DISCLAIMER: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew
Each year, when the holiday season rolls around, it tends to be that the meaning of Christmas is often lost in all the Black Friday sales, Christmas lights and presents under the tree. The secular takes over, and the birth of our Savior and the amazing gift he gave to us when he gave his life is more times than not, forgotten. More often than not, the focus becomes about what we will receive rather than what we can give to others.
For this holiday season, we are trying to change that in our household using The Giving Manger from WorthyKids. Disguised as a simplistic holiday decoration to place in your home, The Giving Manger is actually a great tool to be used to help your family focus on acts of giving.
The Giving Manger was packaged very nicely in a presentation box that included a hardcover picture book, a three piece wooden manger that was easy to assemble, a infant figuring to represent the baby Jesus, and a bundle of straw.
The concept behind the set is that the family gets together and reads the storybook written by Allison Hottinger and photographed cut paper illustrations by Emily King. The book explains the idea behind the Giving Manger and helps to drive interest and enthusiasm for it. The book focuses on the words of Matthew 25:40 and tells the story about two siblings, Ann and Ben, who are informed that the parents have decided rather than purchase gifts for the children for the holidays, they have instead decided to focus on giving and serving others with a grateful heart. The children of course are not very grateful to hear this news, but as the story progresses, they find that there's a completely type of gift to be had by serving others.
After reading the book as a family, for the holiday season, family members work on acts of giving. As these acts are done, a piece of straw is added to the manger, in the hopes that by the end of the holiday season, the manger is filled with straw to cushion the baby Jesus before he is placed in the manger on Christmas. The book provides ideas for age appropriate ideas for how different age groups can find ways to serve others, such as for children, for teens, and ideas to do as a family unit.
The book also provides a journaling section entitled "Manger Memories" where families can write down particularly memorable acts of service that they would like to remember in years to come.
While our family has not begun adding straw to the manger, as we are saving that to do during the Advent season, we are really looking forward to making this a focus for our family during the holiday. Christ teaches us that we should take care of "the least of these", and I admit that over the years, our family have become more focused on the consumer aspect of Christmas and had really neglected how we can serve others in our community. I think The Giving Manger will be a great tool to help our family focus on doing things for others.
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