To a large extent the holidays have come to be more about materialism than the original values of peace, harmony, and faith. Advertisers hit us from all sides with messages of greed and pettiness. Every media outlet is rife with the idea, “buy this, or they wont love you.”
In such an age, it is important to remind the children about the true meaning of the season. This can be done, to some extent, by helping them to build their own gifts to give to others, and teaching them what the true value of a gift is. This has several major benefits.
1. In building the gift you will be spending time with the child doing something constructive.
2. It will teach them the value of money. The item they buy would have to be made just like the item they make themselves. Money doesn’t just appear it has to be earned, and then traded. So money is trading work, for work.
3. It will engage their imaginations and creativity.
4. The gift they create will be much more meaningful, and you should let them know that.
As you can see, there are a ton of benefits to having your child build a gift themselves. At a young age this is obvious, but even as they grow older and into their teens this should be something you encourage.
Building a gift is easy. Different levels of skill can accomplish different things of course, but the mediums are fairly similar across all ages.
You can encourage the child to make you a card or a picture. You can give them clay or plaster and let them sculpt. Or you can suggest they write you a poem, or a story, or frame some nice pictures they take.
You should play to the child’s interests. If you get them started on an art form for a single project, it could click and give them a hobby for years to come, while expanding their horizons. Try and get them to be creative, and stretch their limits. Most important of all, be encouraging, the child is a new artist, and so will be hesitant about their work. This is your chance to help their self esteem at the early stages of a new craft.
Joey Lewitin is an author and designer of fine gifts and furnishings, which are on display sat http://pebblez.com/
Photo Credit: Anita Patterson