Gifts and Giving
Our children learn life-long lessons from how we approach
gift giving. Presents are a holiday
tradition for many families, but what is exchanged in those festively wrapped
packages? When we put something of
ourselves into the giving or are truly thoughtful of the recipient, something
more passes between giver and receiver, something that can warm the hearts of
Making things for family, friends, neighbors, and even
strangers, is a way to be active and creative in our gift giving. Gifts from the kitchen: cookies, holiday breads, nuts, teas, as well
as home canned goods; are gifts that children of any age can help make. Simple crafts are also ways for children to
give something of themselves to others.
Sometimes the most heartfelt gift is something that cannot
be wrapped up at all. How about doing
yard work for your grandmother? How
about teaching a friend to knit or sew?
How about playing music at the senior center? If your children are older, engage them in
finding the right gift by asking, "What shall we do for our neighbors this
These kinds of activities can add an invisible, but
meaningful dimension to the exchanging of gifts; and can help balance the
strong tide of commercialism in our culture at holiday time.
I did many of these things with my own children when they
were young. Now grown, they share with
me their own perspective on giving.
"Mom," they tell me, "giving needs to feel free." It's not about lists or limits, but about
the spontaneity of the heart. I agree.