- Holidays and Celebrations
Children’s Gift Ideas for Christmas
DIY Treat Mix Gift
Children Learn How to Give
Anyone who has a hand in raising a child hopes that the precious little one will grow up to be kind, productive, self-sufficient, and lead a life which is meaningful. Of course, we adults guide their development towards this end through many tiny lessons and examples. The Christmas holiday season offers wonderful opportunities for showing kindness and care towards others through the practice of thoughtful gift giving.
Obviously, children have limited life experiences and age-appropriate perceptions. However, they do know how to love. Furthermore, most children are pretty savvy in reading other people. We can guide them through what I call the Two Levels of the Golden Rule.
The Golden Rule, as it is called within Christianity, is the precept to do for others what you would want them to do for you. (Most major world religions have an equivalent guideline.) The egocentric child may easily interpret this rule to mean “I love vanilla ice cream, so I will give you some vanilla ice cream.” Later, a more mature interpretation evolves which recognizes and celebrates differences in people. Now the child can understand the Golden Rule as “I love having my favorite flavor of ice cream, which is vanilla, so I will endeavor to give you your favorite flavor of ice cream. I need to learn what flavor that is.”
The carol of The Friendly Beasts celebrates what unique offering each individual can make to God. And I love Tomie de Paola - he is a fantastic illustrator with a tender sense of storytelling.
Practicing Respectful Observation
Children know what the important people in their lives like. I was simultaneously bemused and embarrassed when one of my sons came from nursery school with a collage. The subject was “What Your Mother Likes.” The wee ones were given scissors, paste, and a pile of “women’s magazines” and told to find mum’s favorite things. They cut and pasted onto a big slab of construction paper. Other children had collages full of jewelry…or horses…or pets. My son had me pegged: it was a collage full of photos of desserts!
So, if you feel your child needs assistance in identifying favorite things or colors for Nanna or PopPop, try the magazine pictures collage exercise. However, I doubt you will need it. Five-year-olds know.
Food Jar Handmade Gift
This gift is easy for kids to make, easy for kids to understand, and can be inexpensive. One takes a clean, empty jam jar or Mason jar and fills it with a mixture of non-perishable snack treats. Adults and children work together and it is extra fun to assemble with more than child. Each child adds one scoop of “his” ingredient. While a former public elementary school teacher, I received a massive amount of these gifts with high sugar/ high calorie ingredients such as chocolate chips, peanuts, M & M’s ™, and Gummy worms. I always appreciated the thought and effort, but may I suggest that families branch out into perhaps healthier foods? Perhaps try a high fiber dried fruit mix? Or granola, nut, and dried fruit mix?
Christmas Snack Jar Gift
For the small jar pictured:
1/3 cup each of
Dried banana slices
Chocolate covered almonds
I mix them in a bowl and then pour into the clean, dry jar. To make it fancy for gift giving, cover the lid with wrapping paper tied with a ribbon. All these ingredients were purchased in the bulk food aisle of my grocery. None have artificial colors added. A nice corollary benefit of making gifts in a team is that your child experiences a lesson in the assembly line method of production.
Supplies for Food Jar Gift
I really believe in angels helping us. Why not share their presence with the children?
Let’s think back to the magazine picture collage. A gift of a simple grapevine wreath or straw wreath can be purchased at a craft store and decorated with the child’s hand drawings of those “favorite things.” What could be more precious? They can be laminated with a self-lamination kit from an office supply store, if desired. The drawings on the sample shown are attached with a hot glue gun.
Wreath Before and After
Happy Gift Making
I hope you enjoy making and adapting these for your family and its needs.
Text and photos copyright Maren E. Morgan 2012.