This year for Christmas Zach and I made the decision to "adopt" a child for Christmas. JC Penny and the Salvation Army make it so easy to find the child that is right for you, just visit www.jcp.com/angel and from there you enter in your personal preferences for the child you want to adopt. You can choose whether you want a boy or a girl, where they are from, and what age group they fall into. Then you get a list of the kids that match what you entered and you choose the child for you. Each child has a list of things that they need and things that they want. You have until the 14th (I think) of December to drop off items for your adopted child, so there is still plenty of time to jump in and help out if you feel moved to do so! There is also a bunch more information on the website if you have any questions.
It really put things in perspective to see what these children were putting that they wanted/needed. Virtually every need was an article of clothing and the wants were one or two small things, like books or a baby doll or a cd. Compare that to how many things end up on alot of kids Christmas list, always wanting the newest and best toys/electronics/etc. It was a great opportunity to take Madison with when we went shopping and explain to her that not all boys and girls have a toy box full of toys, a bookcase full of books, and a closet overflowing with clothes. I know that she doesn't completely "get" it yet, but she understands the basic idea of why we are doing this and we can build on that.
Our adopted child is a 6 month old little girl and all that her mommy put on the list is that she needs shirts and wants some childrens cds. It is possible that I went a little bit overboard and got all sorts of fun clothes and toys, but I'm not willing to admit to anything! It is just so fun to shop for a baby and think about all of the things that Madison loved at that age that this little girl might love too. I honestly think that I have gotten more out of this experience than the adopted family ever could. It truly is better to give than to receive.