Can you remember the first Christmas you had a child old enough to really grasp the traditions of Christmas? Remember the excitement on their face and the joy exploding from every limb of their body? The anticipation for Christmas day is almost unbearable. They hover over the carefully wrapped gifts, poking tiny holes in the wrapping, small enough that they hope you don’t notice but large enough to possibly catch a tiny glimpse of the treasures inside.
I think I can speak for most of us when I say giving and getting gifts is awesome! Gifting is a special holiday tradition that is a huge part of the magic of Christmas and the holiday season. It helps to remind us of the good in the world and the gifts from heaven we have been given. It’s important to remember that some of the most precious gifts cannot be bought. You won’t find them at Walmart or any other store for that matter. They are not gifts that your kids generally list in their letters to Santa or while sitting on his knee at the mall. Many children probably don’t even consciously know how badly they want these intangible gifts, but they mean more than anything else we could give that carries a price tag. They need to receive the invisible but invaluable gifts of…
· Unconditional Love
· Time and Presence &
Our kids don’t just want these gifts, they need them. These gifts infuse long-term patterns of joy and promote cycles that will sustain happy families now and throughout generations to come. These gifts, although of the greatest importance, can sometimes go unnoticed because they can’t be seen and touched like a new doll or shiny model train set up under the tree. Let’s face it, we all like to have something tangible under the tree Christmas morning. Although the presents under the tree that you can see and touch are not the most important gifts that we give, if we give them in the right way, they can be a vehicle for giving the true gifts listed above. The following five suggestions are tangible gifts that can provide opportunities for a more meaningful exchange of intangible gifts.
5 tangible gifts with intangible value
Purchase or create for your child an “I love you because” journal or wall board like the one below. If you have a boy, you could create something a little more masculine if you wanted, but the idea is the same. My wife and I have one of these hanging on our bedroom wall and it is always exciting to walk into the room and to read a new note of kindness and expression of love.
2. Unconditional Love:
Sometimes we need to be reminded that we are loved and it is no different for our children. A personal reminder or symbol of our love that can be carried or worn for years can be a wonderful way to share our love. I received a Winnie the Pooh keychain for my sixteenth birthday from one of my best friends growing up and carried it until it got worn out and fell off my keychain about a year ago. It reminded me that I was loved. I wear my wedding ring every day as a reminder of the love of my wife and my unconditional bond with her. We can give a similar kind of symbol with an accompanying note expressing our love and the significance of the item.
We love to give coupons around our house. Identify something your child doesn’t like to do, maybe a chore around the house and create a coupon that you will clean their room for a week or make them breakfast in bed. Do something unusual to serve them.
4. Time and Presence:
This is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give to his child. To give our undivided attention and time is truly giving yourself. Give tickets to an event for just you and the child. Make it something that they will really enjoy. Build anticipation and plan your schedule accordingly. Prepare yourself to make the event meaningful and memorable and then give your time and attention.
Kids love toys. We always start articles like this one with discussions about how they need our love and intangible gifts more than they need a new toy. While that may very well be true, toys give us a great opportunity to connect and play with our children. Play truly is a child’s language and if we can give them a toy that they love and then show genuine interest, they open up and the relationship blossoms. My boys love Legos. When it comes to toys, that is about all they ever ask for. However when I give them Legos for Christmas, I am not simply giving them the newest set, I am giving them play and my interest in the things that they love.
Giving gifts can be one of the most satisfying parts of the holiday season. None of us want to spoil our children and simply pile on trivial and meaningless gift after gift. This Christmas, remember these gifts that cannot be bought or sold. Keep in mind that even when you are giving the gifts that you bought at Wal-Mart or Toys R Us, you can create meaning to your purchases by giving a part of yourself with their wrapped presents. Each present can be coupled with the gifts that matter most. Remember kindness, unconditional love, service, time and presence and play are the gifts your children will look back on and treasure most.
Question: What tangible gift have you given that gave more than just the gift itself? What was the greatest gift you ever received? Why?
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