Monday night is family night at our house. Tonight, we kicked off our Holiday Spirit with some spare change and taught our boys a lesson in gratitude (for what they have) and compassion.
We have a canning jar FULL (like overflowing) of coins on the counter in the kitchen. We fish popcorn money out of it on Fridays, or milk money for days when they take their lunches. We also have a basket in our bedroom where my dh tosses his pocket change. There is also change in both our cars and our boys have change kicking around their bedrooms. Not to mention the small pile of it on top of the dryer that I have fished out of loads of laundry. For the most part, it all just sits there. We don't miss it and we never use it all.
For Family Night tonight, we decided to use all that change to change someone's Christmas. We spent a few minutes gathering change from all over the house and then dumped it all into a plastic shoebox. The boys even volunteered the change from their bank envelopes (their allowance money waiting to be deposited in the bank). Then, we took turns guessing how much we thought was in there. I was surprised at HOW MUCH there was...
We took it down to Fred Meyer and ran it through the Coin Star Machine - shockingly, our "spare change" added up to nearly $128!!! We took our voucher and headed for the toy section!
Our boys were FANTASTIC at picking out toys! We taught them to look for sales and to also look for toys that were a low cost, but had a high fun value (like $5 Flywheels - even adult men love those things - there's nothing like a skateboard wheel that speeds off at 20 miles an hour when you rip a cord!). Forty-five minutes later, we had a CART FULL of toys - everything from Hot Wheels to Polly Pockets - most of it on sale! We were all surprised at how much you can get for a little over $100! We will be donating the toys to a local Christmas Charity when they start collecting later this month.
Our kids learned a good lesson in using their money wisely and some other children will get some great Christmas presents this year courtesy of our spare change.
I challenge you this holiday season to do the same. You probably have a substantial amount of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters in jars or boxes around your home. Go on an expedition and round it up and use it to "change" someone's life.
Come back and tell me about your experience if you would like! I'd LOVE to hear!
BTW - the above photo is the Christmas tree that was up in our house on my first Christmas!