The holidays are officially upon us. Calendars are filling up with school programs and church concerts while our to-do lists are growing by the day. If we are not careful, a wonderful time with family and friends can become a season of stress. Unfortunately, if you are like me, most of that stress is self-inflicted. I over-commit and put too much pressure on myself, not to mention the way that I overthink the gifts I give. The irony in that is I am not a great gift-giver. You would think someone putting so much thought into gifts would be a fabulous gifter, but I tend to miss the mark. For example, buying the “perfect” phone case but for the wrong size phone.
I am improving, though. I mentioned last year that I have gotten more into giving experiences like concert tickets, gift certificates for classes, or movie passes. We have loved this concept because it gives the recipient something to look forward to, plus a wide variety of options for experience gifts. In addition, experience gifts don’t have to be expensive either. Maybe wrap up some materials for s’mores with a certificate for a night of camping in the backyard. Or even some popcorn and movie box candy with a certificate to have a movie night and stay up past bedtime. Sarah Lyons offers some great ideas in 7 Experience Gifts to Give Kids This Season. Get creative with how you wrap the gift so it will be fun to open! For example, you might attach the concert tickets to a band tee or other merch. If you are giving a yoga class gift certificate, wrap it with a yoga mat or water bottle. Not feeling very creative? Just pop on Pinterest, and I am sure you will find some fun ideas.
While we are speaking of experiences and the holidays, you will want to flip over to our Holiday Happenings Guide, which is packed with many holiday outings that are perfect for making memories with your family. Make sure you check out the Family Calendar also to find even more community events for December.
With all of the gift-giving around the holidays, we need to be mindful that our kids are not becoming desensitized to the unique nature of receiving a gift. Instead, we want them to be grateful for all they have and all they receive. So how can we foster and encourage an attitude of thankfulness? Sandi Schwartz has given us some helpful ideas to consider in her feature, How to Balance Receiving with Giving. Something I would like to add to her article is to involve children in the gift process. For example, give them a budget, or have them make something, so they can experience for themselves the thought, time, and effort that goes into giving someone a gift. Maybe even give them cute stationary to write thank you notes after the holidays.
On that note, please remember those struggling financially and/or emotionally this holiday season. Make it a family priority to give back and help those in need. It doesn’t matter if you have a big donation to give to a charity, if you are helping an older neighbor with some repairs, or even just sharing a smile with someone. You never know how that act of kindness may give that person the hope and encouragement they need.
May God bless you with peace, love, and joy this season.