GILBERT, Ariz. — From underwater music videos to building a home, what started out as a fun family traditions six years ago has turned into an opportunity for Micah and Whitney Slade to teach their children to center their Christmas season around Christ and serving others.
The Slade family first created a video Christmas card in 2011, posted it on YouTube and received more than 92,000 views. Each year since, the family of six has come up with different themed Christmas videos. But for the past two years, the Slade family has chosen to not only create an entertaining video, but to accomplish a large service task for someone in need.
"We just wanted to step it into a new direction where if we can do these things we can actually make a difference," Micah Slade said. "Our world and life is bigger than just getting Christmas presents from Santa Claus. We really want our kids to realize it’s important to look outward and to help others and be builders. And it’s OK to enjoy the Christmas season, and it’s fun, but the true meaning and true purpose that we want to instill in our kids is it’s about doing it for other people."
Last year, the Slade family held a contest to find someone in need of a new home. Working from August until December, the Slades built a tiny home (often less than 400 square feet) and delivered it cross-country to a single mother in Florida.
This year, the Slades have chosen to give the gift of transportation by giving a car to someone in need. On Dec. 6, the Slades released this year's Christmas video announcing the giveaway of a 2016 Nissan Versa. Submissions must include an essay describing the need for the car, and a $20 donation to Charity: Water. Submissions are due by Dec. 17.
"Not too long ago in our personal lives we were stuck with one vehicle," Slade said. "It was actually a truck and we have six people in our family and we had to cram in for a good year and a half or two years when we had no money and it was the biggest struggle. ... We’ve been there when transportation is everything sometimes."
Giving a car is something Slade felt inspired to do. The family previously made a deal with a dealership, but when those plans fell through Slade took a leap of faith and purchased the car on his own. Throughout the next week, several friends contacted Slade with donations to help with the cost of the car, enough that the car was almost completely paid for.
"We definitely couldn’t do it without the help of others," Slade said. "The whole thing is just a really cool thing to be apart of."
Slade will send each submission to a committee compiled of those who donated and gave support. Each committee member will rank the submissions, and the submission with the most votes will receive the car.
Although the project takes a lot of time and effort, often leaving little time for holiday shopping and other Christmas traditions, Slade is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of teaching his children the importance of Christlike service.
"I’m assuming that that’s really the life of the Savior. I’m sure it was difficult almost every day to do what he did," Slade said. "Really, the true meaning of Christmas is about Jesus. He gave his whole life; everything. This is commemorating his birth and his life and what’s a better way to commemorate his life than to give in some way as he did to others, because when you give to others you’re giving to him."
Watch the video below for a behind the scenes look at how the Slades created this year's Christmas video.