Of Angels & Goats

“Here’s two dollars,” he said, laying the crumpled bills in my hand on top of the others.

“How much money do you have?”

“Uhhh…about over a hundred and sixty-something,” he said.

“Ok,” I said, deciding not to push him into greater giving, “let’s see how much we have now.”

I poked through the dollars and loose change in my hand. “Eighteen dollars. Not bad. Maybe we can get a net or a soccer ball.”

“Well,” he said, “I have more but…my heart is saying give more but my head is saying buy something big.”

“Something big for…”

“Something big for me,” he blushed. “It’s hard.”

“You don’t have to give more,” I said. “Just pray and ask God what you should give. Take your time. No hurry. We can do this tomorrow even. No big deal.”

He walked off to his room and all was quiet for a while. He eventually came back to the den shaking a can of coins.

“I’ve decided to give all my change too.”

He dumped it.


Stacked it.

stacking coins

Counted the stacks.

“1…2…3…4… This is a lot… 5…6…7… I didn’t know it was this much… 8…9…10… Oh, man…”

counting coins

“16…17…18… Oh man! Eighteen dollars!”

It was as if for a second he forgot he had counted it only so he could give it. Then he remembered.

“Oh man. Eighteen dollars… This is hard.”

After I pitched in a little money of my own, they counted up our offering.

“Fifty bucks! Let’s go shopping!”


The kids had a hard time deciding but eventually bought a goat. Which left us enough money for flour and salt.


I realize this will only further jeopardize my manhood and solidify my reputation as a mommy blogger but, yes, I do make dough ornaments with my kids. Every year. And I like it.

Dough ornaments

I retain my man card by calling the dough “spackle” and by using a large pocket knife instead of a cookie cutter. And by cooking hardening the ornaments over a blow torch instead of in an oven.

angel ornament

We made angels and snowflakes and stockings.


And a goat.

goat ornament

To hang beside our chicken and duck.

duck ornament

And last year’s bee.

bee ornament

Every year another hard offering, another need met, another ornament, another chance to give what our head wants to keep. In celebration of the One who put giving in our heart.

What’s one of your family’s Christmas traditions?

For a whole bunch of alternative gift ideas, visit the Gifts Of Compassion on-line catalog. To spread the word about it on Facebook, Twitter and e-mail please link to http://bit.ly/GiftsOfCompassion . Thanks.