Then, every December, we'd open the box as a family and take out the money we'd collected. We rolled the coins in those paper tubes the bank gives out, counted up the bills, and used that $$ to buy gifts for folks in need.
Some years that meant a trip to Target, where the kids helped me pick out items for a family their school "adopted" for the holidays. Some years we'd decide to give to a deserving charity that served children, like "Shoes That Fit."
This year, it's just The Hubby and me, and since he hates shopping, I decided on the charity by myself. First, I drove to the bank to turn all the loose change and small bills into some $20s and $10s.
And then I went to Target to buy some classic children's books in the "chubby" version--you know the kind--with the drool-resistant cardboard pages that can stand up to the abuse a toddler dishes out.
Books are one of my favorite things to give, especially children's books. They require parent-child interaction to get read. And parent-child interaction--the happy, snuggly, sit-on-my-lap kind--is one of the things that makes life worth living.
It's been 16 years since I read "Goodnight Moon" aloud to my last child, and I can still recite the entire thing by heart!:
"Pat the Bunny," with its movable parts, is a little bit more delicate than the rest of these books. On average, each of my children tore up two copies of "PtB" before they hit preschool. They just loved this book to death!
After Target, I drove over to the local police station and dropped the books in the barrel where the officers are collecting children's toys and things for the holidays.
You can do it like we do, setting aside a time of the week when everybody forks over some money. Or you can just dump the loose change in your pocket or wallet into a jar at the end of each day.
You'll be surprised how much money you will have at the end of a year.
And how wonderful it makes you feel.