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Some would say the best and most memorable parts of the holiday season have nothing to do with receiving gifts. I would have to agree with this. Nothing spells LOVE to a child like TIME does… and while physical objects are a part of that equation, the interactions with the people in our lives are most important.
There are many ways to give tangible gifts (which don’t include toys!) this Christmas – and all of them make memories which your child will carry with him always. Start with your people, mamas.
With that said… Here is a list to get you started thinking on gifts you can give your child which he will never forget…
Words of affirmation are powerful, and are something I try my best to include in everyday conversations with my boys. Words build us up, and affirmation is a necessity for children. Make sure your children and people know much you appreciate them, and speak life.
Art includes music, theater, painting – anything creative, truly. Create something for your loved ones, or better yet, create something with them. You will make memories and make a momento of a painting when you choose to create art and crafts with your children.
Children spell love T-I-M-E…. So give them your time and attention. Your kids will remember that more than the latest Hot Wheels (or whatever toy that’s actually popular today). Give your children your undivided love and attention… Actively paying attention to what they do and say, and do life together. Put down the phone, mama!
Compassion, sympathy, pity, concern for others who are suffering or walking through hardship and misfortune… We are called to live compassionate lives as people of faith. Teach this to your children, by living with compassion as a lens in your every day. And don’t forget to show compassion to them. Remember, we are all learning, every day. Show some grace.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. (Phil. 4:12) Because our society has such a contagious “need” for more, teaching contentment is even more valuable. This is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children – to appreciate and be content in who they are, what they have, and who they can become.
Curiosity leads to learning and growth. It is where all inventions and tools and creations you see around us began. Life would be dull and stuck in the past if it weren’t for curiosity. Teach your children to be curious, to ask questions, to look for more, and to seek who, what, where, how, why, and why not.
Words are incredibly powerful – they can build us up or tear us down. Piggybacking on affirmation above, share encouragement regularly with your children. This is truly such a gift. The words you speak today become their inner voice tomorrow. Choose wisely, and choose to encourage your children.
Teaching generosity to your children isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind, but it’s much needed. And such a gift. Teach your children to be generous with your stuff and gifts, so they will be generous with theirs. Life is well lived in community with other people, sharing our good gifts together… This can only be done while being generous.
Children who learn the value of honesty younger have a greater chance of being honest adults, who deal truthfully with others, tend to feel better about themselves, and enjoy their lives more. Honesty seeps into every area of life, so teach your children to be true to their values and to live with integrity. Your child will never forget that you were honest with them about life, what’s going on, how you treat them, what you say to them, and more.
Hope is often defined as knowing things will get better and improve. It’s holding on when things get tough. It’s motivation to take action for a better tomorrow. It creates strength, endurance, and resolve. It pushes us to press on. It’s assurance of tomorrow. Hope is found in Christmas in Jesus, in the manger, and we teach our children to hold on to hope by teaching them the love of Christ. What an impeccable gift.
Hugs and Kisses
Especially for children whose love language is physical touch, sharing hugs and kisses show a physical affirmation of your love for them. One is never too old for affection. Be sure your children know that you love them.
The gift I hope to never lose myself, and the gift I pray my boys never lose, is imagination. It tends to wane as the years go by, but it’s one that you will never regret sharing with your children (who also naturally have a bigger imagination!) Those with imagination as adults are the ones creating the future, not just thinking about it. Share some imaginative times with your children in play.. remember.. it’s how they spell love, too… t-i-m-e.
Being intentional is being purposeful in everything we do. Slow down, rest in who you are and where you are, and consider where you are going and how to get there. Live intentionally. And share this method with your children – it’s often found in (self)reflection.
A mother’s lap is the best place in the world for a story, a book, or a conversation. Give your child the gift of more of that, on purpose, this season. Connection happens in laps. You already have it!
An incredible gift to give your children is the love of lifelong learning. A prerequisite to this is perhaps a love of reading coupled with a gift of curiosity. But ultimately, a passion for learning begins at home – in how you read, ask questions, analyze, and expose things. Model this to your children, and naturally they will do the same. (Who do you want your kids to be?)
Love is patient, love is kind… We all are familiar with the famous love chapter. Love also has healthy boundaries to keep one safe, which can sometimes be the most loving things to do in a situation, for everyone’s good. Love is the greatest commandment, and we can shower our children with love each day. It’s truly the greatest gift – love came down to rescue us as a person, Jesus.
Sitting down for dinner each evening is a family rhythm that guarantees conversation, relationship, and growth. Meals are an opportunity for connection like no other. We truly get to know others when there is food involved! A family that eats together, grows together.. So give your children the gift of meals together every single day.
Being outside is important for everybody – for perspective, for fresh air, for rest. Being in nature boosts your mood and helps you be a better human. Children who learn to appreciate nature and the world around them in turn take better care of the world around them. It’s a win-win-win all around.
Where do all the inventions and improvements in the world come from? Optimists, that’s who. Not pessimists. Optimists change the world. Give your children the gift of optimism – looking for the bright side of life in all things. Naming the gifts, finding the light. You may just have a future world-changer on your hands, if you do!
A famous Fruit of the Spirit, peace and is a trademark of Christian life and values. Peace is known of freedom from disturbances which rob one of joy.. of tranquility. Teaching your child to make peace with the people and things around him (when it is safe or wise to do so) will guide him his entire life. For the people around you, well, it’s a good place to start.
Room For Mistakes
Nobody is perfect – looking at you, mama – and this includes your kids, too. Kids are kids, so let them be kids. They will make mistakes. It’s what makes life so fun, room for mistakes and growth. So give your child your patience, and give them room to learn, grown, experiment, and make mistakes. Let kids be kids!
A stable home becomes the foundation on which children build the rest of their lives. They need to know their place in the family, who they can trust, and who is going to be there for them. Be that stronghold, and give your children the gift of stability, in a safe, secure, loving home.
Children spell LOVE T-I-M-E. The gift of time is one you can never get back or take back. It is one things that is always ticking for everyone. Nobody knows how much time they have, truly, on this earth; We know it will keep ticking, but we don’t know when it will end. Sound dire? Well, it should cause you to really think… really think about who and what is getting your time. And give your kids the gift of TIME!
What else would you add to this list? What gifts do you still remember from your childhood?
~Katherine Newsom writes at Simple Natural Mama
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