When my older kids were small, we had a holiday tradition that I felt developed gratefulness and generosity in them. We would create small gifts for those people who served us behind the scenes every day. The gifts were never big or expensive, but they were always planned out carefully.
We usually made a variety of cookies and candies and chose from these to make holiday plates of different sizes. The smaller plates were given to the mailman, the meter readers, and the garbage collectors. We even had a plate ready for our UPS guy.
The larger platters went to the fire department, the police department, and the library to thank them for being there for us every day. Doctors, dentists, everyone we depended on were gifted in this way.
Once that was accomplished, each child was taken shopping and chose a toy to donate to Toys for Tots programs. We filled holiday shoeboxes, got angels from angel trees, and took baked goods to our neighbors.
Although it cost very little to get the gifts and bake the treats, they were invaluable to both the recipients and my children. My kids grew up with an awareness of those people who worked so hard behind the scenes every day to make our lives safer, easier, healthier, and more pleasant.
The act of giving created a habit of gratitude and generosity that is still working in them to this day.
That habit of gratitude makes it easy for them to say things like thank you and I appreciate you. It allows them to be generous â€“ both with words and tokens of appreciation. When people have that awareness that the world does not revolve around them, they know the importance of giving back.
And all of a sudden the world is a nicer place.