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Some of my fondest memories as a child were from the Christmas season. Christmas morning was full of anticipation, excitement and thrill as we woke up to see what Santa had shoved down the chimney.
We only had one rule: Mom and Dad told us we couldn’t wake up before 7 a.m. That was torture! My sister, brother and I would all get into one bed and anxiously wait until the clock finally hit 7. Then we would sprint down to Mom and Dad’s room, pull them out of bed, and picket to start opening gifts!
One of my favorite memories was from Christmas 2001. Dad kept telling us, “You all are going to love this Christmas!” That morning, we opened all of our gifts—grateful of course—but they weren’t anything spectacular. We asked why Dad kept mentioning how great this particular Christmas was going to be. Then, he left the room and brought back a medium-sized box.
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He put the box down in front of us, and all of a sudden it started moving! Being the brave Ramsey child that I was, I blindly reached into the pit of packing peanuts and pulled out a puppy! We screamed and yelled, and we truly couldn’t believe our eyes. It was a little pug puppy! We named her Angel because it was a miracle mom and dad let us have a puppy.
Believe it or not, receiving that puppy wasn’t my best Christmas experience. The times that really stand out are the ones where my family focused on helping others have a great Christmas. For example, one year we bought gifts for three kids whose mom was single and couldn’t afford to get them anything. I will never forget going shopping and delivering the gifts to her door. I bought a Barbie that I personally wanted, but Mom walked me through the process of giving. She taught me how important it is to pass blessings on to others when God has blessed you.
Related: Smart Money Smart Kids will help you teach your kids how to have gratitude and give generously.
We went up to their door about a week before Christmas, and the mom didn’t know what we were doing. When Dad explained that we wanted to bless them that Christmas, she fell to her knees crying. The little kids saw all the gifts, and their mouths dropped to the floor. Dad told them to have a very merry Christmas, and we walked off their front porch and got into the car.
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It was a short encounter, but it’s a memory that will always stay with me. I have been blessed to be a part of many amazing stories like that as a kid. Understanding the gift of giving as a child has completely shaped the person I am today—all thanks to my parents’ passion for giving.
Financial Peace Junior doesn't just give you the tools to teach your kids to win with money—it shows you how. This kit is packed with tools, resources and step-by-step instructions for parents to make learning about money throughout a child's life fun!
Rachel Cruze is a seasoned communicator and #1 best-selling author, helping Americans learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. Her best-selling book, Love Your Life, Not Theirs, released in October. You can follow Rachel on Twitter at @RachelCruze, online at rachelcruze.com, or at facebook.com/rachelramseycruze.