i used to make my kids clean out their toy boxes and rooms every November (like while i was trying to cook or decorate and it was things i did not need little hands help with) and we would take the good toys that they had seldom played with and were in excellent shape to Slavation Army so that other kids could have nice things for Christmas. We also always took an angel off the giving tree. The first year that i had my youngest do it himself he ended up only putting 2 or 3 things in his sack. He had a part at his Head Start and a litle boy that was 3 got so excited at his gift (he told the class it was the very first Christmas presant he ever got). PJ did not say a word to anyone but the rest of the day at school and on the drive home i could just see the wheels turning in his head. i kept asking what was wrong and he would not tell me. About an hr after we got home he came in my room dragging a box almost as big as he was and he told me, "Mom these are for all the kids who do not get anything for Christmas." He had put every toy he did not play with just about daily in that box. i told him he did not have to give that much away and he told me that those toys were just wasted in his room because he did not play with them and he wanted some other child to have a good Christmas. He has been going through his room every yr since then on his own, he told me on the phone this week that he went through his room and made his new step mother take him to Salavation Army to donate them.

We always give outgrown coats to Coats for Kids also. You take them to a participating dry cleaners and they clean them and donate them for kids that can't afford coats (adults too sometimes). Kids grow so fast most of the time their coats still look new anyway. The boys youth group at church collects canned goods all yr round also and at Christmas they make food baskets.

i really think it is a must to teach kids that even if they do not have everything they want, some people have even less. It is important to give all yr but at Christmas it seems special.

bjb