Kids + Gift Giving

Written by: Tonya Kauffman

It is important to invovle your children in the gift GIVING part of the holiday season....not just the gift RECEIVING.  This year I plan to show my kids (6 year-old son, 4 year-old daughter) how important and enjoyable gift giving is by including them in the process.

One of my favorite childhood, holiday memories was the year my brother, sister and I decided to exchange gifts.  We put a lot of thought and time into our selections.  Each of us wrapped items we already had (a favorite bouncy ball, new sticker book, etc), and thought the other would like to have for themselves.  That year, I don't remember what I received, but I do remember what I gave.  I was soooo excited for them to see what I had chosen for them. Now anytime I give a thoughtful gift I flash back to that year and re-live that suspenseful excitement and the shared joy when they finally opened their gifts.  I want my children to have those same feelings and memories so I try to include them in as much of the process as possible and this year my kids will do a similar exchange between themselves.

Here are some ways you can make YOUR holiday gift giving a family event.


- Explain to your children why we give gifts. Then ask who they would like to give a gift to and why.  This helps them think about the needs and wishes of others.

- Let them help choose gifts for the special people in their lives (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, needy families).  If you don't want to give a Darth Vadar mask to Aunt Edna or a princess wand to Grandpa Gene, narrow down your gift ideas to a couple options for each recipient and let them choose which item you give.  If they aren't familiar with your gift ideas, take them to the store so they have a 'visual' or if you aren't game for braving the holiday crowds with the kids, flip through some catalogs or pull pics up on the web. 

- Encourage them to make their gifts as well. 

-Take them along when you deliver the gift(s) they have chosen.  It is important for them to see a decision THEY made is making someone else happy.


A roll of inexpensive white or brown craft paper can go a looong way and acts as a 'blank canvas' for all your holiday wrapping needs! 

Consider these possibilities: 

- Wrap your gifts and let the kids decorate the paper with stickers, stamps, paint, tinsel, glitter or shapes cut out of gift wrap scraps.

- Use the same craft paper, cardstock or 8.5x 11 label sheets and have them trace shapes using household items (cookie cutters, stencils, their hands) onto the paper, they can then decorate the shapes and cut them out to create unique gift tags and gift labels.

- If purchasing books as gifts or items your kids already own and enjoy have them include a note/card to the recipient that reads:  "This is my favorite _____ and I love it because ______.  I hope you enjoy it too!"

Not only will these ideas save YOU time, but it will keep your little ones happy and busy during snow days and winter school breaks.  Including your little buddies in the process allows them to take ownership, find value in the giving process AND show them that giving is truly better than receiving!

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Posted on November 21, 2012 at 10:59 AM