As my 2.5-year-old daughter (DD) gets older, it’s really fun to watch her tear through wrapping paper when opening holiday gifts. Doesn’t matter what’s inside, really—could be a pony or a dog biscuit—she’d receive it with the same amount of shrieking and shredding.
We celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas in our family, so there are LOTS of opportunities for gifting . . . and spending :S This year, we need to keep things simple for the holidays, since Mom (me) has decided on a career change and our budget is pretty tight. I’m also keenly aware that my daughter is barely tolerant of her younger 10-month-old brother (DS), and she also thinks that gifts come to her, rather than the other way around.
I’m hoping that we can use gift giving as a teachable experience this year, to initiate DD into the warm-fuzzy-feeling club, and to make sure we’re not raising a complete gift hog.
Here are some fun(ny) ideas to save money and encourage a giving spirit with kids over the holidays:
- Give something of your own: We'll have DD pick a stuffed toy from her mountainous hoard to give to her brother, encouraging her to think of what he might like, rather than what stuffed animal she doesn’t care enough about to keep. (Sorry, Scary Naked Doll, that probably means you’re not going anywhere.)
- Give something you make: Whether we start making cookies together or colour some paper ornaments, I plan to use DD’s 2.5-minute attention span to create something for our family members this holiday. It may not be much, and you may find a crayon nub instead of a chocolate chip in your cookie, but it comes from the heart.
- Give of yourself, Option A: If the first two ideas fall through (not saying they will, just if . . .) then there’s always the fail-safe hug-and-kiss. Not promising anything, but we’ll try to make sure DD doesn’t have a cold when giving out this gift. A cute alternative would be to have DD blow kisses into a jar and then kiss a label with lipstick to mark it as a “Jar of kisses.” Crafty, right?
- Give of yourself, Option B: Another take on giving of yourself this holiday is doing something nice for someone. For us, it’s just a matter of picking something that DD will find do-able, like singing a song for a family member or a friend. It doesn’t matter if the song is “Old MacDonald,” rather than “Silent Night,” it’s about the look on the recipient’s face when DD shouts, “ . . . and a NAY NAY HEEEYAH.” Priceless.
- Give your pennies: Through the year, DD earns pennies when she makes good choices—when she pees in the potty and not on the floor, when she eats her food rather than throwing it on the ground, and when she plays nicely rather than pitching a fit if DS touches one of “her” toys (the playroom in its entirety falls into this jurisdiction). This year, we’ll attempt to pry some of DD’s hard earned pennies from her little fist to give as a donation to a charitable organization in our local community. Hopefully, she’ll learn that no matter how big or small, a donation is a gift that pays forward.
If you were able to weed out a helpful nugget or two from these tips, please share this with your friends on Facebook and Twitter or anywhere else that you're social.
I’d also love to hear about how you encourage a giving spirit with your kids—either during the holidays or throughout the year. Send me a comment or message!