Are you a natural gift-giver? You know, the kind of person who can come up with the perfect gift for a special occasion with little to no effort? Do you feel valued when you receive a gift from someone else? According to Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, gift-givers make up the smallest of all the groups, at 18%. If this is you, you are somewhat of a rarity!
I do not fall into this category. I agonize over Christmas and birthdays gifts.
And I don’t love receiving gifts, either. Of course, in the off chance that I happen to find something that is perfect for a loved one, I’m happy to give it. Like the time I stumbled across a Groupon for a Lamborghini ride and gave it to my husband. It made his Christmas so memorable!
But it’s silly to spend money on something just because it’s expected.
If there’s one people group that’s always in the mood for presents, it’s kids. They don’t ordinarily care how much thought you’ve put into the gift, as long as there’s something to tear into. If you have kids in your life, you know it’s pretty easy to wander into any store and emerge successfully with a suitable toy to wrap and hand over.
But before you just throw any old thing into your shopping cart (online or in person), stop and think about the message your gift will send. Will the child even care about this gift an hour after he opens it? Is it worth your money?
If you, like me, want to give children presents that have a little more meaning and will last longer than the time it takes to rip the wrapping paper off, ditch the dollar store and explore some gift ideas that are more worthwhile.
Garden Tools. Watching seeds turn into plants and then into food is both fascinating and educational. If you have a garden outside, find child-sized garden tools and spend time tending plants together. If you or the child don’t have a garden, buy an indoor kit that has a clear window. The child can watch the roots grow! Bonus: it’s also a great way to get kids excited about eating vegetables.
Art/Craft Supplies. Our kids never get tired of art. We constantly run out of paper – our pens are always out of ink. And as parents, we get more quiet, cooperative time when our kids draw or make origami. Instruction books that outline a new type of craft are also great (ie. a book on knitting along with yarn and needles). Kids can be so creative when given the right tools!
Subscription Boxes. There is so much variety here that you should be able to find a box to suit any child’s interests. From art to science to cooking, there’s something for everyone. And since they are shipped on a regular basis, they hold your child’s interest over time. You may be creating a future scientist of chef!
Experiences. Your gift doesn’t have to be tangible. Does this child have a zoo or museum nearby? Why not purchase an annual pass for the whole family? Sometimes it’s hard for a family to get out and go to fun places in their hometown because of the expense, but if they already have a pass, it’s such a fun excuse to spend the day together!
Sponsor A Child. This gift is so meaningful because it benefits two people – the child you’re giving it to and the child you sponsor. Through letters and updates, the two can form a relationship that will open your child’s eyes to the reality of the world around her, and how children who live in poverty are really just like her. Having a friend overseas to encourage and share hope with is a tangible way for your child to love another the way they should be loved.
Visits. If you have young relatives that don’t live with you, have them come for a visit for a few days. Plan some special activities to do together and make lifelong memories. It will be great for your relationship and surely a welcome break for the parents!
I hope this provides a more intentional gift-giving experience for your family this Christmas! A little thought goes a long way.
Kelsey Terschak is a content creator and child advocate at Compassion International who is passionate about using her voice to help others. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband and cat. You can connect with her on Instagram at @kelseyterschak.