Working in the school system, I hear a lot of I want, I want, I want for Christmas. Now I can't blame the kids. Everyone is asking them what they want, the television and print ads are telling them what they need to have to be "cool" and it seems to have become a huge competition to see who gets the most or coolest "stuff". Black Friday sales are no longer limited to Black Friday but start weeks prior to it and my personal "bad business" award goes to those stores that are open all day and evening on Thanksgiving so that people can shop till they drop and not allow their employees to spend time with their own families. I refuse to shop on Thanksgiving and have also decided to avoid the absolute madness of Black Friday.
Having said all this, let me tell you what does warm my heart. The school that I substitute teach at has what they call the Motivator Store. Kids get tokens for good behavior and they can turn them in for prizes. The prizes are donated by staff and community members. During this Christmas season, the wonderful woman who runs the store came up with the idea of having the kids be able to buy gifts (with their tokens) for family and friends. The gifts will then be gift wrapped (in donated wrapping paper) and given to the kids who purchased them to take home right before Christmas break. I wish you could have seen and heard the joy that these kids had when they got to go and "buy" gifts for others. They were much more excited about that than I have ever seen them over buying things for themselves. They were so eager to share with everyone what they had purchased for their moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents and friends! For some of these families, this store is the only way that it will be possible for these kids to give gifts to those they love. What a wonderful blessing and what an important lesson. Truly it is better to give than to receive!