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A Tradition of Giving Children Gifts of Love

As parents and families approach the holidays gifts are fun and yet stressful due to the amount of money most people feel they need to spend. Let’s review some ways you can make your children happy and not create stress or financial worry.

Historically, gifts given during the holidays were in honor of creation in life — whether that is freedom from tyranny, the birth of a master, or the end of the dark and beginning of light. In other words, gifts were an exchange of a spiritual honoring. Each family needs to come back to their religious or spiritual meaning with their children. Spiritually, gifts were useful and promoted the life of those who received them. If parents use that philosophy they can bring the kids to a different mindset about the types of gifts they will receive at this time of year.

American culture is based on spending and uses marketing to the children as a way to coerce families into spending money they may not have. We do not want to transition away from toys completely because they are the gifts that promote the life and creativity of the child. Furthermore, society pushes toys as gifts of expression and, so, the children would have an emotional reaction to the absence of gifts of this nature. I do, however, think by setting a very different stage based on love and growth, children will not compare their gifts to those children who do not have meaningful gifts for the holidays. That awareness must be set into the traditions.

Most parents think it is about setting expectations that are around their budget or against the expectations of “lots of toys”. Expectations, however, are like rules. Kids resist those. Parents may do better by couching the teachings in a learning of life and spiritual growth. The earlier they start the better. The family can benefit greatly from this because the parents also have to engage in the spiritual growth aspect of gift giving. When parents just set expectations it runs the risk of being one sided and financially based. More importantly it runs the risk of overlooking the child and their dreams that were involved in the request of particular gifts. This season is about life and love. That is a greater teaching for the kids than about money. This time of year can shift away from money if the parents stick to the spiritual and symbolic meanings of gifts at this holiday time. I am not suggesting avoidance but a clear definition of what the family is expressing.

Parents need to communicate openly about such a love- and life-giving time. Create a family tradition out of the way gifts are exchanged. Gifts can be given to fill a need or a desire of the receiver. The teachings may include such ideas as “Some gifts that you receive will fulfill a need. This can open you to feel what it is like to be in need and to receive the gift of support from others. It will open you to feel great gratitude for receiving the gift of what you need. Yet, some gifts you will receive are what you want and will allow you to feel the expression of You in this life. You will learn the gratitude of being supported in who you are. Remember, both your needs and your desires are critical to creating a life of fulfillment.” While parents are teaching through the years, they may also want to engage the children in giving gifts to those children who do not have. As parents, you may want to get a list of gifts needed for your local charity or foster home. Give the list to the children and ask what gift off the list they would like to give to a child in need. Donating toys to a drive is also good but may not be as personal an experience for the child.

I also think it is important for parents to be clear within their Selves why they wish to give the gifts they give. If they are giving a gift to support their budget, e.g., college fund money, and not because it is of the child’s interests then the idea of gift giving is altered.

Money is energy and is exchanged in one of two ways: fearfully or lovingly. This time of year it is shared lovingly until it moves into a place of greed and demand. Then it becomes fear oriented. This time of year is about love not money. The money is only the way in which we are able to purchase the gift for the other in order to celebrate this holiday season and show the love we share. Yet, media and corporations are all about spending and toys and mountains of gifts. If a parent talks about things being too expensive or says they do not have enough money or if parents overspend at this time, they are reinforcing all the media-based nonsense. Instead, let them be clear that the holidays will not be used to promote self-indulgence, greed, signs of being better than others or feeling good enough (all fear-based experiences). Keep these teachings in the forefront and the family will remain on a spiritual playing field during this holiday season.

An indirect way to teach about money would be to openly discuss the greed of companies and how it feels to be teased with endless dream gifts and to feel less-than if you do not receive everything you want. The core to spending money is to spend in ways that you can afford while believing you can grow your financial wealth to obtain the dream in the future. It is about delaying the gratification and being grateful along the way.

Using this time to gain leverage to teach an everyday financial lesson is as confusing to the children as it is to this time. Parents need to be teaching about money during the other 11 months and use this time to teach it is not about money but about gift giving. Furthermore, to teach about money takes the special experience away and makes it everyday. This season can be about love through the exchange of gifts for desire vs. need without being about money and money lessons. The parents need to learn to set a budget and decide what percentage they want to spend on gifts for need vs desire and then use the teachings to guide the children in that direction. The children will pick up on the teachings. The direct teachings can be done during the year.

I wish you all a beautiful loving holiday season filled with the gift of one another and a few more “things”!

1 Comment »

  1. This is a great post, Kristen! For the last few years, I’ve handed my daughter the Season to Share section of the Palm Beach Post and asked her to pick two people she’d like the family to donate to.

    After reading your post, I realize we need to have a family discussion around it and do more.

    Thanks again for your ideas and inspiration!

    Comment by Margie Fisher

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Kristen Bomas, PA
398 Camino Gardens Blvd., Suite 104
Boca Raton, Fl 33432


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