Have you ever wanted a toy, a game, or a piece of sports equipment so much that you asked for it over and over again, and even imagined how happy you would be as you played with it? If you finally got what you wanted, was it everything you expected? Were you disappointed? Did you tire of playing with it? Did it break or wear out from use? Sometimes we think that having things will make us happy, but lasting happiness does not come from things.
Happiness often comes from doing something kind or thoughtful for someone else. Have you ever planned a special surprise for a friend or family member? Wasn’t it fun! Have you ever worked hard to give someone a gift that you knew she would like? Wasn’t it exciting! Have you ever helped a younger child do something that he couldn’t do by himself? Or spent time with someone who needed your love and attention? The happy feelings that come when we love and serve others can stay with us for a long, long time.
The thirteenth article of faith helps us remember that “We believe in … doing good to all men.” When we do good to others, we receive great happiness.
Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (see Acts 20:35). You could say that it will make you happier to give than to receive.
Mount or trace the gift box pattern on a heavier sheet of paper. Decorate or color the pattern, then cut it out along the solid lines. Punch out the two holes. Fold the sides and the tabs along the dotted lines. Glue the top and bottom tabs together.
Think of a family member or friend you would like to surprise with a special gift of time and love. Write down what you will do for that person on one of the gift slips. Slide the slip through one of the side openings in the gift box. Thread a piece of string through the holes at the top, and tie the ends together. Now your gift box is ready to hang on the tree or give away. You may use this gift box as a pattern and cut out many others from heavy gift wrapping or wallpaper.
Talk to the children about giving gifts of time, love, and service. Pass out paper plates and let each child draw his own face on the front of the plate. On the back of each paper plate glue a small note with these words: This year I give the gift of self—my smile, my love, my help. Have the children wrap the plates as Christmas gifts.
Prepare a list of the gifts Heavenly Father and Jesus have given us and write each gift on a separate slip of paper. Place each slip of paper in a box, then wrap the boxes as presents. Number each box, then write on it a clue to help the children discover the gift mentioned inside. Place the boxes all around the room. Give each child a paper and a pencil. Have the children look at the boxes and the clues and write down what they think is in each box. After they are seated again, open each box and discuss the gifts they have been given by Heavenly Father and the kinds of gifts they can give in return.
Have a variety of small items familiar to young children hidden in a paper bag. As you pull items out of the bag, talk about gifts of love and kindness the children could perform in their homes using the items. For example, a toy—you can pick up your toys; a picture book—you can help a younger brother or sister look at a picture book; a picture of a smiling child—you can be cheerful and happy.