New Takes on Gift-Giving (November 20)

Do the children in your life have enough video games, plastic toys and gadgets? You can be a star gift-giver while also encouraging the values of charity, kindness, and compassion by choosing a more thoughtful path. Here are creative gift ideas that teach the kids on your list about giving. This year, choose gifts that reflect your family's priorities and values -- and that make your recipient feel good, too!

  • Big-Hearted Families Book Club: This gift will transform family night into a lively, book-centered kindness practice. Each month your recipient will receive a book, recipe and craft activity all centered on a special theme. Appropriate for children ages 4-8. Order subscriptions from Doing Good Together.
  • Charity Gift Cards: This novel gift benefits the giver, receiver and charities, too. The idea is that you supply the funds, and the child on your gift list chooses the charitable recipient. Children learn to determine their charitable interests, evaluate charities and make wise giving choices. The various options for purchasing these cards are listed here.
  • “Share, Save, Spend” Banks: This organization promotes various banks to teach children about money management, including the value of charitable giving. Check out the S3 Bank Kit, Moon Jars, and Money Savvy Pig. Or make your own collecting system with some empty jars.
  • Tzedakah Box: "Tzedakah" is the Hebrew word for righteousness, fairness or justice. Traditionally Jewish families keep a Tzedakah Box in their home to collect money for charity. Whether you're Jewish or not, a charity box is a fun way to encourage giving. Your family could also consider making “giving boxes" to give as gifts.
  • Kindness bracelets: Buy two of these bracelets for each child in your life – one to keep and one to share! These are perfect stocking stuffers.

Talk to your child:

  • What kind of gifts do you most like to give? To receive?
  • What’s great about gift giving? What can be hard about it?

Book to share: The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau. Ages 4-8. A very talented seamstress makes beautiful quilts for people who are poor and homeless. When the king decides he must have one, she tells him he must give away everything, and then she will give him a quilt. In the process of shedding his many possessions, the king finds true happiness.