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Gifts to Last a Lifetime

Posted Nov 29 2010 3:49pm

Kitty Vanzant manages a resource page for teachers of grades 6 – 12.

volunteering at a soup kitchen

As the month to honor the holiday symbols and gifts from Kwanzaa, to Hanukkah, to Christmas , December is a season of reflection, of miracles, and of giving.

Though some say the economic recovery  is not as sluggish as many believed, unemployment persists .  This year, our family is digging deeper into our imaginations than our wallets – focusing less on “things” and more on intangible gifts:  

• Hope—A small, thoughtful gesture to others when times are hard gives as much to the giver as to the recipient. A young officer in Iraq on Christmas Eve  made sure to “play Santa” for his homesick soldiers by stuffing their boots with the contents of his care packages from home .

• Values—Model the behaviors you want in your children. Don’t go into debt at holiday time. After Santa leaves a lighter load around the tree, decide as a family how to  help your church, or a local charity; your gift need not be monetary .

• Time— What can we each give family member that costs only time? Stay with the baby so the new parents can go out? Refinish a piece of furniture? Work with a child to help with spring gardening, or paint the garage? 

• Reading—Choose a book with special significance for each child at holiday time, or subscribe to a magazine according to interest. Both will motivate young readers ! Limit TV and electronic game time. Suggest a book you’ve read, then talk about it together.

• Traditions—Enjoy friends and neighbors by attending the signature seasonal events in your community. Give tickets to something you can do together .  Share the special foods or customs that connect a family, and link generations.

• Memories—The more of these you make together, the more will be retold as family lore, oral history, or perhaps become the basis of a book .                                                                        

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