Getting & Giving During the Holidays
“What I found with more affluent families is that they were spending so much time and energy trying to provide the goods, and the good life for their children, they often neglected the effort to bring out the goodness in children.” -Robert Coles, The Moral Intelligence of Children (Random House, 1997)
Written by: Bright Horizons
- Even though you may be able to afford gifts for children, try not to get in the habit of buying your child something every time you go in a store, even if it is just gum or candy they want.
- When you are shopping and allow your child to buy something, avoid giving your child too many choices. When you go to a store, try letting your child make a selection just from the book aisle or the arts and crafts area.
- Actively teach your children as they mature that media advertising is trying to shape our thinking to want more and more.
- Make quality family time the major holiday goal that children look forward to, even in shopping expeditions. For example, adding breakfast or lunch at a restaurant to your shopping trip can become its own cherished tradition.
- Moderate the shopping goals to the energy and developmental level of your child. Encourage your child to give to a child in need through Toys for Tots or other similar programs, and include that in the shopping goals.
- Encourage grandparents to show some restraint, perhaps giving gifts of time or piggy-bank savings.
- As a family, model restraint and sharing with the less fortunate through local programs to aid the impoverished and homeless here and in other countries. If you don’t have a favorite charitable organization, consider The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children. The Bright Spaces program creates play spaces for children who live in homeless shelters.
- Collect clothing or personal items and donate them to a local shelter for the homeless.
- Make favors, scrapbooks, napkin rings, or crafts for a special occasion to donate to a local children’s hospital.
- “Adopt” a senior citizen and help him or her with necessary chores or visit an elder care home.
- Plan or cooperate with existing paper drives or other recycling endeavors.
- Collect food for local food banks.
- Make greeting cards for people in a veteran’s hospital or other health care facilities.
- “Adopt” a service person stationed overseas, collect items and send them a gift box.
- Make toys, games, or crafts for a child care center or pediatric unit of a hospital.