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Catholic Activity: Preparing the Christmas Gifts

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Elsa Chaney explains how to integrate the spiritual meaning of Christmas with the material gift-giving. Ideas include homemade gifts and preparing gifts for the poor.

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How can this integration of the spiritual and the material be accomplished practically? One of the most obvious places to begin is with gift giving. Our American custom of generous giving at Christmas can be linked most appropriately to the generosity of the Father who gives His Son to us. Parents can help their children reflect this spirit in preparing gifts for relatives and friends. Children may, theoretically, know the meaning of the gift exchange at Christmas; yet it is sometimes hard for them to grasp that the presents they buy in the department store even if they have saved up their pennies to purchase them — can represent the gift of themselves. Many families are encouraging their children to make their own gifts, and some of the long Advent evenings are happily occupied with Susie's sewing of aprons and pot-holders, while Johnny fashions bookends or wooden tea trays under father's watchful eye in the basement. In employing their ingenuity and creativeness to prepare their Christmas gifts, the children not only gain an understanding of gift-giving but also realize a sense of achievement which no purchased gift could give them.

Nor are the poor to be forgotten. Preparing gifts of food and clothing can also be a means of helping the children to an outgoing spirit and a concern for others at this time. . . so that they do not concentrate exclusively on what they themselves are going to "get" for Christmas. The final touches on the Christmas baskets — and their delivery — make fine projects for the vigil morning.

Activity Source: Twelve Days of Christmas, The by Elsa Chaney, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, 1955

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