Kids and gift giving

Ways to teach kids about responsible holiday gift giving

If you’ve been to a store lately you may think we skipped fall because signs of Christmas and the holiday season are all over retailers’ shelves. While the consumerism of the holidays can be overwhelming, it provides a good opportunity to teach kids about the true spirit of giving.

Here are ways to involve kids in the giving spirit without breaking their piggy bank: 

Create a gift. One of the best ways to get your kids to appreciate the true spirit of giving is to encourage them to use their talents and abilities. Some children are very artistic, others are handy at building things. Artwork, a handmade decoration or home furnishing can carry much more meaning than items that are purchased at a chain store. Why not put their computer skills to work by creating a website or family photo collage to surprise a loved one? Here is another option for a free photo collage making tool that lets you customize text and has different layouts and backgrounds.

Find a cause that speaks to you. Turn on the news and it is all too apparent that there are lots of people suffering throughout the world, including those hit by recent natural disasters. What better way to get your kids involved than to donate toward a charitable cause (the Vancity Humanitarian Fund for example), while having a discussion about how fortunate we are?

Make a personal gift certificate. Parents (well anyone) can appreciate the gift of a service: babysitting, window washing or a meal prepared for them. When life is busy, a rest from the hectic pace can be extremely welcome. Here is a free to use web tool to create a certificate for several occasions including personal or business ones.

Volunteer your time. Plenty of charities organize drives to help those less fortunate at this time of year. Check out this site that provides a list of volunteering opportunities that you can search for by region or by focus area (arts and culture or the environment for example). Spending your time this way with kids at a food bank, community kitchen or toy drive can help teach about the true spirit of giving. 

Organize a draw. Buying for a large or extended family can be costly. Consider a draw where you buy a thoughtful gift for one person rather than 10! Set a dollar limit, or go with a theme of being self-made, or for the environmentally-conscious family, recycled.

Experience, rather than things. Go for something that you are not likely to find on sale on Boxing day. A ticket to a community theatre event, concert or outdoor activity are good options and don’t require batteries.