Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gift Giving with Kids

With Christmas right around the corner, I’m pondering the purpose of gift giving and how to teach that to my children.  It seems to me that as much as the gifts we give are intended to please the recipient, they are more importantly intended to convey our love and affection.  Surely that’s the primary purpose?  Without thinking it through, that’s how I’ve always approached the issue of having the kids give gifts to family members, and so the gifts have always been something the child has made or purchased with her own money.  Always the gift has been the child’s choice, although I provide suggestions.  Sometimes they’ve been ugly because the taste of small children differs greatly from mine; mostly they’ve been useful because I encourage that. 

This year my two oldest (7 and 5) took it upon themselves to start Christmas shopping early in the fall, when I was thinking of Christmas shopping, and so with their own money they bought gifts for grandparents, aunts, and uncles.  I’ve been remiss this year in coming up with tangible Christmas gift projects for those they didn’t buy for or for the third child, so now I have to scramble a bit, but that’s my omission.  I’m thrilled that the older two thought of the gifts on their own, decided what to buy, and that they considered it important to have a gift from themselves to give, and that in their own way they even considered what the recipients would like.
From my perspective right now, I think they’ve learned the gift giving lessons I would want them to learn.  Are there other lessons to be had here that I should be considering as well?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Advent Jesse Tree

I have previously posted our plan or schedule for observing Advent and then Christmas.  This year, since our kids are older, we’re adding in a true Jesse Tree observance.  We use the devotions in The Advent Jesse Tree during breakfast each day, then sometime later in the day the kids use assorted craft supplies to make a symbol related to that day’s story to hang on their "tree".  (The trees are construction paper creations taped to the shutters in the kitchen.)  I don’t provide a lot of input into how the symbols should be constructed, although for my 3yo I do sometimes cut out a shape for him if he asks me to.  I also sometimes provide general suggestions for ways a symbol might be constructed, but mostly the project is theirs.  I’ll try to post a picture later in the season, since the "trees’ are turning out to be quite interesting.

Our Jesse Trees 2008