Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gifts of Christmas

Christmas time! My favorite time of year. A season that we can surround everything we  do with the birth of our savior. The opportunities for teaching kids this time of year is never-ending. I love pulling out the lights and handmade crafts by my kids to put on display, the fire department would cringe at the level of candles and lights throughout my home. After all the decorations have been hung and the traditions are in place, that leaves the gifts. In a season of giving, I absolutely love to get gifts for others. As I talk to parents every year during this time I am asked for recommendations. By tradition we do a family gift, something we can do together. So here is a list of ideas, gifts that are unusual and possibly irreplaceable that you can do as parents or even pass to the grand kids.

1. A Family Year Book
 (This falls under that irreplaceable type gift)
Take your favorite pictures from throughout the year and send in for a book. Best of all, the photos are printed onto the hardcover bound book, so they won't age. You can get as creative or simple as you like, and as small or large as you like. I make one for our family and someday my kids will take them, we also make a copy for the grandparents. This can even be a great gift for those hard to buy for teenagers or for homesick college students.

2. Families that play together
 Yes! I love anything that gets the family moving as a unit! And after the holidays we all usually say we need more exercise. What about a family gift of new bikes? New basketball hoop and everyone gets their own ball? Our family has a new pool table, so personalized cue sticks are something I am hunting for.

3. The gift of sports
 Did you know that most stadiums, arenas and locations where pro-teams play offer private tours? Not quite the economy to spend hundreds of dollars on pro game tickets, but maybe your kids are sports fans. On average tours are about $15 a person and kids get to discover every nook and cranny of these places including their favorite athlete's locker!

4. Game night
 Our kids love to play board games. But as they have gotten older our games have become outdated. So a wicker chest full of updated games is a great gift! If you don't have a "no TV" family game night, then a basket of games, and popcorn would be an easy way to add it to your new year!

5. The gift of giving
 A family I know will adopt a child from compassion international this year. This is actually something they choose to do at Christmas as a family. Their plan is to have the kids write letters and celebrate this child all year. I love this idea! In our home we adopt a child from the local children's home, but there are many ways that this could be done. Down to wrapping up a sum of money and the gift being letting the children how to decide to use it in a giving sense. Children who are actively involved in the decision making tend to have an ownership of this process.

Hopefully these give you a few ideas. In a world that we as Americans have so much, it's become a love to find things we can give to our children that will create lasting memories and moments that strengthen our family rather than items that will never make it out of a toy box. My children are 10 and 16 this year. They still find crazy joy in picking their yearly ornament for the tree that will someday become the starter collection for their own family. It's amazing to watch them shop for our "adopted" Christmas child and seeing them want to get everything on their list out of love. I truly believe that the investments made, when based on the knowledge that God gave us Jesus who then gave everything (His life) as an example for how we give of ourselves, make times like Christmas pure joy in giving.

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