As Christmas draws near, its accompanying marketing frenzy and the continual “I want” heard from children in stores motivates this letter. Parents, please, if you want to do something really special for your children this year, help them learn about giving instead of getting. Many of today’s kids don’t understand what giving is about. This is a family value which we must take time to teach.
Children who are only on the receiving end of Christmas gifts have no concept of the true meaning of Christmas. In addition, they are completely deprived of the joy that comes from giving something meaningful to another person. We need to stop emphasizing what to give the children, and spend some time teaching them how to give to others.
If you help your children make simple gifts for others, you will give them long lasting feelings of satisfaction and self-esteem that will prove far more gratifying than any toy. The time you spend (a few hours on several weekends) will be well worth it in terms of things money can’t buy…family values, communication and traditions.
Now is the time to start planning gifts your children will make. Have a “Christmas Club” meeting with your kids this weekend to list people for whom they want to make gifts, and plan what to make. Block off a few hours the next few weekends to make the gifts.
Keep homemade gifts simple. Children have limited craft skills, and parents have limited time to gather and set up materials and provide guidance. Don’t wait; start now. The closer it gets to Christmas, the harder it is to have time for this project, which is a family fun thing, not a chore.
Easy gifts that 2-to 5-year-olds can make:
- decorated pencil cans
- painted stone paperweights
- pine cone bird feeders
- tree ornaments
- place mats
- matchbox holders
- decorated pillow cases
- play dough
5-to 7-year-olds can also make:
- decoupage items (the technique of decorating a surface with cutouts and then lacquering them)
- personalized plaques and T-shirts
- original stories or poems
- terrariums (a small enclosure/closed container in which selected living plants and sometimes small animals, such as turtles or lizards) are kept
- more complex Christmas ornaments, crafts and baked goods