Give

A story so sweet I had to share…

This morning my husband was heading out to work, and put a bag of unwrapped presents (meant for a charity that serves underprivileged children) by the front door. Plumblossom, our always-curious almost-2-year-old, made a beeline for the bag.

“No,” my husband said. “Those gifts are for other kids—kids who don’t have any toys to play with.” I sensed he was bracing for a toddler-style protest.

Instead, Plumblossom took off for her room without a word. She returned a few minutes later, and dropped an armful of toys and an empty bag of seaweed salad at my husband’s feet. Puzzled, he asked her, “What’s this for?”

“Gift bag,” she said, pointing to the seaweed salad (that’s her favorite food, and she’d made off with the packaging the last time we had it—I guess it was the only “bag” she could find). She then pointed to her toys, and the bag at the door, and said, “Give gifts to other kids.”

(Proud mama that I am, I couldn’t help tearing up…)

If only we could all exhibit a child’s sense of generosity this holiday season! To spring into action the moment we hear of someone in need. To give freely of our resources, no matter how limited they may be. To give not because of guilt, or obligation, or tax breaks, but just because.

To know we have enough, and be willing to share that abundance–beautifully and spontaneously–with those who don’t.

Warm wishes to you and yours for a serene and joyful holiday, and I’ll see you (more often) next year!

{If you’d like to learn more about minimalist living, please consider reading my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

40 comments to Give

  • Tiff

    Such a wonderful moment and welcome back to blogging!

  • Dani

    Beautiful. Thank you for posting this! I have an almost-8 year old daughter, and have experienced many of those proud moments now, wrt giving and being generous. Kids know where it’s at.

  • HokieKate

    Oh, that’s lovely. It’s hard to believe she’s nearly two already! It seems like yesterday you were announcing your sabbatical. My girls are 2 1/2 and two months, so this has inspired me to get them more involved with giving this holiday season.

  • What a lovely story and a beautiful reminder of what this season is all about! Good to hear from you again Miss Minimalist and a very Happy Holiday Season to you and your family! ~ Paige

  • Kathleen

    Beautiful! Happy holidays to you and your family! Look forward to your return next year.

  • Rose

    Were the items for charity new, or recycled/upcycled? I hope MM hasn’t given into consumerism and bought new, however good the cause! ;-)

    Seriously, though – give at Christmas because you WANT to, not because you feel you HAVE to.

  • That story was a gift in itself…thank you for sharing it with us!

  • Angie Martin Hall

    This warmed my heart! OMG! As I think about the post you just shared, tears are dripping on my keyboard. What a sweet girl you have! What wonderful lessons your are teaching her. Beautiful! Thank you for reminding us of how special giving really is.

  • Great story! Great reminder to always give and share that message :)

    AJ | TheAJMinute | Ananya Foundation

  • thanks for blogging this – made my afternoon to hear about your generous, sweet girl.
    happy holidays!

  • Sarah

    I love this! Children are so beautiful, and teaching them generosity from the beginning is such a priceless gift. Thanks for sharing this story!

  • What a beautiful story! Your daughter is extremely precious and a wonderful teacher to us all!

  • Awww how sweet that is so great of your daughter to do that. I really wish my four year old would understand that now but, I hope that she will very soon. I had to sneak out her toys and some books out of the house and frankly she has not missed what I took out to this day.

    • mrs Brady Old Lady

      Rebecca – my mum used to throw my things away too and I never did have the courage to tell her – the items were sorely missed! I even remember hiding a pair of my favourite boots so she couldn’t throw them away…
      My brother is much better with this, he explains to his kids that their old toys can be given to children who don’t have any toys at all, and what would they be willing to part with?
      Don’t underestimate your children.

      • Laylani

        Agree totally, mrs Brady Old Lady! As a child, my parents were that poor that we had virtually nothing, anyhow. As such, I knew every single item of the very few things I did own!

  • Lola

    Plumblossom sure seems to have a huge understanding of vocabulary for a 2yo. Just saying…

    • miss minimalist

      LOL, I know, everyone who meets her comments on her vocabulary and speaking ability. She was an early talker–simple sentences at 18 months, and can now carry on a conversation pretty well. I assumed that was normal for her age, until we started going to playgroups and classes with other toddlers. Language is just her thing; she’s been fascinated with books, and words, and the alphabet since infancy. :)

  • Alexandra

    Wonderfully put! Welcome back, and happy holidays.

  • Marie

    You can call me cynical – and I am sure a lot of you will! – but I really don’t buy into this story, not with a child who is even’t yet 2. Sorry! I’m with Lola on this one!

  • Susan

    Adorable! And one of my sons was hyperverbal too, (the other one wouldn’t talk at all!), so I don’t doubt it for a minute. Kids that age are immitative, and she obviously has good role models!

  • She has such a sweet, generous heart. It will serve her well in life and love. Bless this precious child!

  • e

    First and foremost, welcome back. I can assure you that you have been sorely missed.
    I am torn by this post.
    Beautiful story. Wonderful sentiment.
    And then I read the comments. It makes me very sad that some people seem to peruse the internet with the intent to leave nasty, snarky, wicked comments – missing the point entirely. Further, I am saddened that you are on the receiving end of that verbal assault… especially as this was a beautiful story about your child. For that, I am sorry.
    Nevertheless, Plumblossom gives us all a good reminder for this holiday season, and that it IS truly better to give than receive.
    Thank you for this post, have a wonderful holiday season. Take care.

  • Mary

    I am always impressed by the generosity of young people! I work with kids, so I get to see it on a regular basis.

    Thanks for the post!

  • FRANCINE!!!!!!!! (Runs up and gives you a big hug).

    With so many people reconsidering blogging, or taking breaks, it’s wonderful to see a familiar face returning.

    What a lovely story, about Plumblossom. Kids learn what they live, and she’s no exception. I can’t wait to read your stories about simplicity AND parenting.

  • What a sweetie! I second Bethany’s comment on hearing more about your simplicity AND parenting tales! I may not be a mommy, but I’m an auntie. Regardless, I like your take on minimalism and have missed your posts. So I’ll take whatever you’re willing to give. :) Happy Holidays!

  • Jeannine

    The act of sharing with others is.a wonderful thing, not only for the holiday season, but all through the year. Plumblossom has a big heart for such a little girl!

  • Jo

    Well I’m not a proud mama of hers so why am I tearing up too? hahahahahaha What a wonderful story! She’s way better than I!
    As for children’s language ability, in my country (Korea) some 2 year olds study Chinese letters at their child care (and they are by no means genius or anything). So don’t underestimate children’s generosity AND don’t underestimate some children’s language ability!

  • Diane

    “If only we could all exhibit a child’s sense of generosity this holiday season! To spring into action the moment we hear of someone in need. To give freely of our resources, no matter how limited they may be. To give not because of guilt, or obligation, or tax breaks, but just because.”

    It’s too bad people only think of this at Christmas time; I do this year round.

  • Lizzy W

    As children, my sister and I were made to give away to the local hospital one current toy each at Christmas and birthdays, as we would be receiving new items. I am of the strong belief that not only did this make us into both very generous and giving people, but it also nurtured my inherent minimalist tendencies. To this day, my “mantra du jour” is that no new item enters my home unless an existing item leaves it… permanently! Your views on minimalism, consumerism and giving, Francine, appear to have permated Plumblossom organically and her development will be all the more exquisite, tantalising and sublime for this ‘learning by osmosis’. Season’s greetings to everyone, especially those less fortunate than us.

  • Lizzy W

    Francine: I have a small teddy bear (4″ high) which I shall finish knitting this weekend. I have made them for my daughter and my niece and I would like to gift the final one to darling Plumbossom for her sweet generosity in giving away to other children less fortunate than her. Would that be possible?

    • miss minimalist

      Thank you, Lizzy, for such a lovely and generous offer! With her birthday and Christmas so close together (and being the first grandchild on both sides of the family), Plumblossom is showered with more than she needs. Alternatively, would you consider donating it to a local children’s hospital or shelter? (One of our favorite charities is Project Night Night.) Happy Holidays!

  • Lizzy W

    Hi, Francine! Thank you for the lovely, personal reply! That has made my day! :) I am more than happy to donate the teddy to our local children’s hospital on behalf of Plumblossom. In fact, I will even make a little t-shirt to go with the teddy and embroider the name ‘Plumblossom’ on it. I am sure that real, sweet little Plumblossom would approve of a teddy being named after her! :) Merry CHristmas to you and your family, Francine! I love reading your site, and have only just started posting after ‘lurking’ for too long! xx

  • miss minimalist

    Thanks to everyone for your wonderful comments–it’s such a pleasure to connect with you all again!

  • Lizzy W

    My family and I will be away over the Christmas period, so I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a stress-free Christmas, with no unwanted gifts to clutter up the home! :) xx

    • Jeannine

      Lizzy I had to chuckle at your post. I was hoping to have a stress-free holiday with no clutter and I did. We received Kindle books and gift cards and when we packed away the holiday decorations, we donated them to a facility who heartedly welcomed them. We even promised to come out next holiday season and do all the decorating for them. It was so freeing. I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday season!

  • So sweet. A reflection of all your intentional parenting, for sure. It is a blessing to hear from you!

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