Make a Deal with Santa
By J Gardener

Your daughter: "Mommy, mommy, I want Santa to bring me a (insert the name of this year's most popular toy) for Christmas!"

You: "But you got a (insert the name of last year's very similar most popular toy) last Christmas."

Your daughter: "It's old now! I hate it!"

You take a look around your daughter's room and you sigh. It's crammed full of "old" toys and dolls, last year's most-desired Christmas must-haves. And you realize that the cycle has begun, again, and that you're going to pay premium holiday prices to clutter her room even more, until someday, you won't even be able to find the bed, the floor, or your daughter, for all the hated, obsolete toys crammed in.

And you think, what a waste, until you look at your own room or closet, and you realize that it's full of old, obsolete stuff, clothes that you'll never wear again, or gifts that you'll never utilize but just can't bear to part with ("Aunt Carol gave me that!"). You're a classic pack-rat, and your daughter is following your example.

Christmas is the perfect time of the year to change the pattern you've set for yourself and your family. So many families aren't fortunate enough to enjoy the wonderful Christmases we all anticipate each year. Why not use this season to clean out your own clutter, help others who need it, and teach your daughter a valuable lesson in compassion, at the same time?

Besides major retailers, charities also rely on this time of year for the bulk of their business, and believe it or not, those rarely- or never-worn clothes in your closet, or that quirky lamp your sister gave you as a joke last year, could make someone's Christmas morning a lot brighter.

Those barely-touched toys and dolls in your daughter's room could reaffirm another child's belief in the goodness of Santa Claus. She may be too young to understand the concept of charity, but chances are, you child loves the thought of making others happy. One thing she almost certainly understands is the the need to convince Santa that she belongs on his "nice" list. Explain to her that Santa might see all the toys she has and wonder why she needs new ones? After all, he wants to deliver toys to every good child, but he only has one sleigh to carry everything.

Ask her if she'd be willing to help Santa. Since she has all of these things which are practically new, and there are other children who would love to have some of them, why not trade some of last year's things for new ones? You can help her gather the least used items in her room, and take them to a place where Santa can pick them up on Christmas Eve-Goodwill, The Salvation Army, your church, or a local charity drop-off site. Then, Santa can leave his shop at the North Pole with a lighter load, and after he drops off new toys at your house, he can pick up the toys you've donated, and deliver them to the children who want them.

If you set the example by ridding your own surroundings of the useless and the unused, your daughter just might develop a lifelong habit of holiday giving, and helping others who may not be as fortunate.

Brought to you by Imaginary Greetings, a regular contributor of valuable family oriented articles. To help create the perfect holiday tree, visit Santa's Ornament Shop for the best selection of personalized ornaments.

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