Friday, December 12, 2014

Gift Traditions and Ideas

Holiday season is upon us and it can be stressful, so I am going to keep this post short and sweet. Possibly it will help you reduce your stress level because it is chock-full of ideas. Many families have a tradition of gift-giving. So what about gifts for young children? What are some ideas for gifts that support their development and don’t train them into the consumer culture that is all around us? Are there gifts that could make our children happy that are not “tech toys” or toys based on popular media culture (i.e. Elsa stuff, ultra skinny princess dolls, toy weapons and Disney items of all sorts? I am going to give you all a quick ramble through a bunch of ideas and I hope you find it helpful.

The first thing that comes to mind is creating a family tradition of helping others who may not be so comfortable and financially able. One idea is to involve your children in “adopting” a family in need and gathering gifts for them. And bring your children along when you volunteer at a local soup kitchen. Or make food and put it in containers to give out directly to those in need. You’ve surely seen folks at highway exits and major intersections with signs asking for food and help. Make food to give away!

Now as far as gifts for the children, I like to think of things the children can make and do (by themselves). How can we help our children grow up to be makers and doers? One way in to encourage that by providing them with material and tools. Depending on the age and abilities of your child, some ideas include tools (hammers, saws, screwdrivers, tool box, etc...) and wood and nails and screws. Depending on your particular child - scissors, threads, needles, sewing box or basket, and fabric. 

Art supplies are another idea. Watercolor paints, crayons, scissors, glue and of course (recycled) paper. Or thick colored pencils that don’t break so easily.

Books are ALWAYS a great gift. Read through the book before purchasing to make sure it is what you want to read (over and over) to your child. You can read some of my past blog posts for specific book ideas.

What about a cloth crawl-through tunnel. Remember these? So good for sensory and motor development. And if you search you can find one without media images.

A wonderful tradition you can create is making food gifts with your child for other people. Like jams and sauces. Or breads and cookies. It’s fun. It makes your house smell so good. And you are providing an example to your children (and your family and friends) of making. DIY is the way to go!

What if YOU made your child a gift? There are some many things you could make and the fact that you made it makes it so special for your child. Ideas include a doll, dollhouse, doll clothes, wooden wagon, wooden blocks, playhouse, felted animals, wooden animals. Or knitted hats and sweaters, slippers and socks.The possibilities are endless. And you CAN do it. Start now - there is still time. What are you able to do? Sewing? Woodworking? Felting? Learn some new crafts. The only obstacle is you. You can do it and there is enough time.

Happy holidays to you and your family, whatever your tradition. May this be a peaceful time of family and friends and joy. Enjoy!