A social experiment in the U.S. in 2015 asked children to choose between giving and receiving the perfect present. Surprisingly instead of choosing the gift of their dreams for themselves, they all chose to buy something for a parent. Thoughtful gift-giving really can develop a sense of empathy and on that front alone it’s worth considering.
For time- and cash-strapped families shopping for birthdays and Christmas presents can be stressful. Parents often end up buying more than they intended and spending more than they can afford. But things are changing and many are questioning and discussing what the act of giving actually means.
Want, need, wear, read
The 4-gift rule beloved of so many parents in recent years, may be a little sanctimonious, but it has helped many families simplify their present-shopping strategy, primarily at Christmas. It leads to fewer unwanted gifts and kids (especially tots) aren’t overwhelmed by too much ‘stuff’ all at once. The 4-gift rule explained –
Talk about it
As children grow up and in family discussions the idea of a gift can be explored and expanded to include giving time to others and valuing what we already have, as well as considerations of excess and waste.
More recently the 4-gift rule has morphed into 5-gifts and includes something home-made. Making their own gifts gives children the personal satisfaction of actually seeing the surprised look on mummy’s face when she opens her present. Some cookies or a tiny posy of flowers from the garden are fun things to make with granny, especially for Mother’s Day.
Saying thank you becomes an act of giving in its own right and writing thank-you cards can be a fun activity to share with kids. If they can’t think what to say, here are three simple steps to follow. Easy-peasy…
‘No one has ever become poor by giving’ – the words of Anne Frank