This is something that I struggle with year on year, trying to instill a spirit of giving in my children at Christmas time. Don't get me wrong here, I feel we should be doing this throughout the year, hence the fact that Mr Beehive and I do things as many others do such as sponsor a child and give to our favourite charities and we try to encourage the children to participate in charity events or collections.
In previous years the children have made shoeboxes of gifts to donate to other children who have less, but I'm not always happy with some of these bigger organisations' underlying messages that seem to be a part of the receiver getting the gift.
We have, in the past, made boxes of needed clothes up to send to families who have less, we did this through an American forum called Mothering, for several years. However, we can't find anything similar in this country.
We've made secret gifts that we've mailed to someone we know has had a rough year and sent them anonymously.
We've drawn and framed pictures or given cookies to residential homes and donated toys to other appeals.
We have also used places like the Oxfam gifts whereupon we've bought chickens for a family as a gift for friends or we've knitted hats for newborn babies in Malawi.
But I'm sure that there is much giving that can be done at home throughout the year and not just at Christmas time. One of the ideas that tickles my fancy at the moment is buying the coffee for the person behind me in the queue and then just leaving.
So the big question I have to ask is, am I doing this in order to instill a spirit of giving in myself and my children or am I doing this because if feels nice for me to walk away knowing I've done this? Oh I feel a Phoebe-quandry coming on but you'd better hurry up because for the next few weeks I may be that person in front of you in the Costa queue ;-)
Perhaps though, if we all just chose one or two nice things to do for the person in front or behind us, that we don't normally do, perhaps help them load their shopping in the car, let them go in front of us in the queue if we have more time than them, sweep the leaves of our elderly neighbours' lawn whilst we're out there doing our own? Offer to put our neighbours' bins out or put them back in once the dustcart has gone? I'm sure there are endless ideas.
Please share your giving.