Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew
Y’all. Every now and then along comes something that is just so beautiful and sweet, you feel the need to tell others.
The Giving Manger is one of those. WorthyKids has created something so sweet and simple, but impactful; you are going to love adding this to your family Advent celebrations. It doesn’t require daily crafts, snacks, or buying all the things. All you need is The Giving Manger and your family.
What It Is
The Giving Manger isn’t something else you have to add to your to do list. The Giving Manger creates an atmosphere of love and peace in homes because the end result isn’t about what everyone gets out of it. The end result is about loving others:
The purpose of using The Giving Manger for Advent is to honor Jesus, by loving and serving others. Just as He has served us.
The book itself is a hardcover picture book, with lovely cut-paper illustrations. The book will help get children excited about the tradition, while helping everyone understand how this new tradition honors Jesus and why you’re doing it. In the 32 page story, a dad explains to his children how Christmas will be different this year- they won’t be opening gifts on Christmas day, instead they will be giving Jesus gifts by loving and serving others during the Advent season.
When they’ve done something to serve others, children place a piece of straw in the wooden manger (both are included with the kit), to prepare it for Jesus. And finally, on Christmas morning they get to place Jesus in the manger. This can be done at night by a parent as a surprise for the next day, by the children, or the family on Christmas morning.
How We Used It
Let me tell you- there is something about that little baby Jesus that children *love.* I am not sure what He is made of, it feels like a resin, or resin coated wood? He is sturdy and just perfect for small hands. My kids have been in awe of baby Jesus!
For the purpose of this review, our family began using The Giving Manger before Advent, but hey- what’s an extra month of intentionally serving others and being kind (especially when we are talking siblings)? First we read the book, which is a beautiful and simple explanation of The Giving Manger.
Then, we read through the list of ideas for serving others. This is found in the back of the book, and is a big help when little minds are drawing a blank about how to serve others. There are several pages of simple ideas such as: paint rocks and hide them in the park, put a kind note in a library book, help a sibling with chores, read a book to a younger child, etc.
Much like the children in the book, my kids became very excited once they realized that serving others meant doing something for others that shows your love to them. We talk about this a lot, and they do this in helping me often. But I am so thankful this book and Advent activity really opened their eyes to serving one another better. I saw a big change in the competitiveness that’s creeped into their relationships in recent months (I feel like this happens at certain ages?). And they come up with ways to serve those outside of our family, all on their own.
I’ve found them jumping up first to help when I need it, doing chores for a sibling when they are sick, helping keep each other’s doors shut (because toddler!), and reading to one another more. The ideas in the back of the book are very practical for most families, I don’t think they’re over the top or too difficult at all. Of course families can come up with their own ideas, too!
But mostly I’ve just seen their hearts soften and become a little less me focused. And isn’t that what we want for our kids year round? Of course it is! At Christmas, when hearts can become very focused on what’s under the tree, or all the many fun activities going on, The Giving Manger is a wonderful centerpiece for our home, that helps everyone remember why we celebrate Christmas at all.
This sweet little kit of book, manger, straw and baby Jesus have created a peace in our home, it has opened hearts to the idea of what serving others really looks like. It has made Jesus somewhat tangible for little minds, and made a concept that may seem abstract to children more concrete.
Thank you WorthyKids, this is definitely a new family tradition for our Advent season!
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