time. Plus, he'd be too wrapped up in opening his own gifts on Christmas (no pun intended).
I gave Lewie the green light to hand us his gifts, and he did with JOY! Daddy got a package of screw drivers (because he loves to fix stuff and put batteries in toys), his two grandmothers got special pens that said "World's Best Grandma," his teacher got a sticky note memo clip in the shape of an apple, and I got the best gift of all--a beautiful silver necklace with a shiny blue stone (because my favorite color is blue).
He was so excited to show us his gifts and to explain why he bought each one. "This one's for you Mommy because I know you'll love it," he said cheerfully while jumping up and down.
"I do love it!!!" I exclaimed. "You remembered my favorite color!"
Our gifts were followed by a long set of hugs and then another set of hugs. Lewie was so proud of his good job, and I was so proud of him. (He even came under budget, bringing at least $3 back home.)
Needless to say, I've been wearing my beautiful blue necklace everyday--not only to show Lewie how much I like it but because I am so touched by his thoughtfulness. He truly took his time in considering and selecting each gift. Now he knows the secret--the true magic of Christmas comes from the joy of giving to others.
Do your children's schools provide a holiday shop too?