The Giving Manger

Happy Tiny Tuesday!!! My girls and I are so excited for today’s post. When it comes to Christmas at our house, we have a lot going on. We couldn’t decide which type of activities to eliminate, so we do it all! We mix a little fun with the real story and message of the season – Christ’s birth.

Giving Manger

We’ve been reading a simple Advent devotional with the girls each morning at breakfast, we started Elf on the Shelf (aka Hellen) this year, which is super fun and a great behavior encourager, and we have advent boxes and each day Emma Grace opens a box to determine what family activity we will be doing like drinking hot cocoa or making ornaments, etc. But, we also added one more thing to our daily Christmas routine – the Giving Manger.

Last year my Mother-in-Law gifted us with a Giving Manger and we’re so glad she did! The Giving Manger is a great way to shift the focus of this holiday season from receiving to giving and serving others. The Giving Manger comes with 4 pieces – a wooden manger, a wooden baby Jesus, a bundle of straw, and a book to explain the concept. And this is how it works…

The wooden manger starts out empty on December 1st. Then, each time a family member goes out of their way to be kind or serve another person at home/work/school/church/etc., he or she gets to add a piece of straw to the manger. Your hope is that the manger is filled with straw by Christmas morning so that baby Jesus will have a soft place to sleep.

It’s been really helpful for us to differentiate the concepts of chores versus serving others to Emma Grace. We believe there are certain duties that you are responsible for doing just because you live in the home like making your bed, cleaning your room, etc., and that serving others is a way to show your love for them like Christ has done for us. It’s been so cool to watch how well Emma Grace has embraced this concept and has gone out of her way for others without us asking her to. They’ve been simple things like holding the door open for daddy, helping Abby learn to use a spoon when mommy wasn’t looking, stuff like that, but it’s the bigger picture that counts, right? 🙂

Anyway, this is not an ad or anything like that, I simply wanted to share this amazing version of an “Advent Calendar” as it’s has been so neat for our family. I know it’s already the first week of December, but it’s really not too late to start your own. If you do, let me know how you like it!!