Happy Thanksgivukkah!

It's difficult to imagine that in one of the most affluent counties in the United States, there are those who still cannot afford to put food on the table.  A number of these families have children who attend our elementary school.  As a substitute teacher I have become familiar with their kids, and its heartbreaking to see and hear about their hardships.  This year, in the true spirit of Thanksgiving, I helped organize a community food drive to assist them during the holidays.

About a month ago I asked the girls to give me their Hanukkah lists.  At first they were so excited, grabbing several sheets of paper and sharpening their pencils.  However, when it came time to give me their lists, they were virtually blank.  Aside from a small handful of items, they couldn't think of anything they wanted. 

Our kids live a very comfortable middle-class suburban life.  Their wants and needs are generally satisfied.  Consequently, when the girls encountered difficulties generating their Hanukkah wish list, we realized it was time for a change.

This year, we're introducing our Season of Giving.  The kids are foregoing a couple of nights' Hanukkah gifts and using their own money to purchase presents for community children who are less fortunate.  Additionally, during this year's "Black Friday," the three of them will assist Matt in serving a Thanksgiving lunch at a local homeless shelter. 

Our intention with all of this is to demonstrate to our children that with privilege comes responsibility.  We're hoping to to reinforce a sense of community and instill altruistic values.

Of course, Matt and I are also keeping our fingers crossed that our efforts will help whittle away those major chips on their shoulders ...    


Connie said...

Awesome idea! It's good when they reach that point where they realize that they CAN be happy with what they have. One thing on my son's christmas list this year was regarding his favorite OLD pair of flannel pjs. The buttons/button holes are getting ragged, so he asked for a replacement, or for me to just fix this pair - and I know that he would be happy with the old pair repaired! They're growing up!

Happy Thanksgivukkah!!

Lynne said...

I love these ideas and will totally poach them!

Last year for one night of Hanukkah we "gave" them donations in their names. We gave them the thank you cards from the organization and explained what that charity did and how this was their present. Admittedly they were 3 and 5, but they were definitely NOT into it! We're doing it again this year and hope for a better 'tude about it.

anymommy said...

Love it. We've been working hard on finding ways to help our kids understand how privileged we are and that so many people can't "just go to the grocery store."

labman57 said...

On the occasion of the very first OFFICIAL Thanksgivukkah hybrid holiday in the history of the Universe:

May your deep-fried turkey be a success ... and not burn down the neighborhood,
May your latke stuffing be a gastronomic hit, and
May your friendly family flag football competition -- featuring the Maccabees vs. the Pilgrims -- result in neither insult nor injury.

Happy Thanksgivukkah, everybody.
(Let's do it again in the year 79811)

Betsy said...

Such a great idea! One of my children needs a little reminder of the difference between wants and needs. Just because we can afford it, doesn't mean that we need it.

Hope you had a wonderful day with your beautiful family.

Kat said...

Awww. I just love you. This whole post makes me cry. God bless your beautiful, kind heart and the lessons you are passing on to your lovely children. So awesome.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Happy Hanukkah!

Unknown said...

Love this! We help donate to a family in need every year, but I think we can do more. How wonderful to teach your kids by doing. Truly. I'm inspired. :)

Issa said...

I love this. I'm having a hard time doing Christmas for us, so I can't help anyone else, but oh how I will again when I can.

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