Teaching Your Child the Joy of Giving

On Monday I posted how to throw a Princess party. Today I want to share with you another birthday idea that could really be thrown for someone any age! But in this scenario my friend Hope threw it for her 6 year old daughter. I found the idea so compelling I asked her to tell her story – so here’s what she wrote:
We knew my daughter Addie was going to have her first ‘friend party’ and have it at Chik-fil-a. One day we were riding in the van and she was talking about her party and her friends coming and I thought to myself ‘the last thing we NEED is more toys’ so I just said, “Hey Addie, what do you think about your friends not bringing you presents at your birthday party?” At first she was like, “um, what?” Then I thought and said, “We could have them bring something for Heart to Heart International Care Kits (because we had done that over the summer http://www.hearttoheart.org/). She wasn’t really too keen on that idea and then I thought of something closer to home.

I said, “Addie, how about you have your friends bring kids coats in for Urban Connections Ministry at church, you know, for the kids who walk to school and don’t have coats?” Her eyes lit up at this and she got very excited and said “Yeah!!!!”

I made sure she understood ALL of this–‘this means none of your friends will bring you gifts to your party, there will be no opening any gifts because there won’t be any.” She was totally on board but did ask one question, “Can grandma still get me a gift?” “Of course, honey!!! Family can still get you gifts at your family party.”

We mailed invitations out that simply said, “In lieu of gifts please bring a gently used child’s coat.” Several parents pulled me aside to talk to me–“Can’t we still bring a gift?” “Are you sure about this?” “How about a coat and a gift?” “Please tell me your daughter is getting something for her birthday?!” I assured all of them, absolutely no gifts, just the coats please, and yes, she’s still getting gifts from us and from family.

The day of the party we made her cake, gathered up the party favors she had made for her friends and 2 laundry baskets to put the coats in. Once at the restaurant, we put the baskets on the floor and people put the coats in them and many of Addie’s friends made her cards. It was great, the kids ate, played games and had cake and ice cream. After the party we took the coats home and had enough to fill 2 black trash bags! Some people even brought more than one coat.

Addie delivered the coats to the ministry director for Urban Connections at our church. He asked her, “Addie, where did you get all these coats?” She replied, “For my birthday I chose to have my friends bring in coats instead of bringing me gifts.”

It was also a great lesson in being humble. We explained to Addie that she should not go around talking about what she did for her birthday or that would be boasting. I was even REALLY torn about letting Courtney write a blog about it but I really feel like it’s a great idea and Addie has learned a great lesson from this.

Two weeks after her birthday party she lost her first 2 teeth. She got a dollar for each tooth and I asked her what she wanted to spend her money on, she replied, “I want to buy a coat for the kids who don’t have coats” I was moved to tears and still am to this day, with that statement!

Thus, it started another giving tradition in our home. When our kids loose a tooth, they get $2 for it, if they choose to bless someone else with the money by giving it away, we will double their money. Addie lost a tooth last week and at first she was going to keep the money, then she decided to bless kids in Malawi, Africa with it!

Doesn’t that encourage your soul! When Hope told me this story, I knew immediately it was a story that people needed to hear about – I pray that little Addie’s willing heart to sacrifice her toys for coats will inspire other children to do the same and Addie’s giving will be multiplied! Read this blog post to your child today – maybe they too will have a heart that is willing to give rather than receive. Teach your children the joy of giving – Acts 20:35 “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Walk with the King!


  1. LOVE THIS IDEA!! Now since our kids' birthday parties have passed. We will need to have a party for something just to do something like this. This is awesome. How better to teach our kids to put others first?

  2. I just came across your blog from "Temp my Tummy Tuesdays". I haven't participated in a while, but I still read the posts! We're in the middle of a move and just busy and stressed! I flipped through your blog and read a few of your past posts, and I really enjoy it!

  3. I love it!! You might also like volunteering parties, where children play with kittens at the animal shelter, decorate cards for prisoners, play games with nursing home residents, or paint over graffiti. It's so great that you're getting your daughter excited about helping others at such a young age!

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