Monday, November 17, 2014

Deliberate Gift Giving

 I LOVE this time of year! There are so many reasons I love November, but one that I find especially fun is that this is the month I do all of my Christmas shopping. I always try and wrap all of our shopping up by Cyber Monday. I like to have all of my shopping done by the start of the Christmas season so that I can spend time with my family enjoying all the other wonderful activities the season brings.

Christmas shopping for my children is one of my all time favorite things to do. Maybe because it's the only time of the year I've ever really been able to buy them gifts??? Whatever the reason may be, I look forward to it all year long. Over the years I have found that Christmas shopping for my kiddos naturally lends itself to a thoughtful evaluation of how each of the children are doing physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally. It's been a great time to remind myself of both the short term and long term goals I have for my each of my children individually. This is where the deliberate gift giving comes in.

As I think of an individual child's interests and what he may be struggling with, I try and give gifts that will help him along his short term and long term eternal path. For example, I want my daughters to love and throughly enjoy mothering. Because of this goal, I have tried to give gifts that inspire and cultivate this desire. My mother often told me that she always felt it was her responsibility, as a mother, to help her children identify their talents and then help them to develop those talents. As my children have gotten older, it has been important to give gifts that help them enhance their talents and interests. For example, my two oldest children play the violin and cello. To help them further develop this talent, they will each be receiving fun music they enjoy to play on their respective instruments.

This is often so much easier said than done! As my children have gotten older, they have been more influenced by the passing fads and whims of a very commercialized world. It has been very tempting to buy my oldest son the latest and greatest gaming system, but as I step back and look at the long term goals, the question becomes, 'Will this gift really help him with his physical/spiritual/emotional/mental well being?' Now, don't get me wrong, we have a gaming system and we ALL love to play it! :) I just don't feel that, this year, using our allocated Christmas money for this purchase would help our son in the long term.

Now you are probably thinking we are mean parents who never get our kids what they really want, they are just kids after all and not everything should be about reaching goals! When our oldest was very young we set the rule that he could ask for one thing from Santa each year (it was all we could afford at the time) and we didn't want his gift list to breed greediness. This rule has stuck and that one request must be in writing to Santa no later than Black Friday, with no mind changing after that! ;) Our kids almost always get the one thing they ask for, in fact I can't think of a time they haven't. With their other few gifts they receive, I try to find something they would adore within the realm of what will strengthen them either spiritually, physically, mentally or emotionally.

So, I return to where I started. I love this time of year, because it offers up  a time to reflect on each child's progress, talents, interests, needs etc. and then allows me to find small gifts that will encourage their short and long term growth and well being.

Happy Christmas Shopping!

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