As a parent, and now a grandparent, I always look forward to the gift-giving season. It’s fun to find that special something for all the little ones in your life. Although it’s hard to admit, especially when we are enjoying the shopping frenzy, kids today have too much stuff.
Instead of buying kids every toy and gadget that they ask for, there is a way to organize gift giving to make it more meaningful. It just takes a little ingenuity. Here are some suggestions for gift categories for kids. Parents might consider assigning one category to each relative and asking that the child’s gift come from that category.
A GIFT THAT THE CHILD HAS WISHED FOR AND WAITED FOR
This is usually that big ticket, special item, and is most often the responsibility of the parent.
A GIFT THAT IS NEEDED
This might be a replacement for worn out sports equipment, a new backpack, or dance shoes. Perhaps your child would like piano or swimming lessons, but they are straining the family budget. Or it could be hygiene related—a fun new toothbrush, towel and washcloth, body wash, or perfume.
A GIFT OF LITERACY
Choose a special book or set of books for the child and write a message inside. Purchase a magazine or book club subscription that the child can look forward to all year.
A GIFT OF FASHION
For young children, fuzzy new pajamas and slippers are fun. For older kids, those cool boots or that brand of shirt that everyone wants.
A GIFT OF AN EXPERIENCE
Instead of more stuff, give kids a chance to go somewhere–to a play or musical performance, a sports event or a venue like a museum, water park or zoo.
A GIFT TO KEEP
A Christmas ornament, something for a collection, a scrapbook, or even a letter or story about family history make great keepsakes.
A GIFT TO DO TOGETHER
Think of something that the whole family can enjoy together. This could be as simple as a new board game or something a little bigger like a science center membership, or a backyard trampoline.
A GIFT THAT IS SILLY
My extended family exchanges “white elephant” gifts, the crazier the better. It has become one of the most fun activities of our holiday. My kids and grandkids always get a gift from “the Elves”. This is something funny or silly.
A GIFT THAT IS A SURPRISE
Think of something not on the child’s wish list! Maybe you have noticed a talent for drawing in your child. Choose a drawing book and pencils. Perhaps your child likes to help in the kitchen. Give an apron, chef’s hat and cooking utensils.
A GIFT TO MAKE
Craft kits or DIY projects can help keep kids busy during the holiday break.
A GIFT TO SHARE
Help your child learn that giving can be just as fun as receiving. This gift could be a gift card to be used to purchase school supplies for children in the community, a donation in the child’s name to a favorite charity, baking for a neighbor, helping an elderly friend with a chore, or a bag of cat food to take on a volunteer trip to the animal shelter. A favorite in our family is Heifer International. A donation of an animal to a family in a developing country is made in their name. They are excited to see what animal they are giving each year.
Remember, kids don’t need a gift from every category. Thoughtfully choosing gifts for children rather than buying everything on the wish list can make holiday memories that help children develop into emotionally healthy adults.
Here’s wishing you a happy and fulfilling season of holiday giving!