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‘Tis The Season… To Teach The Joy of Giving

Christmas… It is upon us for another year. Wow, where did that year go? I guess it is time to be frantically thinking about what to buy the kids for Christmas. What do they want? What do they need? What is the latest craze? What will Santa bring?

Even though we spend loads of time picking out perfect gifts that our kids will love, it is important to remember that things you do and traditions that you begin from an early age, you will try to keep that up each year and they will expect them to continue. Let’s think about ways to ensure Christmas is wonderful for our kids without going overboard with the cost of presents.

Christmas is very exciting for young children but it doesn’t have to be all about them receiving presents. Today I will highlight for you 10 simple ways that you can teach your children the joy of giving to others and how giving to others can be as exciting as receiving.

So, what would you like from your children as the years go by? Do you want 15 year olds that expect the latest video game, phone or Nike shoes? Do you want a 25 year old that comes home for Christmas and brings nothing for anyone else? Or would you like to think that your children will carry on your family’s traditions of giving? I know that I would like my boys to be thoughtful enough to buy something for my husband and I when they are older or at least ask me ahead of time what they can bring along.

So, while they are young, let’s start teaching them a few things that encourage and instil a love of giving to others so they can see that Christmas is not just about them getting lots of presents.

In the first 2-3 years our children do not fully understand presents. You know how they play with the wrapping paper or cardboard box for ages! Well, that can all change by the time they are just 5. By then, they are all about what Santa is bringing them and my goodness look out if a sibling has more presents under the tree!

Ok, so let’s dive into my 10 easy ways to help your child enjoy the gift of giving.

1. Firstly, keep the number of presents you give them to a minimum. Many people use this handy little rhyme to keep from going overboard with the number of gifts;

Something you want,

Something you need,

Something to wear and

Something to read.

I like to include things that they need for school like pencil cases, new drink bottles and lunchboxes. This way, they do get a little more gifts but they are useful.

2. Leading up to Christmas Day, don’t put any of their presents under the tree and out for display. They get too tempted to touch them, look at them, think about them. Out of sight, out of mind… this way you can concentrate on other important parts of Christmas with them.

3. Involve your child in choosing and wrapping a present for their loved ones such as mum and dad, siblings, grandparents. An inexpensive item that is from them is always special to the grandparents and picking out something for their sibling helps them to be kind and loving and thoughtful about what another child likes to do or play with.

4. Encourage your child to help you write Christmas cards. They could make a card for your extended family, neighbours, babysitters and friends. Sharing with them a nice message to write in the card or asking them what they would like to say is cute! Helping them to write to others has benefits for their early writing skills too!

5. Involve them in buying or making a small gift for their teacher at the end of the year or even a card to say thanks is special. Being a teacher myself, it is always lovely when children write cards or letters and I always open my presents and read my cards in front of them so they can feel the excitement of my reaction and I can thank them personally for their thoughtful gifts.

6. On Christmas morning, have them wait until everyone is sitting together to open any presents. Of course, we don’t make them wait until lunchtime! In my household, we are up pretty early (aren’t we all?!) but the children wait until I make a cuppa and then we sit together and the children can open their gifts from Santa first.

7. When exchanging gifts as a family, have children take turns. Usually the children have more presents to open than the adults but initially have everyone take a turn (we usually go youngest to oldest or vice versa) and we do this part later in the morning once we have had a break from the Santa gifts and had breakfast etc.

8. When taking turns and concentrating on one gift at a time, children are encouraged to read the gift tag to see who it is from, open it and look at it and fully appreciate what the gift is. They can then thank the person it is from if they are there and then have some time to wait for their next turn before they can open another present.

9. If your child receives a gift from someone that isn’t there on Christmas Day it is important that they thank them still. Maybe you can call that person during the day or send them a message but it is important that children know who the gift is from and get into the habit of showing appreciation for all gifts they receive (even if it is Great Aunt that they don’t remember!)

10. When children are taking turns to open gifts with family, there will be a time when they watch others open the gifts that they picked, wrapped and personally selected. This is the time I like to watch their face when they see someone open their gift. This is one of my favourite parts of Christmas.

Remember to slow down and enjoy this Christmas and help your child to know what is important at Christmas time. Even from an early age, children can show empathy, appreciation and the joy of giving.

Merry Christmas!



Hi! I’m Chalkie.

I want to empower you to feel confident as a parent and to help you gain clarity about your parenting role!

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