Ribbons, holiday paper, Scotch tape, and cards! How much should we spend? What gift can I give? The emphasis on material things during the holiday season can lead to frustration and concern. But you can use this special season to help your children learn another lesson. There are gifts that don’t cost a cent, that don’t need to be wrapped and that can’t be found under any tree. Talk with your children about these gifts and how they can give them.
Kids can give the gift of helping:
- They can help set the holiday table. Even the youngest children can manage napkins and silverware.
- They can help with cleaning around the house. Give them specific assignments that they can finish, so they experience success as well as the satisfaction that goes with helping.
- They can help decorate the tree. Kids will develop favorites among the bulbs that go on the tree every year. And getting that tinsel on so it doesn’t clump can be a challenge that all kids enjoy.
Kids can give the gift of welcoming:
- They can get up and give big hugs when grandparents arrive. Even if they are engrossed in their favorite movie, getting up and greeting visitors is always appreciated.
- They can be greeters at the door at the annual holiday party. And, an offer to take coats to the closet is another way to give the gift of welcoming.
Kids can give the gift of time:
- They can play with a younger brother or sister for the afternoon. Giving time for play, even though the game may be “baby,” is a great gift.
- They can bake cookies with their mom. Measuring the ingredients, mixing the dough, and putting the dough balls on the baking tin are all activities that parents and kids can do together.
- They can take the dog for a walk.
Kids can give the gift of patience:
- They can wait in line quietly at the grocery store. Often it’s the parents who practice patience, but it’s a wonderful gift kids can give a tired, frazzled mom or dad.
- They can go to the fifth store of the day without complaining. An afternoon of shopping can make anyone cranky and impatient, so the gift of patience is especially appreciated.
Even though you can’t wrap these gifts with paper and ribbons, you can wrap them with kindness and consideration. Ask your children to keep their eyes open. They can see when someone might need some kindness to brighten their day or some consideration to help them with a difficult task. And give your child these gifts. They may be tired and stressed and will learn how special it is to be given help, time, a warm welcome and patience during these trying moments. Sharing these gifts will help make the holidays a special and festive time for all.