This is an idea along a different vein:
Although this idea comes too late to incorporate this Christmas season, perhaps it is an idea worth sharing for other years or seasons. I know students love to receive gifts, but I find they also delight in being able to give. With this in mind, for a number of years I have deliberately planned a way for students to earn money toward a mission project such as Christmas gift items from the CAM Christmas Gift catalog. Since neatness was something I wanted to focus in on this fall, I began giving students periodic coupons based on neat work. These coupons are redeemable each Friday; each coupon entitles them either to a small tasty treat or money toward “buying” a gift item from the CAM Christmas Gift Catalog. Like always, their enthusiasm for giving both surprises and pleases me. Many times I see them pouring over the CAM catalog carefully planning what they want to “buy”, planning with friends how they will pool their money to have enough, counting how much they have, and gladly bypassing the tasty treat in lieu of the joy of giving. It feels like the true spirit of Christmas.