It's almost here! Are you ready? This year is almost over, and a new one is waiting just around the corner! I think this might be my favorite time of year. I love the hustle and excitement of Christmas, but I REALLY love coming down from the height of the season to the clean slate of the New Year. Like landing on fresh powder.
Our holidays were wonderful, and I'm overflowing with thankfulness.
Since we are homeschooling this year, we were able to take a full three weeks off and really soak in the restfulness. Well, sort of. We went to 14 parties in 30 days...but in between, we had some REST. At least we weren't trying to fit in spelling lists and geography!
During our time off, the big kids each made some crafts so they could raise money for Christmas. Half of their earnings were for gift-buying, and the other half was marked to give away to a charity of their choice.
Emma (10) made these sets of hair ties:
Here's what Ethan (8) made:
Mini wreaths made from felted wool clothing scraps. Each one was about 5 inches across. In addition to facebook and IG, Ethan showed Emma how to hustle. He sold most of his to people he came into contact with--not an ounce of fear in that kid!
When it was all said and done, it was amazing how close their sales totals were. Emma ended up selling 21 sets of hair ties, while Ethan sold 19 wreaths. We also had a couple people donate extra money to their charitable giving. Both kids were so excited! Especially when they got orders online--that felt really official.
Today, we added up everything, decided to go with World Vision, and chose which gifts they wanted to give (rabbits and ducks).
They raised exactly $94.
I went back and forth between the pages of the catalog, trying to do the math in my head. As it turns out, the price of 8 ducks and 2 rabbits comes to exactly $94. I felt like I was in one of those stories were the family prays for the last $14 for the rent, and a stranger walks up and hands them exactly what they needed in cash...you know those stories, right? Our friends, family, and even complete strangers came together to help my kids earn exactly what they needed to give exactly what they'd hoped they could give. This kind of thing is a huge boost in faith in the midst of the daily gettin-stuff-done, ya know?
I love doing this kind of thing with my kids. It pulls them out of themselves in this potentially selfish time of year, and helps them focus on someone else. I'm sure they don't really understand the good that they might be doing by donating these animals to families in need--I'm not sure I even understand it fully--but the sheer act of working for the benefit of someone else was exciting and rewarding to them. And $94 is totally worth getting excited over!
Another benefit of doing a little business with the kids, is that they were constantly doing math in their heads. Ethan's ornaments were worth more than Emma's hair ties, especially since she had to pay back part of her sale price for supplies. (Ethan did too, just not as much since we had most of the supplies on hand.) We also learned the value of expanding your target customer. The wreaths were more expensive, but they were also appealing to a wider range of people. The hair ties were cute, affordable, and had great packaging, but didn't work as a gift for someone without longish hair. Or boys. On the other hand, they made really easy stocking stuffers, so people bought in multiples. Believe me, all of these factors are running through their heads as they consider doing this again next time.
And there will be a next time! We are going to open up the shop again really soon, and incorporate business, money management, and charitable giving into our regular homeschool routine. We are planning to open back up on January 10, with a new line for the Valentine's, wedding, baby shower season, so stay tuned!
So how about you? How was your Christmas season? Are you worn out or ready to charge the gates into the New Year? Have you ever given to a cause like Compassion, World Vision, or Heifer International? Today is a good day to start!