Last fall, Special K expressed a desire to "feed the poor" and that is why we began our family service tradition during Advent. I made a list of 40 nitty gritty chores that needed to be done around the house and assigned a monetary value to each chore. The children chose a chore each day of Advent and worked together to accomplish the job. We then took our Christmas crib and placed it in plain view. For each chore the children were each given one piece of straw to place in the crib, making a soft bed welcoming the Christ Child on Christmas. Each piece of straw represented one dollar that had been earned. During Christmas week we counted up the pieces of straw and that was the dollar amount the children had to spend on gifts for Food for the Poor. One of the rules we implemented was they had to do the chore together without complaining or arguing. If they argued or complained they would lose the straw for that chore. I only had to resort to this one time. The offending children were so ashamed of losing their straw they made up their minds to work extra hard the rest of Advent. Last year the children earned enough money to buy a goat, some chickens, and a bag of rice. They were so proud of what they had accomplished and their hard work went to a very worthy cause.
*Update: I thought I'd post the jobs the children are doing for the service project to serve as ideas for you all. Yesterday they cleaned, vacuumed, and washed the inside of our 12 passenger van. Today they are going to clean the yard. They need to gather the rest of the cobwebs from All Hallows Eve, clear toys and tools off the deck, sweep the porch, and gather trash and toys from the yard.