Okay, I feel like I should open by saying that I either misread or misunderstood what The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie was about, because I thought it was nonsecular. Still, it’s a really pretty book, so I’m writing this review for my readers who do follow the Christian beliefs, especially regarding Christmas. If you’re looking for a way to encourage your children to get into the spirit of the holiday and give back to others, The Sparkle Box is definitely for you. For those who prefer non-secular stories, the overall meaning behind the story is still one that everyone can benefit from, just take out the religious references.

The Sparkle Box Story

The Sparkle Box begins much the way that most Christmas stories do, with a child who is so excited thinking about what he wants for Christmas that he forgets about the true meaning of the holiday- in this case, Jesus’ birthday. Throughout the story, Sam learns about helping others in need, again much the same way other stories of this nature go. The main difference, though, is in the delivery of the message. Children learn about giving presents to Jesus by putting good deeds in the Sparkle Box, a shiny box that they can put under their tree. In this way, the book becomes more than just a story: it becomes a family tradition. The illustrations, created by Christine Kornacki, are absolutely beautiful. Full of vibrant color and life.

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A Non-Secular Viewpoint
For me, removing the religious message of the book still left me with a great story about how helping others in need is one of the best ways to spread Christmas cheer. The included pop-up Sparkle Box can still hold a record of our good deeds, it is just a gift to the universe instead.

Ideas for Filling Your Sparkle Box

Aside from the obvious tasks like donating money or time to worthy causes, there are many great ways our children can help others and fill up their Sparkle Box, including:

  • Sending cards with holiday wishes to the troops overseas.
  • Bringing cookies to a housebound neighbor.
  • Visiting a nursing home and spreading holiday cheer.
  • Shoveling a neighbor’s driveway.
  • Donating a new, unopened toy to a toy drive.
  • Donating gently used coats to a shelter for children who don’t have winter essentials.
  • Just about any other good deed that helps others.

Regardless of which religion you believe in (or don’t believe in, for that matter), helping others throughout the year definitely helps make the world a better place for everyone. What would you put in your Sparkle Box?