Christmas writing prompt…with a compassionate twist

Unique Christmas writing prompt gets kids thinking about what it would be like to receive a gift when you have nothing of your own

AT THIS time of year, my husband and I always look forward to poring through the gift catalogs that come in the mail.

Not the “gimmee” catalogs from Macy’s or Target or Pottery Barn, but the catalogs that come from such worthy organizations as World Vision, Compassion, and Samaritan’s Purse, offering us a chance to buy a really special, greatly appreciated gift for a child or family in need.

In the past, we’ve given chickens and ducks, a goat, and even the gift of clean drinking water for life.

Compassionate Giving

As a family, look through one of these online catalogs, and prayerfully consider giving a unique Christmas gift:

  • Domestic animals not only provide a steady stream of eggs or milk, but also bring a bit of income from selling the extras.
  • 5 fruit trees can give a poverty-stricken family a fresh start in fruit-tree farming.
  • A new soccer ball can replace the rounded wad of trash used as a makeshift ball by barefoot boys.
  • Just $35 can buy 10 times that amount in life-saving medicines.
  • Garden seeds will grow into a harvest that can sustain a family.

Compassionate Writing

As you look for ways to stir compassion in your children’s hearts, here’s a related writing activity to try. Whether or not you’re able to participate in compassionate giving, this Christmas writing prompt will get your kids thinking about what it would be like to receive a gift when you have little or nothing of your own.

  1. Visit the Compassion or World Vision website and read about several children who need sponsors. Choose one as the basis for your story.
  2. Browse through one of their online catalogs and choose a gift you think this child’s family would like to receive.
  3. Write two paragraphs. In the first paragraph, describe what daily life is like for this child in your own words. You may write in first person (imagining yourself to be the child) or in third person (as an outside observer or narrator).
  4. In the second paragraph, describe the child’s reaction to receiving their special gift.

The very best gift of all would be to actually sponsor one of these sweet children as a family! We’ve sponsored children both through Compassion and World Vision, and it has been a tremendous experience for us. Once you’ve become sponsors, you and your children can develop and foster a warm relationship with your sponsored child (and build important writing skills!) through regular letter-writing.

Do you already sponsor a child? Share your experience in the comments!

Photo: Erik Hersman, courtesy of Creative Commons.
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2 comments ↓

#1 starla on 12.05.13 at 8:18 pm

We love World Vision gift catalogs. This is such a great idea for a writing prompt! We just finished picking out our gifts from this catalog last night. Now we can do some non-contrived writing! Thanks for the tip!

#2 Kim Kautzer on 12.06.13 at 7:51 am

We’re going to be picking out our gifts as a family as well, Starla. Hope your children enjoy this unique writing experience!

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