The holidays are upon us and the season of giving can sometimes turn into the season of “gimmies” for our kids. As much as we try to explain to them that the holidays are not only about receiving toys upon toys, it can be hard to manage their expectations when they get bombarded by all the tempting commercials, toy catalogs, and store displays.
So, how can we manage these gift expectations during the holidays? We want to be able to enjoy the festivities without being in constant battle mode against the “entitlement” that can creep up right about now …
I am no stranger to this conflict. With my two boys and the families I work with, this is a consistent theme this time of year. There are five key gift-giving-ideas that I have found to be especially helpful for families (including my own!) to bring in mindfulness and gratitude, and rein in a little bit of the “gimmes”.
1. Get a gift, give a gift. As one comes in, one goes out. Have your kids go through their toys and find one to donate for every gift that they receive.
2. Make a gift list. Have your kids make a wish-list of everything that they are asking for this holiday season. They’re absolutely inundated with advertisements and commercials, but when they take the time to write down what they want on paper, the items might not look quite as tempting anymore. And by having your child prioritize their wish-list, you’ll know that what you’re spending your money on is what they really want the most.
3. The gift of time. Time is the most precious gift you can give your kids. And kids, whether they show it or not, want your time more than anything else. So, tuning into what your kids really love, whether it’s a day of ice skating, a sporting event, a concert, movie tickets, whatever that might look like for your family, take the time, unplug and give them that memory.
4. Think charity. This is the perfect time to teach your child that giving is often the most fulfilling gift of all. It’s wonderful to get your children involved in this process at a young age and help them explore different causes or charities that they might feel passionate about. Whether you find local charities like Operation Santa or The Children’s House near your area, or you look to an online organization like Global Giving where your children can donate a gift card to a charity that matters to them, it’s all about finding that connection and giving back.
5. Create a gratitude poster. Families look at gratitude in different ways, but I think it’s important to sit down and go through everything that’s celebrated during the holidays – what is special to you and your family in addition to the gifts. Getting together and doing an activity – whether simply putting it down on paper, making a collage and decorating it or hanging up a family gratitude poster as a backdrop – it’s such a great reminder throughout the season to be grateful for the important things (besides the presents).
As with anything involving our children, leading by example is the best way to teach them. So, don’t forget to do your own giving this year and download your Holiday Gift Guide for everyone to see! I hope this gift-guide helps your family choose some gifts that are fun and fulfilling while avoiding a case of the gimmies!
My best to you!