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Families are a Gift

Celebrating the gift of those we live with

by The Revd Guy Donegan-Cross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To celebrate the gift of those we live with.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need seven cards with mimes written on them: washing-up, cooking, washing clothes, tidying, cleaning the floor, making the bed, driving.


  1. Pick seven children who are willing to do a mime. Give each of them one of the cards. In turn they do their mime while the rest of the assembly guesses what they are doing. Give each child a round of applause when their mime has been guessed. Then ask the performers to sit down.

  2. Read out each mime again. Then point out that each of these things is done for us by our families in some way or another. Our families are gifts to us in the way that they look after us in many practical ways.

  3. Tell the following story, told by a woman called Marjorie who lived with her husband and six-year-old son Pete early last century, during a time that has become known as the Great Depression. It was a time when very few families had much money. Marjorie's family managed to scrape their way through, but as Christmas approached one year Marjorie and her husband were disappointed that they would not be able to buy any presents. A week before Christmas they explained to their son that there would be no shop-bought presents this Christmas. 'But I'll tell you what we can do,' said Pete's father, 'we can make pictures of the presents we'd like to give to each other.'

    They were very busy that week as they set to work. Christmas Day arrived and the family woke to find their skimpy little tree made magnificent by the picture presents they had adorned it with. There was luxury beyond imagination in those pictures: a black Rolls Royce and big red boat for Dad, a diamond bracelet and fur coat for mum, a camping tent and a garden with a swimming pool for Pete.

    Then Pete pulled out his present, a crayon drawing of a man, a woman and a child with their arms around each other laughing. Under the picture was just one word: 'US'.

    Years later Marjorie wrote that it was the richest, most satisfying Christmas they ever had.

  4. Tell the children that the Bible says that children are 'a gift from God'. Say that just as the people you live with give you many gifts in what they do for you, so you are a gift to them, a present from God.

Time for reflection

Ask the children to think about the people they live with and to thank God for them quietly. Ask them to think about one way in which they could be a gift to their family when they get home that afternoon.

Dear God,
Thank you that you are a parent to us and to the whole world.
Thank you for the gift of our families.
Help us to be a gift to those we live with.


'The family of man' (Come and Praise, 69)

Publication date: April 2003   (Vol.5 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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