How the Slade Family Celebrates Christmas
Until 2011, our family had never even sent Christmas cards. I loved receiving them from friends and family, and putting them up on my walls, but just had never gotten around to it myself. When I suggested it to my husband, he said the words that would fundamentally change the way our family does Christmas: “Maybe we should make a Christmas video instead.”
We decided to go for it, and to try and use the video to earn money for a charity as well. We really wanted to find a way to help our kids focus on other people during Christmas. This has always been one of our goals, teaching our kids to be kind and help others, but usually on a smaller scale.
We came up with a fun idea for our video: to film an underwater Christmas scene in our neighbor’s pool. We actually had to shoot it twice, because it was so hard to see what we were filming under water, but we had so much fun.
Then we started researching. We found the perfect fit for our underwater theme—Charity: Water (charitywater.org), an organization that funds water projects to bring clean water to communities throughout the world. We just fell in love with the organization.
To our surprise, that first video went viral, and we earned a modest $145 for Charity: Water. So it became a family tradition. Since that first year, we’ve made Christmas videos each year, always donating to Charity: Water. We love coming up with crazy ideas for the videos, and we have so much fun filming them.
The Tiny House
In 2015, we decided to do something different. We felt inspired to build a tiny house and give it away to a family who needed it, because everyone should have a home for the holidays. We started building the house in September, all of us learning as we went. The kids helped the whole way through, from sanding wood to drilling screws to painting. Every spare minute, we’d be out working on the house. It really brought us together as a family for our common goal. It was hard work!
In November, we record a video of the partially finished house, inviting people to nominate families who needed a home for the holidays. We also asked for a $20 donation to Charity: Water with each submission. We got over 150 submissions, and then had our family and friends help us read through them and decided who we should pick.
As soon as I read the submission for Lindsay Larson, I knew she was the one we built our house for. She had been through so much, yet still had a positive attitude.
On December 20, the whole family piled into a truck, towing the house, and we drove it all the way from Arizona to Florida to deliver it to Lindsay. It was a long trek, but if you ask any of our kids, the drive was one of the best parts, despite a couple of flat tires.
It’s impossible to put into words how it felt to actually deliver the house to Lindsay. Lindsay and her daughter are still living in the house, and we keep in touch. The kids still say this was our best Christmas ever, despite the chaos of traveling and flying home the day before Christmas.
A Well in India
In 2016, we were able to give away two cars, in addition to raising money for Charity: Water. But for 2017, we really wanted to focus on Charity: Water and raise enough money to get an entire well built for a community, instead of doing a big giveaway. And we reached our goal! We raised $10,670 and built an entire well for a community in India.
Slade Family Christmas Card 2018
This year, we decided to focus once again on fundraising for Charity: Water. We’d love to someday take our kids to actually see one of the wells we’ve been able to finance through these Christmas videos. Our hope is that even after they leave home, our kids will be filled with a spirit of giving.
(You can view all eight of the Slade family Christmas videos, plus some behind the scenes videos, on their YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/edalshacim/videos. Trust me, you want to watch them.)
About the Author
Whitney Slade and her husband Micah have been married for 18 awesome years. They have four incredible kids: Rhett 16, Charlie 14, Kael 13, and Taj 10. Whitney loves being a wife and a mom—it’s what brings her the most joy in life!