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Creating Strong Giving Identities

Dec 25, 2011

by Caleb Gardner

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

When I last wrote about navigating the holiday cultural waters, I was mainly referring to the different religious traditions that are celebrated this time of year. However, I neglected to mention the most popular cultural tradition of them all: shopping.

A season that used to be centered around gift-giving has been mostly hijacked by greed and competition. As my son grows increasingly aware of holiday customs, the question for us has been how to deconstruct some of that hyper consumerism while maintaining the affection at the heart of gift-giving.

A strong focus on our religious heritage should give us a starting point. Giving Miles an understanding for why we give gifts in the first place will hopefully help to ground him in humility and get him thinking beyond himself. No matter the traditions, we always want to be intentional about explaining to him why we do things in the first place.

Beyond that, I think it’s important to encourage him giving gifts as well as receiving them. Psychology Today writes about children forming “giving identities” at an early age that can reap internal benefits. If I can support Miles in being mindful about his giving, it will help to form in his mind exactly what is special about the person at the receiving end of his gifts, building a stronger bond with his friends and family as he considers what might make them happy.

The popular Nickelodeon show Yo Gabba Gabba agrees, according to this cute little spot in their Christmas special:

[http://www.vimeo.com/33952163

Some parents protect their children from the act of giving, simply because they don’t believe they need gifts or don’t want to burden their children. This has actually proven to be counterintuitive, because it doesn’t allow the children to nurture an individual sense of making a positive difference in others’ lives with their actions. Cultivating a giving identity is as much about the child’s self-confidence as it is about the recipient’s pleasure.

The kinds of gifts matter as well. This year Miles was still too young, but I think next year will be prime time to help him make meaningful gifts for all of us – an important precursor to shopping, because it allows for uninhibited creative expressions of love. I’m sure all of you here on Etsy would agree on this point. There is a time and place for picking items off a shelf, but they can never be as unique or fun as a child expressing himself at his most creative point in life.

How do you help develop your children’s giving identities?

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75 comments

  • muffintopdesigns

    muffintopdesigns said 4 years ago

    beautiful post. i have been trying to put the emphasis on giving with my 2 1/2 year old daughter, and it seems to be working... but it is hard to resist the allure of glitzy giftwrap and sparkly ribbons. i am hoping that trying to make each gift meaningful and thoughtful will help her develop a sense of what the season is really about. xoxoxo

  • SeaFindDesigns

    SeaFindDesigns said 4 years ago

    Good for you Caleb..... as a parent it's sometimes hard to find that balance. It seems like you're doing a great job at it! Peace!

  • VintageEye

    VintageEye said 4 years ago

    A thoughtful gift, given with a true sense of generosity, will always be meaningful for those giving & those receiving. Be happy & merry today & everyday!

  • twinstargifts

    twinstargifts said 4 years ago

    This is lovely. While I don't have children myself yet, my parents did a wonderful job of teaching us to think of others. Many of our gifts at young ages were handmade, magnets from those melting beads, potholders off a loom... some my relatives still use to this day. The other thing they did was, "Santa" never wrapped his gifts, and he never gave as many as my parents did. His were under the tree, the family's were in the living room. And each parent always took us out shopping for the other parent, and our sister. One year my sister and I got each other a very similar gift based on a beloved tv show. We still laugh about it. I have seen the results of shielding children from gift giving, and it's not pretty. But not to worry. It's not un-doable either. :)

  • scandivintage

    scandivintage said 4 years ago

    Creating presents is so much fun, for people of any age. And the best gifts I ever received were drawings by my niece and nephew. Merry Christmas! :)

  • BlissStreet

    BlissStreet said 4 years ago

    My son has a school bazaar where all the gifts are $2.00 or less and there is only one rule: The kids have to choose everything themselves. I've never seen anything like it! All of the kids are so excited and joyful about choosing gifts for their family. When they are finished with their lists, then they get to choose something for themselves, but most of them usually end up getting a gift for a friend. Kids are amazing! Happy Holidays!

  • bj1952

    bj1952 said 4 years ago

    Though my children are adults now, I often think of how I would have handled Christmas differently, if I could go back. First I would focus on my Christian beliefs more. Reading the Bibical account of Jesus's birth, even in children's book form. Going to church throughout the season, attending free concerts. As far as the gift side goes, I would try to explain and focus on the Wise Men's giving of gifts to Jesus, and God's gift of Jesus himself. Then comes the material gift giving. While kids assume Santa gives all those presents, in a Visit From St. Nicholas states quite clearly that he "filled all the stockings", not a word about stuff under the tree! So why not start a tradition of stockings come from Santa, but the "tree" presents are from people we know. Then, continuing, have the children make a list of no more than six things they would truly want. You choose the number of those gifts to actually give them. Quality vs. quantity! Also, choose 1 or 2 charities to give to. I once saw an idea that I really need to start again. It was to decorate a large cardboard box with Christmas wrap. Set it in a spot you will see everyday and put items in there each week when you go food shopping. At Christmas/Thanksgiving, when charities have drives, you have an entire box to donate. You could do it for an animal shelter, or for baby items, or items for prisoners, etc. The list goes on and on, and it won't be a drain on your money resources, as your doing a little at a time.

  • allthingswhite

    allthingswhite said 4 years ago

    wonderful post, very important thoughts for all of us !!!

  • Haywainpottery

    Haywainpottery said 4 years ago

    Working at a high school, I see a lot of teenagers who go without for a variety of reasons--poverty, loss of a parent, in foster care, etc. Our family always gets a family name and shops for the family and gives to them. We talk with our kids about the importance of seeing beyond ourselves and our wants. We talk about how even when it seems like we don't have a lot--someone else has even less. Hopefully these are lessons that our kids will carry on their own into adulthood.

  • AlisaDesign

    AlisaDesign said 4 years ago

    Cool ;)

  • overthemeadow

    overthemeadow said 4 years ago

    Wonderful post! Very cool...

  • 711laurakay

    711laurakay said 4 years ago

    that was such an adorable video. I want to save it, to show my kids one day.

  • BanglewoodSupplies
  • chrysallis

    chrysallis said 4 years ago

    Great post!

  • mojo3777creations

    mojo3777creations said 4 years ago

    This is so true. This year we are doing a handmade holiday. My 3 kids have been researching tutorials and ideas for things they can make one another. The best thing about it, is that many of the ideas are upcycling items to create something new. They can customize their ideas with their recipients favorite colors and patterns, and truly personalize their gifts. They have spent much more time thinking about what to give each other, than what they wish to receive. It has been a beautiful season, and as we all know, handmade is priceless compared to something mass produced.

  • Yuuichi

    Yuuichi said 4 years ago

    (indoctrinating children into one's religion is never a good idea~)

  • Nikifashion

    Nikifashion said 4 years ago

    I love this video!

  • funkomavintage

    funkomavintage said 4 years ago

    encourage kids to make and give away.....cookies, hand-drawn pictures, found objects (who doesn't love a pretty rock given to them by a 2 year old....but not delivered at high speed!)...I ask kids, Whatcha doing?, Whatcha making?, Where ya going?.....rather than, What did you get for (holiday)?

  • AThymetoSew

    AThymetoSew said 4 years ago

    Love this!

  • dragonhouseofyuen

    dragonhouseofyuen said 4 years ago

    my 2 nieces have been bestowing scraps of painted paper and things glued onto other bits of this and thats to me as special 'Aunty' presents as soon as they grasp hold of the glitter tube! and they take great pride in making something just for me and knowing that I love it. These are the best gifts of all and I cherish them. They are now 5 and 7 and still producing :)

  • dragonhouseofyuen

    dragonhouseofyuen said 4 years ago

    as soon as they could grasp hold, I meant to write

  • CreativeCardsForYou

    CreativeCardsForYou said 4 years ago

    Very beautiful post!

  • ArtDecoDame

    ArtDecoDame said 4 years ago

    Really beautiful post!

  • KKSimpleRegalJewelry

    KKSimpleRegalJewelry said 4 years ago

    Very good. ~KK~

  • opendoorstudio

    opendoorstudio said 4 years ago

    This year, the gifts from my children were all handmade and some were in fact, Etsy inspired! My daughter took the time to make me a pair of earrings, felting them and then handstitching and using them as beads . They are beautiful! I finally feel my Children are "getting it". That perhaps they are finally feeling the goodness of giving rather than the selfishness of greed! wonderful post.

  • MaJentaDesigns

    MaJentaDesigns said 4 years ago

    Great and timely article, thanks for sharing!

  • rivahside

    rivahside said 4 years ago

    Let's not over-think things as people are apt to do these days. "Giving" should be a part of our everyday lives-not just something we do around the holidays. Children learn most by example rather than a deliberate tutorial.

  • theroyal

    theroyal said 4 years ago

    thanks yo gabba gabba

  • Guchokipa

    Guchokipa said 4 years ago

    Giving can be a complicated situation for adults but for children things are more straightforward. Children are on the path toward adulthood and constantly observing and putting into practice elements that will further their journey. If they witness adults giving then they will also want to be a giver. Now, it does get a bit complicated as the adults may practice various types of gift-giving, such as the guilt-attached giving or the pain-in-the-ass giving. Children immediately pick up on the psychological attachments of gift giving and may adopt them as their own if we are not careful. As the main adults in our children's lives, we must reflect on how and why we give. It is a good opportunity for us to examine our own practices to see if they meet standards we would like our children to achieve. Children learn by example, not explicit instruction.

  • bedouin

    bedouin said 4 years ago

    a few gifts are great ~ I don't think kids need many. Also a simple thank you goes a long way. It's is easy to learn and universal with out over thinking the process too much ~

  • cenirestardust

    cenirestardust said 4 years ago

    Great post! So many children are raised with the idea that the holidays are just about them getting as many gifts as possible. I'm glad my parents raised us to love gift giving more than receiving. My sister and I always made our grandmother items (beaded necklaces,clothespin dolls, ornaments, etc) that she still has to this day. I remember how much I would stress over giving the perfect gifts to my mom and stepdad, not because I wanted to be the one that spent the most, but because I wanted to make or find something very unique to them. I barely think about what I will get from the people I give gifts, and I think it's all because of my upbringing. We never had a lot, and I never minded going back to school after break when all the other kids would only talk about the loads and loads of stuff they got for christmas, I was more proud of what I gave to others. About two years back, I was hurting for money. I had just switched jobs, I was in massive debt. I was miserable, because well, it's stressful and depressing when your life gets out of control. During the time, the company I worked for, sponsored a family, and we all could sign up to give gifts. The little boy on the list simply wrote "Star Wars" as his wish. I had been selling off all my collectibles on eBay trying to get money to pay down my debt, and had just about gotten to the loads of unopened Star Wars figures I had from my collecting years. I signed up to give the little boy in the family gifts, and instead of selling all those toys I wrapped them all up and donated them as gifts to the family. I realised that I could easily turn things around for myself, in other ways. That helping a family in need, they'll hopefully pass on to their children, how when they weren't in the best of times strangers made it possible for a little joy in their lives. Hopefully, the children will grow up realising that the gifts you receive aren't as important as what you're giving to others to make their lives brighter. Overall, in a perfect society, I wish we'd not emphasis so much on the gift part of the holiday. There are so many other reasons to be happy, and so many other things to be thankful for, than the gifts. I have so many friends that were in the armed forces, and a lot of them for the first time in a few years are home for Christmas. We don't "gift big" at our home (financially we couldn't, anyway), but it's also because both my fiancé and I have a realistic and un-materialistic view on the world. We don't have custody of his daughter , but we try to instill in her the value of giving, and not always "wanting" (which is why we both try to give her the opportunity to shine creatively, by buying art supplies/kits--I even let her sell her jewelry on my etsy store, and we always encourage her to make things for family when we visit them--no matter what time of the year). Yeah, I can tell she's disappointed when she only sees a handful of gifts under the tree at our house (and by the tossing aside and sighing because it wasn't a video game), and she's come from her mother/stepfather's where they shower her with anything she wants. I'm hoping that when she grows up, she realises how important what we did, was, and maybe realises that in life it's not about the amount of material possessions, it's how much love you can show others.

  • Colourscape

    Colourscape said 4 years ago

    What a great article. We spoke about this issue over Christmas lunch yesterday and it was really thought provoking. I'm expecting our first bub in 2012 and I want to find that happy balance with her to say that it's great to receive but it's even better to give, a trait that a lot of people (adults and kids) have forgotten these days. As a kid, that's what I grew up knowing, and as adult, having worked in big box retail for 16 years and watching consumerism at its worst, that thought is still cemented in me.

  • needleandfelt

    needleandfelt said 4 years ago

    Sweet little video. Teaching our children to have a giving heart is a wonderful thing. Thank you for your article and sharing about your son; I can tell you love him very much!

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 4 years ago

    Great post and lovely video!

  • AbsoluteJeanius

    AbsoluteJeanius said 4 years ago

    As soon as a child can understand receiving a gift, he or she is old enough to participate in giving a gift. My parents involved us in selecting gifts for our siblings and each of our parents when we were still so young we were lifted up to hand the cashier a coin or two before the parent paid the balance. We were encouraged to pick flowers, draw pictures, give pretty stones and the like as gifts. When there were drives for various charities, we were asked if we had any money in our banks to add to whatever Mom gave the volunteer canvassing the area. I have encouraged my sons to be givers too. The world needs more generosity.

  • AbsoluteJeanius

    AbsoluteJeanius said 4 years ago

    As soon as a child can understand receiving a gift, he or she is old enough to participate in giving a gift. My parents involved us in selecting gifts for our siblings and each of our parents when we were still so young we were lifted up to hand the cashier a coin or two before the parent paid the balance. We were encouraged to pick flowers, draw pictures, give pretty stones and the like as gifts. When there were drives for various charities, we were asked if we had any money in our banks to add to whatever Mom gave the volunteer canvassing the area. I have encouraged my sons to be givers too. The world needs more generosity. To the poster who mentioned hoping his/her child would one day realize that the aspects of giving are more important than the material loot children receive... Children don't realize those things - we have to teach them directly. With my sons, whose cousins got tons of loot, we pointed out that we preferred to spend time together and enjoy each other. We asked them to name what they had received the previous year and of course they couldn't - then we asked them to recall the movies we'd watched as a family and they could, instantly. We used that to highlight the importance of sharing time together, creating memories. The boys are grown now, but they are generous and caring and understand the importance of people over things.

  • NancysGarden

    NancysGarden said 4 years ago

    Thank you Caleb for your article and your caring about who your son is becoming. Our children are all grown and we have many grandchildren. As our children grew, we attended our Christian based church all year round. I am proud that religion was and is a large part of our lives. At Christmas time we would choose a family in need of a little help. (We didn't have a lot either) Many years we did the 12 days of Christmas. Our four children would take turns sneaking the gifts onto the families' porch without getting caught. We taught them that service to others usually means sacrifice. (It;s not convenient, it takes time etc. but you are lifting someone else by caring and doing). They were always so excited to deliver the gift. They also helped plan and make and bake the gifts. Our children drew names for each other. I watched them as they planned what to give a sister or brother. They would make or buy (with their own money) the perfect gift for that sibling. This is good because they listened to each other as they expressed wants, needs and desires. They also helped each other - teamwork. They learned to care about those around them and not be self absorbed. Now click to present day: These children are grown with families of their own. I watch as they take care packages to people in need. I watched as a daughter took chairs to a family who had no chairs and sat on the floor to eat and do homework. I watched another daughter take a family a bed when she knew the parents slept on the floor on an old futon mattress with the spring sticking through. This last spring, my 15 year old grandson was losing his eyesight to a disease. He needed surgery immediately or he would be blind. The expense and travel to the specialist was overwhelming. These siblings kicked in to gear, had fundraisers and got the money needed. The sacrifice and giving of our children and many, many kind - selfless people saved the sight of a 15 year old. We need to be gracious when receiving also and keep in mind that we need to pay it forward whenever we have the opportunity. I believe that if you practice giving all of your life - it is a natural thing and doesn't have to be thought about to much. If you see a need - just do something. It doesn't have to be grand - just do what you can. Thanks and Merry Christmas! Nancy

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 4 years ago

    Wonderful post!

  • LavenderField

    LavenderField said 4 years ago

    Giving selflessly without expecting anything back is a great gift :0)

  • KBDesignOriginals

    KBDesignOriginals said 4 years ago

    One of the easiest ways to teach our children to give is to be willing to receive what they give us, and to let them know it is appreciated. My mother taught me to see the wonder in the world, and I have passed this on to my children, and we marvel together at a leaf, or a flower, or a cloud, and I always accept what they give me as gifts and have treasured the hand made ones the most. Even now as adults they talk to me about gifts they can make for each other that will have meaning. They spend more time about thinking about the gift that is "just right" rather than if it cost as much as another one, because the just right gift is always treasured.

  • jibbyandjuna

    jibbyandjuna said 4 years ago

    As with any other identity/behavior/action/attitude/habit we have wanted to cultivate in out kids...we model it.

  • breadandroses2

    breadandroses2 said 4 years ago

    "Giving Miles an understanding for why we give gifts in the first place will hopefully help to ground him in humility and get him thinking beyond himself." Applicable not just to young children. Lots of so-called adults have lost, or perhaps never had, this perspective along the way. Thinking beyond one's self is at the heart of nearly all spiritual traditions. Good post.

  • sianykitty

    sianykitty said 4 years ago

    can't wait to hear about Miles' first gift giving next year!

  • nicciwd40

    nicciwd40 said 4 years ago

    Very nice post! I will remember this when I start having children.

  • TheCreativeTree

    TheCreativeTree said 4 years ago

    Wonderful post!! Giving is the all-time meaning of Christmas. People shouldn't give gifts just because it's "apart of the holiday"...instead we should give out of love. (: Thanks for posting!!!

  • silversamba

    silversamba said 4 years ago

    Gift giving is one of my favorite things to do - great post!

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    OnlyOriginalsByAJ said 4 years ago

    Great post! And so true! I don't have any kids, but I do have an amazing 2 year old nephew. This past Christmas we had him had out some gifts and made sure that he understood that the presents were just for him. I'm not sure if he totally grasped the idea, but he sure did say Thank you a lot and he watched us open our gifts and smiled when we said thank you to him. And he gave lots of hugs, which was the best present of all :)

  • RetroKittenVintage

    RetroKittenVintage said 4 years ago

    This is a beautiful post. I m truly inspired and hope to carry this message into 2012 and beyond.

  • MissTessaMelissa

    MissTessaMelissa said 4 years ago

    My son is 5 years old this year, and we celebrate Christmas. I have always encouraged him to "give of yourself". I always remind him of the song "Little Drummer Boy" because it is about not having things to give to someone, but sharing what makes you special with others to make them feel good. I always tell him that the best gifts come from the heart, and not from the store. We make cookies together for people because he loves to bake with me. He loves to design (future architect, fingers crossed!), so he designed jewelry for his aunt this year. Every year I ask him what he feels makes him special, and how can he share that with people. Then, when the time comes around for his Christmas wish list to get turned in, there are more items on his "gifts to give" wish list than his own wants for himself.

  • kochimochi

    kochimochi said 4 years ago

    My parents always asked me what i wanted to give to people for Christmas/Birthdays. I would talk with them about what my friends and family enjoyed doing, wearing, or playing, and we would then talk about how much money I had for that person. When I would come back from a birthday party, they'd ask if I had fun, and if they liked their present. Things like "Yes, but i wish it were a little more special, she got a lot of lion king things" were said, and then the response of "As long as you thought she would like it, that's what's important. But if you want a more special present, we'll remember that next time we're getting her a present" was common. We gave away old clothing and toys to younger family members or goodwill, which taught me the joy of giving things too - I didn't need it any more, but somebody else can use it and will love it. Going to Goodwill with mom was a good one for this. I saw that tons of other people did the same thing, Mom would tell me about the store, how the money they make goes to helping people who don't have money get food and jobs and stuff, and the people sorting the donations always said thank you even though they weren't getting the things. So now, while I can, like many people, get a little greedy this time of year and think of the presents, I enjoy the act of Christmas shopping. I worry that they won't like the presents I bought them, not that I won't get a present from them. I make gifts for people when I can, though my christmas present to myself is not killing myself with crafting. I buy handmade where I can, which always feels like a double-present, because I'm helping a fellow crafter, and giving a gift that I know can't be bought at the mall.

  • OneClayBead

    OneClayBead said 4 years ago

    One Hanukkah we had no money for presents, and so, after lighting candles, each person said something they wanted, something non-material, like to be on the honor role, to have deeper friendships, etc. The rest of us visualized that wish coming true. Many unspoken longings and desires were expressed, and we all became better cheerleaders for each other afterwards. We had a stronger family, continued to ask about and support each others goals, and most of the wishes had materialized by the next year. This taught me something about gift giving, which is to cease making it so significant. In the end, what you give doesn't matter, it is the joy, caring, and being present to each other as you gift each other that makes a difference.

  • UnlockingInfinity

    UnlockingInfinity said 4 years ago

    In my house all the kids make presents for everyone, which makes seeing the joy of the person receiving the gift even more fun than opening your own presents.

  • Melissababycreations

    Melissababycreations said 4 years ago

    Lovely post! I couldn't agree more about a homemade gift!

  • feltstories

    feltstories said 4 years ago

    great !!

  • TASClm

    TASClm said 4 years ago

    Well said:)

  • FishCreek

    FishCreek said 4 years ago

    We start the 'giving season' when Advent begins - December 1. In our Advent cupboard, each day has an activity slip to be done that day: "Make a treat for the wild birds," "Call someone you love," "Gather toys for charity," "make a card for Grammy" etc . . . so the entire month is sprinkled with giving activities. We also adopt an angel from a local 'Angel Tree' each year and make a fun shopping day to buy items for this child who we do not know. Lastly, the family childrens' gift exchange involves homemade gifts - with special thought put into what would make each person happy. This way, our month is filled with acts of giving and thoughtfulness . . . we don't make a big production of it. We just do it. . . and I believe a giving spirit has been internalized as each child grows. This fall, my daughter said "I want to start a business and make money for kids who don't have what they need to live." The lessons of her lifetime were made made circle when she began selling potholders on my Etsy shop (Fish Creek) and sending the money to a childrens' charity. I really believe that children learn what they live. So if we want to instill a giving, loving spirit in our children . . . it is pretty simple. Live it! Don't fake it for the holidays, don't teach it or preach it . . . just live it :)

  • morgandebra

    morgandebra said 4 years ago

    Thank you Caleb for sincerely considering your childs perceptions of this Holiday Season and fostering an inner spiritual pursuit of the awsome act of giving. By the way you are not an amateur! Realizing Truth and applying it to yourself and young child does not an amature make! This is called wisdom...which many young parents do not have today. This is the alltruistic spiritual realizaion of man/woman ie man, wo-man kind isn't amaturistict; in fact a total realization of the spiritual realm, a very large part of us all. Your child and spouse are truely blessed!

  • bazketmakr

    bazketmakr said 4 years ago

    love it! Thank you for your thought provoking message.

  • BroccoliHouse

    BroccoliHouse said 4 years ago

    Very interesting post ! =)

  • RossLab

    RossLab said 4 years ago

    Well said!

  • mattyhandmadecrafts

    mattyhandmadecrafts said 4 years ago

    My compliments for this one!

  • HoneyAndFigStudio

    HoneyAndFigStudio said 4 years ago

    After reading many of the personal accounts in the comments section, I can't help but wonder if the emphasis on giving 'handmade' presents as young children (whatever the occasion might be!) somehow precluded us for creative work later in life - whether our shops are hobbies or full time jobs. So many important lessons can be instilled when gift-giving is used as a teachable opportunity :)

  • MissHildebrandt

    MissHildebrandt said 4 years ago

    Best post I found this morning. After having a new little child (2) and receiving the gift of 'cable' I truly believe TELEVISION should be absent during the holidays. Very pushy the media was this year... 'gimme gimme gimme'

  • adessojewelry

    adessojewelry said 4 years ago

    Great post, Caleb! And, the video is adorable :))

  • bythecoco

    bythecoco said 4 years ago

    impressive video! great!

  • KaiceJoy

    KaiceJoy said 4 years ago

    Great post. I think it can be challenging to instill in kids the idea of giving rather than getting! My kids are so bombarded by "things" they should "get," but I keep trying to emphasize that Christmas is a season to give! Our tradition for giving is to bake tons and tons of different kinds of cookies as a family, and then we give them away as gifts! I think it helps reinforce the idea of giving. Thanks for your post, Caleb. Good thoughts.

  • LittleGreenCaravan

    LittleGreenCaravan said 4 years ago

    some of the sweetest presents i have ever received have been from kids! my boss's daughter gave me a pine cone covered in glitter... a christmas hedgehog if you will! it was so cute and she was so pleased with herself! great gift satisfaction on both parts!!

  • dharma8designs

    dharma8designs said 4 years ago

    That was beautifully put. I don't have kids of my own, but knowing there are parents like you out there gives hope for the future. Some of my most cherished gifts come from small, creative hands.

  • clipitshairbows

    clipitshairbows said 4 years ago

    Thank you for posting this. Growing up from another country, Christmas is celebrated differently. It was never centered on material things. Now, that I have my own child, I sometime shake my head or think to myself 'what am i doing?' The awareness of this doesn't stop me from teaching her modesty. When I read your post it I thought of myself this afternoon while I was sorting my daughter's toys. She has enough but the enough is just still too much. In my opinion, when one have too much, one tend to take things for granted. Hence, there's less creativity.

  • Paperstarz

    Paperstarz said 4 years ago

    Beautiful post. Brought tears to my eyes. Gifts of love, gifts that show appreciation and love. And they can come from anywhere. I do not like to teach my 12 yr old that a gift is anything in particular or where it should come from. Instead I try to teach her that a gift is something very special, very personal and it sometimes has nothing to do with you. I think a lot of people forget this part, because it is really easy to forget and we want to get a gift that you would like to get them or you think they should get or need. But really the most important thing is to keep the person in mind. What would HE or SHE like? What do they need? What do they want. Anytime of the year, gifts of love and peace, and appreciation and gratitude have no time of the year. They can come from the store, from the flea mall, or a thrift store or you can make them at home; as long as it if filled with your love and thoughts of this person it will be a perfect gift. It can be a hand-written letter. This year my daughter wrote me a letter telling me how much she loves me and appreciates everything I do for her. How she wishes to be able to return everything I have given her one day. It couldn't have been more perfect and honest. A beautiful, beautiful gift. Although, she does not seem to realize that I do what I do because I love her and I want nothing in return, but it humbles me to know that she loves me enough to notice and want to re-pay everything that I have given her: love, attention, advice and affection. She will forever be my perfect gift.

  • lindaalfred2000

    lindaalfred2000 said 4 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this, lots of information.

  • carolhopkins1

    carolhopkins1 said 4 years ago

    Thank you for a wonderful post. I try to set the example for my children and grandchildren. We gift all year long - for no reason- other than the love of one another. Celebrate every day!

  • ferrijoe

    ferrijoe said 4 years ago

    What is the perfect gift? Some parents behave towards giving of themselves as though it is a commodity. We all, as children, have the capacity for limitless love because our true nature is like nuclear energy. It just radiates and cannot be snuffed out. Somewhere along the way it gets re-purposed as we assume all the roles we think we're expected to play in life. Without an open dialogue with our own hearts how can we expect our children to find true happiness in theirs?

  • tableclothpad

    tableclothpad said 4 years ago

    Is so nice post.

  • FlingaOnEtsy

    FLINGA from FlingaOnEtsy said 4 years ago

    Shopping "the most popular cultural tradition", haha, put a smile on my face but it is so true... and giving is a good thing, stressing the gesture behind it, the thought that has gone in to it!

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