giving

Do you know what I’m getting…

I have heard this question a lot recently.

My son keeps asking “Do you know what I’m getting {insert various names} for Christmas?”

I think it is lovely that a six year old is so excited about giving gifts to the people he loves.

Boy in a Snat hat giving a Christmas gift

Seeing children happy to give a gift with love is a beautiful sight

And he is trying to be selfless in the process – some the gifts are perhaps a bit more of what he is interested in than the recipient (like a Lego set for his grandfather!) but he is thinking about what they may like which is a great lesson for him.

At six, my son doesn’t truly comprehend how long it is until Christmas so his perspective is different. Of course, his idea of suitable budgets for presents is pretty limited, too!

In the adult world…

Some people are well into organising their Christmas gifts and others are horrified at the idea of preparing this early (I have a few relatives who will start on about the 20th or 22nd of December!)

But I am enjoying the fact that as I type this, my son and his friend are singing (made up) Christmas songs and playing  time at the emergency centre with my daughter. They are happy and excited even if there are still 43 days to go!

Have you started thinking about what gifts to give people? Have you started getting those gifts?

I had a chance to go shopping without children last week so that’s when I started Christmas shopping. It does feel good to have crossed a few names of the list!

Gifts from kids

Who do your kids specifically give gifts to?

I remember as a kid that we only gave gifts as a family, but I know that my kids give some gifts from them, not the family.

Why gifts from kids?

I like my children to learn that gifts, and Christmas, are about giving and not just receiving. I want them to be generous and learn the pleasure in giving to others.

It’s also important to teach kids gratitude and appreciation. Which can’t happen if they just get gifts and never return the gesture.

So my kids give presents to certain people. And by giving, I mean their name(s) is on the card and they physically hand the gift over.

cousins handing out xmas giftsFor instance, they give presents to their grandparents to show that gift giving goes two ways. Often this is a token gift* or something they have made themselves as the point is the giving.

Who kids give to

Obviously it varies between family situations, but to give you the idea, my kids give gifts to their:

  • grandparents and great-grandmothers
  • scouting leaders
  • family day carers
  • class teachers
  • siblings
  • parents (yes, we get Christmas and birthday gifts from our children)

Have I missed anyone your kids give gifts to? Do your kids enjoy the gift giving as well as getting gifts?

* We usually give something bigger to grandparents as a family, too.

Christmas spirit of giving

I’m not talking about commercialism and gift giving, but the true spirit of giving at Christmas time. I don’t do enough of it myself, and I’m not sure just thinking about it counts for much, but I think Christmas giving is important.

What giving do you do at Christmas time? Do you see it as a burden in a busy time or something that is just worthwhile and a priority?

Here’s some of the things I’ve thought of – can you add to the list?

  • time for poor – serving Xmas lunch at a homeless shelter or helping hand out goods at a charity centre
  • invite lonely people to join a Xmas celebration with you
  • give to charity instead of giving token or joke gifts – a group I was in did this one year as we choose gifts for children and gave the bundle to a charity
  • give charity gifts
  • send cards to those not expecting it – maybe that shop assistant who smiled at you during your toddler’s tantrum, the nosy neighbour or a volunteer in your community (one you don’t deal with yourself)
  • smile and be nice to people in Xmas crowds – not always easy but give it a go!

Simple gifts

Like many people, we’re trying to keep Christmas under control this year, financially speaking. I’d love to say money isn’t important, but we have a limited supply of it so we have to limit our gift giving accordingly. Our choice is to be as creative as we can so we still give gifts to please our loved ones.

Anyway, here’s a couple of our gift ideas in case they help others who are struggling with what to give this year:

  • buy cheap items and let the kids decorate them for grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. For example, cheap photo frames, plant pots, candles and storage jars make unique and special gifts with some time and little money
  • buy a few bits and pieces and put them in a nice bag – it tends to be cheaper than buying the pretty hampers you see in big stores
  • buy some beads and elastic and let the kids make necklaces, etc for the girls in your family (and boys if they would like it!)
  • cut, sand and paint some offcuts of wood – an instant set of building blocks any toddler will appreciate knocking over! Put them in a bucket or bag and you’re done – much more environmentally friendly than plastic blocks, too
  • cut some cardboard into gift cards and fold in half. Get the kids or someone artistic to decorate the cards for multiple occasions and you have a set of cards to give as a gift – remember that people pay $15 or more for a few nice cards to store away

Not only are we saving money, we’re also having fun making things and teaching our kids it is the giving with love that counts, not the price tags. I bet we aren’t the only ones being creative and we’d love to hear other people’s ideas, too – please?

Mummy needs a stocking too…

I’ve been meaning to post this since Christmas!

This year, my kids decided that Mummy needed to have a stocking too, as Santa only brings gifts for kids. So, I gave them some shopping money (they’re 3 & 5 and don’t get pocket money yet), and they took their Oma to Chadstone to buy items for Mummy’s stocking. They made some great choices, include a Christmas angel with my name on it, a headband, a book to read, and some bubble bath.

On Christmas morning, we all had fun opening our stockings together, and the boys were so proud of the stocking they had put together for Mummy.

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