Whenever we give gifts to our children we have the opportunity to make a positive impact with that gift. Our desire is to see each of our children grow in their individual bents – the things that they are uniquely created to do. Gifts can be mindless additions to the already accumulated stuff – or we can give gifts that encourage their development in some way. This doesn’t mean gifts need to be ‘educational’ as much as ‘beneficial.’ The distinction is worth thinking about.
It is easy to get caught up in the materialism of the commercial Christmas; catalogues and advertising is everywhere. Not only are our children tempted to want stuff but we have a desire to make our children happy and we want them to have fun too.
If your family is doing gifts we need to understand the idea of gifts. To my mind giving a gift is a thoughtful thing – it is about thinking of the other person. Parents can become pragmatic about gift giving- but I ask you to think about what does your child feel when you give a gift? Do they feel your love?
Giving gifts doesn’t have to be excessive. I think we often pad out how much our kids get by giving them the things they need – it is a budget concession. And though I understand the practical nature of this – if we are using gift giving opportunities to (a) tell our children we love them and (b) to teach them to give to others – we need to model this heart attitude of giving ourselves. When we match our gifts to our children’s passions we are giving them not only something that is ‘worthwhile’ to our ‘adult’ mind, but something that tells our children that we ‘get them’, that we have noticed what they are passionate about.
Gifts can encourage Creativity
To be creative means to do something in a new way – one dictionary puts it;
Using or showing use of the imagination
to create new ideas or things
We often think of creativity in terms of painting, sculpture, stitching or building but thinking is a creative skill as well, so too are the practical skills in life such as cooking and gardening. When our presents to our children encourage and enhance their in-built creative abilities, their talents and passions, then we are giving them a life-long gift.
I like doing synonym searches on words – it expands my thinking a little. Such a search for the word Creative comes up with these words:
I think this list of words can help us in coming up with gifts that are purposefully chosen for each of our children.
What will spark your child’s imagination?
What will inspire them to grow, do more, be better?
What will help your child be productive in their free time?
What will expand their artistic creativity?
What will they be able to use in inventive ways?
In fact we ourselves have to be creative in finding just the right present!
Choose your Gifts Carefully
If this idea is a new idea for you, and you usually just buy the latest and greatest fad toy, or give them the gifts that you know they need anyway, then ask yourself these questions:
- What holds my child’s interest for the longest?
- What activity does my child choose without my prompting?
- What times do I find him being imaginative, resourceful or ingenious?
- At the end of the day, has he ever made anything? How? When? Why? What?
As you think on the answers to these questions you start to get an understanding of some of the passions that drive your child.
Bonus: A major bonus behind this idea of giving your child a gift that enhances their passions is that after family time on Christmas Day, or Boxing Day, you won’t have bored children, looking for computer games or DVD’s – they will be itching to get into the gift that you gave them because it interests them, and switches on their sense of creativity.
Inspire Your Child this Christmas
So this Christmas, if you you haven’t already bought gifts then think about the opportunity that giving to your children gives you. You have an opportunity to tell your child that you love them, that you know them, that you support them, and that you think they are able to run with this passion. That in itself is a great gift to give to a child.
What gift will inspire your child this Christmas?