When they grow up, we want our kids to remember that we made Christmas about Jesus. With many distractions and mixed messages around the holiday, it’s easy to get swept up in getting the right tree or making sure the gifts are purchased.
This year we want to keep the most important things top of mind.
This year we want to shift the focus of Christmas back to giving.
As parents, there are a few things we can remember to help us shift the focus of Christmas in our hearts.
1. They won’t remember the gift
Do you remember that your dad gave you a bike on Christmas day or do you remember that he taught you how to ride it?
When we show someone kindness or someone shows us kindness, it builds a lasting memory that we often want to bottle up and never forget. They might be focused on gifts right now, but in 10 years they will remember the memories you made together, especially memories made while serving others.
Focus on the memories to be made instead of making sure you get the perfect gift.
2. Santa fades… Jesus remains.
We want their relationship with Jesus to grow more each Christmas. We want the miracle of His birth to be ingrained as an exciting birthday celebration. We want them to understand that because we have received so much, we give freely to others.
Christmas traditions are wonderful, and we definitely don’t want to skimp on the Figgy Pudding, but at the end of it all, we want them to remember Jesus was the center of Christmas.
Let’s do our best to create excitement around Jesus and let everything else take a backseat.
3.  Giving in small, simple ways makes huge waves
There are so many opportunities to give each day, but as the hustle and bustle begins, we see less of the opportunities each day and pass by people who may be put in our path for such a moment as this.
The moment the shopping mall cashier tells you that it will be a difficult Christmas because of the loss of her father.. and you get the opportunity to pray with her, will change lives. Including yours.
The gifts we give back this season don’t have to be impressive. They don’t have to make a splash. Small giving makes huge waves in our homes, neighborhoods, and communities.
4. Switch “What can I get?” to “What can I give?”
What if there was something you could do to tune their hearts to give to others this Christmas? Well there is. The Giving Manger makes it easy and fun to put giving and Jesus back into the season and shift the focus from “What can I get?” to “What can I give?”
And it’s so simple.  Read the book as a family to explain the tradition.  Then you put the sweet little manger on a table for the whole family to see (make it an easy spot for even the littlest to reach!).
As each member of the family does an act of service for someone—maybe it’s “Put your brothers shoes away” or “Grab a poinsettia, ring the doorbell, and run!” —they add a piece of straw to the manger. You should see the kids get excited about it! They look for ways to serve on their own and end up telling you, “Mom, that was so nice, go put straw in the manger!”
On Christmas Day, the baby Jesus is brought out, and you get to watch as they excitedly place him in the manger that’s full of service and love.
We want to raise kids who are intentional about giving, love people, and celebrate the gift of Jesus during Christmas.
5. Make service lists instead of wish lists
You can’t control all that will influence them this season, but you can direct the influence in your own home and encourage giving in your home, neighborhood, and community. Be their guide and give them ideas regularly of how they might service each other.
Here’s a few of our favorite ideas:Clean up a mess you didn’t makeGrab a poinsettia, ring the doorbell, and run!Check on an elderly neighborMail a letter to someone telling them your favorite memory with them 
When you celebrate small acts of service it changes the attitude of everyone around. Don’t be surprised if it ends up being your favorite highlights from the holiday season. About The Giving Manger Experience the true meaning of Christmas this year with The Giving Manger — a faith-based interactive family tradition that encourages acts of kindness, focuses on the joy of giving, and honors the real reason for Christmas: Jesus’ birth.

Each Giving Manger Box Set contains a hardcover picture book, a wooden manger, a bundle of straw, and a sturdy Baby Jesus figure — everything your family needs to start the tradition in your own home.

How It Works

The included picture book, The Giving Manger, will help your family understand the tradition and get children excited about participating. Once you have read the story, place the empty manger in a prominent spot in your home. In the days leading up to Christmas, family members can place a piece of straw in the manger each time they perform a kind deed or act of service. Filling the manger will become a fun, interactive project for your family, prompting even young children to look for ways to love and serve others.

As your family works together to fill the manger with straw, your hearts and home will fill with the joy and contentment that comes not from wish lists and getting, but from giving and loving others. On Christmas Day, your family can place the Baby Jesus in the manger — now full of the straw that represents the acts of love and service done in honor of Jesus’ birth.

Each Box Set Includes:The Giving Manger Picture Book: a heartwarming story with beautiful cut-paper illustrations that presents the tradition and will get kids excited about participatingWooden Manger: to be placed in a visible spot in the home, waiting to be filledBundle of Straw: pieces of straw to be placed in the manger after each act of serviceBaby Jesus: to be placed in the manger on Christmas dayEach item in the box is built to last so your family can keep the tradition going year after year. About the Creators Allison Hottinger and Lisa Kalberer are sisters who are passionate about giving back. As they began to raise their own families, they realized that the true meaning of Christmas and the spirit of giving was getting lost in the hustle and bustle of the season. They put pen to paper, wood to the saw, and clay in their hands to create the book, manger, and Baby Jesus that make up The Giving Manger–a complete tradition to help families focus on the real meaning of Christmas. They hope that The Giving Manger can spread kindness and promote service as families come together and shift the focus of Christmas from getting to giving. Allison lives in Ladera Ranch, California, and Lisa lives in Austin, Texas.
Learn more at www.thegivingmanger.com and on Facebook (@thegivingmanger) and Instagram (@thegivingmanger).
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