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Loving Your Siblings with Giving Gifts - Issue 275
November 17, 2012
Hi there! ....

What a busy week! On Sunday we experienced taking a baby to church – something we haven’t done for a very long time!! We were helping out a friend so had baby for the day. It is good for the kids, especially Daniel, to have a baby around again. We babysat her another day too and Naomi kept laughing at me as she reckons I like having a baby around. Well, yes, it did make me take the day slower – there aren’t many other options are there!!

Live life with your kids!

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Loving your Sibling with Giving Gifts

It won’t be long before I start seeing signs on the door to our family room saying “Mum, Do Not Enter” as our kids start to work on making gifts for Christmas. This is the only time we allow such unwelcoming signs to go on our doors. The kids delight in finding creative ways to get their message across!

Christmas and Birthdays are two times that we traditionally exchange gifts in our home. We have encouraged our kids to give to one another from a very young age. Much like having to teach our kids to be gracious winners and brave losers we need to teach them to be thankful receivers and generous givers. The family becomes the best opportunity to teach these heart lessons.

Though I like the idea of kids making gifts, when they were young I struggled to find the time and emotional space to deal with the mess, so I set a budget and we went looking for small gifts for them to give each other. Sometimes I took them to the shops but sometimes I went ahead of them, bought a selection of suitable ideas, and set up shop in my bedroom for each of them. Anything left over went into our gift box for their friends for the coming year.

Once they had the skills to make things they started making more gifts. I encouraged this – in fact one year I insisted that all gifts would be handmade. Another year I bought all materials needed for handmade gifts but if they wanted to buy a gift they needed to fund that for themselves with extra chores or paid work.

One of the people it is tricky for my kids to make a gift for is myself. I am the person that teaches them the skills needed to make things so it is a bit hard for them to make me something and keep it a surprise. Sometimes Peter is available to help, other times my kids have gone to their surrogate Grandma and she either helped them make something or took them shopping. Another year they called on an elderly lady in the church who helped them fine tune a few techniques needed for their chosen projects. One year I did a swap with a friend. I had her kids here and we worked on the gifts they were making for her, and then she had my kids for a day and helped them.

One other thing that we have done to help our kids make presents for each other is to have a few ‘workshop’ nights. We have a simple dinner, Christmas music playing throughout the house, we allow for a slightly later bedtime and we spend the evening each working on our creative projects.

We live in a day and age where our kids are likely to get plenty of presents as it is and so it is easy to make excuses and not worry about siblings giving gifts to each other. Excuses like:

  • We’ve run out of time to help them do something worthwhile
  • The kids have too much stuff anyway, and a handmade gift is just more junk
  • We don’t have the skills to help our kids

I think we need to get our eyes off the gift itself and see what the gift represents. We give a gift because we love and appreciate the other person, because we want to show them in some way that they are special to us. This alone would be a good reason to encourage the exchange of gifts between siblings.

So as Christmas draws close – and if you are a family that exchanges gifts – can I encourage you to start thinking now about these few things:

  1. Are your kids used to the idea of giving gifts themselves – or do they just sign off on the card that goes with your gift? When you give a gift to someone you actually pause to think about what the other person would like, or what they need. You are thinking of the other person. This is certainly something we need to encourage between our children.
  2. As your kids plan to make gifts you are encouraging new skills – wood work, embroidery, cooking, computer work, gardening etc. Most of our ‘school time’ in December is spent making gifts. For those who go to school making gifts can be a good focus for weekends and/or after school finishes for the year.
  3. If you are buying gifts you have the opportunity to talk about money and the value of the things we buy. You can also teach into the situation encouraging your kids to earn the money they need to buy gifts.

Giving unique, individual, and affordable gifts is a learnt skill for most people and the more practiced our kids become the better they will be as adults. Gifts don’t have to be expensive, handmade, or big but generally speaking gifts will build your relationships so it is a worthwhile concept to think about.

Many of you would be familiar with the idea of Love Languages of which giving gifts is one. But I’d like to say that each and every way we express love is a gift – you give a gift of touch, time, service, words, or a present/gift. Either way we are telling the person that we love them. Keep this idea in your mind as you start to create your gift list for this year, and as you talk to your kids about how they can strengthen their love for each other by giving gifts.

I blog throughout the week at Live Life with Your Kids! This week I've written:

My Bookshop

Restoring the Heart, Mind and Soul of Christmas Do your Christmas celebrations line up with what you believe? Do your celebrations help your children learn more about Jesus?

This e-book is based on a workshop I held for a couple of years to help families see that Christmas can be a significant tradition in our family life. If we are intentional about how our family celebrates we have the opportunity to use this time to teach our children about Jesus, and his love for each one of us.

Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.

Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.

My Sitemap is a quick reference to all you will find on Lifestyle-Homeschool. I encourage you to have a browse around!

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter

Live life with your Kids newsletter is about being a deliberate parent, about enjoying family life and using the opportunities that happen to teach and train your children in righteousness (right living with God). I hope that you will find regular encouragement as you live life with your kids!

The newsletter will also keep you updated with all additions to Lifestyle-Homeschool

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