The Wishing Tree That Grew Three Hearts Big

I watched them circle each picture with a bright red marker–legos, nerf guns, a sparkly new purse. Apparently they wanted everything. And they needed none of it. 

Christmas. As a mother it means so many things. Family, togetherness, overeating. Shopping online and in line and praying your kids don’t change their minds after it’s all checked off the list.

But as I stood there flipping through the punctured Target catalog, wounded from their aggressive circling, I started to get mad. Really, really, shrinking-grinch-heart mad.

Sure, they’re small children. But how could they be so gosh darn selfish?!

How could I teach their tiny, growing hearts what the holidays are really all about? 

That’s when we started the Wishing Tree. The premise is simple: write down your Christmas wish to hang on the tree. The rules are as follows: it can’t be for a toy and it can’t be for yourself.

And then something incredible happened.

Without overthinking or micromanaging their little minds, wishes started pouring out of their fingertips.

Notes from children younger than seven wishing away fear and poverty and divorce.

And for their best friends to have all they ever wanted…

By the time our holiday party was over the tree was covered with things I didn’t know my kids or their friends even thought about. Turns out, that thoughtfulness I desperately wanted them to have was in there all along. They just needed someone to adjust their focus.

This week we kicked off our first of many make-a-wish get togethers. Our Christmas trees are beginning to look as full as my heart. And if any of us needs to readjust our holiday perspective we don’t look under the tree. What we need is right in front of us.

Want to host a Wishing Tree party? It’s easy, I promise. You will need:

1. Gift tags: I found mine on Etsy. You could also use index cards with a hole punch.

2. String: I grabbed twine from Target. You could get colorful and use gift-wrapping string.

3. Colored pencils or pens. My kids still write big letters so a thinner writing utensil works best.

Our wish for YOU is to have a very Merry Christmas with the ones you love.

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