A couple of years ago, when I was still teaching in Michigan, I devised a plan regarding my class Christmas party.

As a child, I soooo looked forward to those class Christmas parties. Oh man! I was so excited ... until I opened the Christmas gift I got in the class Christmas drawing. Growing up, we never had a lot of money, but my mother and I always spent a good deal of time choosing an appropriately priced gift that everyone might like. As child, I always felt like I put a lot of thought into it. However, I don't remember ever getting a gift that I actually liked in return. It was always such a disappointment.

Because I taught in a district (and still do, for that matter) where most kids didn't even have the means I had growing up, I didn't want them to go through the same thing I had. I wanted the party to have a purpose as well as to be a fun time.

So, I cooked up the IT'S BETTER TO GIVE THAN RECEIVE party. I did it for two years in Michigan, and I've done it for two years here in Kentucky. Every year, it's an overwhelming success, and every single year, I'm humbled by the generosity of my kids and their parents.

For the last two years, my class has adopted the Franklin County Women's Shelter. We've donated gifts for kids that come into the shelter with their mothers. It's a great organization that does an amazing amount of good, and I am thrilled to be able to help them out each and every year.

This is the stack of presents we collected with a little help from our staff, who is always so willing to help out.

This year we wrapped the boxes all the presents went into -- I'm not even going to estimate the amount of tape involved in this venture, but who cares! My students had a blast! They worked in teams, and I'm telling you, they all were angels! It's amazing what doing for other people will do for your spirit!

I wish I could show you photos of my students all working together, but I would need to get permission from their parents to post them on the web. So, instead, I will show you a photo of Mr. Harley, our principal, reading TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS to my kids. They LOVED it!

My heart feels all warm and fuzzy inside, and I feel like my Christmas season has fallen on the right feet! Merry Christmas to all ... it is, after all, better to give than receive. Please look for ways that you can give back to your community. Even the smallest of gestures are precious to those on the receiving end.


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