It is the season for spending. American Thanksgiving is only is only a week away. Black Friday in the U.S. is the biggest and busiest Christmas shopping day of the year. Retailers are going to entice you to spend more than you had planned. Some of them even plan on staying open on Thanksgiving! It is sad but many families will go into debt this year by over spending. I find it depressing that exchanging gifts has become the focal point of Christmas.
For me, the magic of Christmas is spending time with family and friends. It is a time to be thankful for what we have and help those who are less fortunate. Don’t get me wrong, I love to watch children opening presents on Christmas morning, getting down on the floor and playing with them. But let’s put some focus on the act of giving and not receiving.
Some Gift Ideas for Kids to Give
- Letter writing – If they are old enough to write a letter to Santa then get them to write a letter to grandma & grandpa telling them why they love them so much. (Expect some tears of joy)
- Homemade gifts- there are many cheap crafts ideas available for kids of all ages that can be make into gifts. If you like to bake, get your kids to help make cookies to give as presents.
- Donate toys– go through their toy box and encourage them to give away a toy to your local charity.
- IOU coupons – to make dinner, take out the garbage, clean the house, wash the car….etc
- Use part of their allowance– take your children to the grocery store to buy a small food item to give to your local food bank or buy a new toy to donate to charity
- Donate Time – get your children to donate time to a charity like helping out at your local food bank, better yet, go together
- Be a role model– show them how you give to those who are less fortunate
- Christmas movies – watch them as a family to reinforce the concept of giving
There are many Christmas movies that are ideal to reinforce the concept of giving. My two favorites for young children are Dr. Seuss “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “the Muppet Christmas Carol”! Make sure that you watch as a family and make it an annual tradition.
- Homemade gifts are not only a great way to save money but could be appreciated much more than a store bought gift.
- IOU coupons for; a home cook meal, a Sunday afternoon to watch a sporting event on T.V., instead of a gift card for the movies, go with them, time spent with family & friends is a great gift, use your imagination.
- Donate to Charity, pick the person’s favourite charity, not only does it help the less fortunate but you get a tax deduction.
- Secret Santa, for large families, reduce the number of gifts, put family names in a hat and pick one to buy a Christmas gift.
- Steal a gift, everyone buys or makes a gift, set a dollar limit, a number is put into a hat for each family member, each person draws a number out of a hat and #1 picks a gift, #2 can steal #1’s gift or pick another one, the stealing is over when the last number picks the last gift. Great fun for young & old.
Some of my fondest Christmas memories was playing rummoli on Christmas Eve and watching “It is a Wonderful Life” and “Scrooge” with my teenage daughter. (Scrooge with Alastair Sim 1951 is our favourite)
If your children don’t learn the joy of giving when they are young, don’t expect them to be generous as adults.