Gift Giving Guidelines for Kids
There are only a few more days left until the big guy loads his sleigh and makes the long trek to kids’ houses everywhere… filling their stockings and leaving wonderful surprises underneath the tree. It’s pretty exciting for me to be part of the Santa experience, and I really, HONESTLY, don’t mind not getting credit for some of the great things the children will get.
Kids though, just like grown-ups like to play Santa too. Once kids reach the age of five or six and see that money has value and what you can DO with money, it’s only natural that they want a piece of the action too.
By that I mean shopping. Every year my kids take part in a “Santa Secret Shop” at school. We give them a set dollar amount and let them shop for family. While I don’t always agree with some of the items available for shopping (we’re not talking high quality Quartz Crystal here), I think it’s a great way for the kids to get into the spirit of giving and it’s a fun way to see what THEY think you want for Christmas. They come home giggling with bags from their day of shopping, exclaiming, “Wait till you see what I got for you! You ARE GOING TO LOVE IT!” and off they run to hide the gifts in their rooms. Hubby and I usually get a chance to see everyone else’s gifts but our own and even help wrap if we’re asked to and every year, we are just as surprised as they said we would be.
Letting kids have a chance to shop for friends and family is a great way to get them involved in the spirit of giving. Even if there isn’t an opportunity like the Santa Shop that our kids have, you can still give your kids a chance to do some shopping of their own.
Give them a set dollar amount to spend. This is also a great aside for talking to them about the family finances. I suggest talking to your children about what they might want to buy for family members and unless you have a money tree, list out who they can shop for, otherwise they may assume they get to shop for everyone from the mailman to the family pets. When it comes to our children’s gift list, we let them know that they can shop for only the people who live in our house and then we will go together and pick out something for grandmas, grandpas, cousins, aunts and uncles together and put all our names on the tags. It works out well this way and then the kids don’t feel like they’re leaving anyone off their gift list.
Discount stores and dollar stores are perfect for letting the kids shop for inexpensive items. Help them keep track of what they’re spending and realize that you might have to chip in a dollar or two to cover tax. Remember to respect their right to shop on their own and don’t hover over them while they’re shopping but don’t let them roam on their own either. Try not to peek in case they’re picking out something for you.
Letting your children shop for their own gifts to give will help build their independence and make them feel like they are a part of the season of giving.
Of course if you don’t have the extra money to shop and spend, suggest some things that you can make at home and give to loved ones. They'll still learn independence and pride from making something of their own to give. Often times, homemade gifts are the best ones to give and get!