Last week I was at a party where I overhead some kids talking about the presents they either already got or are getting.
“How many presents do you get?”
“I think I’m going to get more this year than last year!”
“What’s the biggest gift card you’ve ever gotten?”
“Can I come over if you get the $500 Hover Board??”
I walked away thinking of another question I’d like to ask them:
“Which presents do you really appreciate, and which ones do you just have?”
I know it’s hard dealing with kids this time of year. After all, it was shortly after Halloween that the twinkling lights went up and the Rockettes came to town. Suddenly, by the second week in November, it was “beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” And what happens is that the adults want to shop early, and the kids just want.
In fact, I’ll bet if we played WORD association with the kids – you know, where I say a word and they respond – it would go something like this:
Christmas … presents!
Winter holidays … presents!
Happy … presents!
Presents … More presents!
Here is a reminder for parents:
MORE is not always better.
In this ‘gift-giving’ season, I’ve got a few alternative ideas for you.
What If… instead of buying a tangible gift this year, how about giving that which is the most precious – your TIME. Give a FULL DAY dedicated to your child doing whatever he/she wants (excluding buying presents!) Make it a coupon to be redeemed at an agreed time.
What If… you take a portion of the money you normally spend on gifts and decide – as a family – to make a donation or volunteer for a charity. Early Thursday evenings are often the Family Volunteer Time. Alternately, you can go together down to the charity’s headquarters and present the donation in person.
What If … you and the kids bake some goodies and arrange them on a plate. Then ask a child to donate one of his/her small gift cards ($5 Target? Walmart? All the kids seem to have a lot of them) to add to the plate and present it to someone who would really appreciate the surprise and the attention.
What If… ________________. I leave this one blank because I’m sure you have many of your own good ideas about how to celebrate the season without going shopping.
Consider your What Ifs… and back off a bit on buying so many presents. Why not try giving someone the gift of your undivided attention, or volunteering your services to help the needy, or simply surprising someone who would really appreciate it. See how it makes you feel, and let me know.