The Happiest New Year!

The-Happiest-New-YearHow to ring in the New Year with a little contentment, compassion, and generosity…
Cultivating the Gifts of Contentment, Compassion, and Generosity

The family New Year gift bowl

Decorate a fish bowl as a family. Then, put all the family members names in the bowl. Feel free to include pets. The child’s name you draw gets all the birthday and Christmas presents in 2014 and the rest of the kids get the joy of watching the lucky winner open her gifts. This cuts down on shopping and is a great teaching lesson on the value of contentment. *This is more of bring a smile to your face idea than a serious suggestion : )

Here is the serious suggestion…

Pick out a journal as a family. At dinner have each person write down or draw a picture of something they are thankful for that day. On New Year Eve’s night ring in the New Year by reading through your family’s attitude of gratitude. A thankful heart is the beginning of contentment.

Rethink the feast

Want to cut down on food prep? Serve beans and rice for the New Years feast. I credit this idea to MOPS (mother’s of preschoolers) One year at MOPS, instead of our normal feast of egg bakes, pastries and fruit they served us a bowl of rice. The point? I remember it had something to do with third world countries. Personally, I just wanted a donut.
I know my donut thought was not my finest moment and thinking about starving kids in Africa was perhaps more virtuous…but I did not understand how me eating a bowl of rice benefited African kids. But, it was a good lesson on having compassion for others by learning to walk in their shoes.
So, serve up a bowl of rice. Not only will your kids learn about what other kids eat they will learn the value of compassion.

Bonus ideas:

– Sponsor a kid as a family
– Celebrate some of your sponsored kid’s New Year traditions
– Get a map. Once a week have one child point to place on the map. Get out the computer and see what you can learn about town, city, or country. After you are done exploring mark it on your map.

One for me, one for you

I am passionate about baked goods. This year, I made a “donate homemade baked goods for Allison” box. It sits in full view of my fellow co-workers. I figured I might as well take advantage of all the holiday baking. I get a variety of Christmas treats and I don’t have to bake. Brilliant! And as a bonus I am teaching my co-workers the value of generosity.
Ring in 2014 by baking a cookie for you and one for someone else. Have your kids join in the fun. They can pick people or organizations they would like to give back to. The baked goodness does not have to be fancy. A simple homemade chocolate chip cookie or pan of gooey brownies can warm a heart right. Bonus: Your kids get to experience the virtue of generosity!