Christmas is a time for giving, but sometimes it can be hard to find the inspiration to give. Here are some tips to help inspire your students to give generously this Christmas!

These activities will help your students look beyond what the media is telling them they need to be happy – to look beyond themselvesbeyond these safe borders – warm homes – full plates – full closets – full toy chests –

Beyond wanting more … to seeing others

  • their needs
  • their poverty
  • their hunger
  • their hope for safety
  • their need for our help

Start with a Story

First, set the stage with a story, Beatrice's Goat.
 
This is a precious story of a little girl's life that was changed because someone far away cared and gave.

You may wish to show this delightful reading of the story.

Let's Compare

Next, discuss with your kids how their lives are different than Beatrice's and how they are similar.

Download link below.

The goal of this activity is to develop empathy for people living in faraway places that have great needs in their lives.
 
Once the needs are seen, the kids usually want to do something to help.

Find a Partner to Work With

Here are 3 great places to partner with to give to the less fortunate.

 
I have used World Vision in the past.  I call them in November and ask them to send me a dozen catalogs.  I partnered the students up, and they looked through the catalogs together, marking with a Sharpie the gifts they would like to give.
 
It was such a joy to see them so concerned with their needs and excited to be able to help!
 

Inspire Giving

How Can We Help?

We brainstormed how we could help – how we could earn money to purchase some of these items.
 
Kids come up with some great ideas!

Download link below.

I had a parent letter prepared to send home to the parents, explaining what we were doing and encouraging them to find ways for their kids to earn money – not just get it from mom and dad.  
 
I also let the kids ‘check out' the catalogs and take them home.  Most families become involved when they see those pictures!  The kids bring the catalogs back, so after we have collected all our ‘hard-earned' money, we can go through them again.  I kept them on the library table, and many would read them during silent reading time.
 
I just put a Christmas can on my desk, and we would put our money in.  On the last day before Christmas break, we count the money. 
 
This is our party activity – we do not do gift exchange – we give to those in need.
 
The first year I did this, I thought there might be a little grumbling – was I wrong!  They were super joyous!  on a much deeper level than any party, I had ever had at school!

What Shall We Give?

This turned out to be a great math opportunity.  Each table counted part of our ‘earnings', then the table captains wrote the totals on the whiteboard – then we added with regrouping – and even a little mention of that decimal point needing to be lined up ;).

Now, we know what the budget is, so we partner up and go through the catalogs one more time. They were tasked to:
 
  1. Find 1-3 things to give that did not go over our budget.
  2. Cut the items out of the catalog.
  3. Prepare to share why you think those things are important for the people.
 
(I have had some passionate and persuasive second graders!)
You can see some of the choices on the magnet board.
 
Needless to say, there were more suggestions than we had the money for.  But as we looked at all the pictures we saw there were similar categories:
 
  • Animals (a favorite)
  • Fresh water
  • Medicine
  • Shelter
  • Education
 
This is such a transforming project!
  • The students learn empathy for others.
  • They become givers – not ‘grabbers.'
  • They help transform someone's life in a distant place on this planet – like Beatrice.
 
Do you like to give gifts to your students?  My favorite gift to give is a goat!  That's right… a goat!
And my kids were not disappointed that they didn't get a bag of stuff – they were totally delighted that their gift was to a little ‘Beatrice' whose life would be made better by that little goat . . .
 
because their hearts had grown in empathy!

Click on the picture if you would like to see the book on Amazon.

You can help your students to have a more giving Christmas by showing them how others' lives are different than their own. Beatrice's Goat is a great story to start with, followed by a discussion of empathy for people living in poverty in faraway places and brainstorming ways to give. These activities will inspire your students to give generously this Christmas! 

Click below to download the graphic organizers I used in this activity.

Welcome

My name is Peggy Means. I am a child of God and a retired elementary teacher. I loved teaching and creating engaging resources for my students. Now, I love sharing my resources and ideas with busy teachers around the world.

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