By Natalie Maughan
I love the holidays for the focus it brings on family and service to others. But the holidays always seem to be a barrage of Black Friday sales and Amazon Daily Deals constantly streaming in through email and news feeds and toy catalogs bombarding our mailbox. It’s hard for kids as well to not get swept up in the excitement of all the endless possibilities of presents they can acquire.
If you have a few kiddos and you want to help them focus on giving and serving each other rather than just working on their own personal Holiday Wish List, here are a few ideas of ways siblings can help spread holiday cheer to each other this holiday season. These are budget-friendly ideas as well to help mom and dad not break the bank and to teach kids that gifts don’t always come from an Amazon box on the front porch.
Here’s four holiday gift-giving ideas for siblings:
Regifting for Siblings
If you have really little ones, regifting is a GREAT way to save $$$ on toys. We have four kids, three of which are girls, and by the time girl #3 rolled around it was hard to find a girl toy we didn’t already own. When girl #3 was really little I would have my two older girls go through their toys and pick something they loved but didn’t play with anymore and let them wrap it up to give to their little sister. It was now little sister’s toy. No more, “She can’t play with it, it’s mine!” It’s now officially hers.
As two, three and four-year-old kids, they don’t care if it’s store-bought or recycled. In fact, my daughter loved the fact that she finally got an Elsa doll of her own and thought it was amazing that her older sister was kind enough to give it to her. The lessons learned here are priceless as well. The older siblings learn to give of themselves, which is a hard lesson to learn sometimes.
Family Gift Exchange
Another idea we have done in the past is to have all the kids draw names for Christmas gifts. We then give each of them $5 and make a family trip to Target. Dad takes two kids and Mom takes the other two. We then help them pick out a gift for their sibling that is $5 or under. They scout the toy section and the dollar bins (thank you Target dollar bins!!) and they have always been able to find something for each other. This helps them to focus on looking for gifts for someone else, not themselves.
I had a friend a few years ago that had a rule that all family gifts had to be handmade. They would sometimes spend a little more money on supplies, but it allowed mom and dad time with each kid to customize gifts for the family. We have done this a few times as well. One daughter sewed a bookmark for another daughter who loves to read. One daughter sewed a blanket for her sister’s doll. They picked out material and we got to work on the present together. You could also decorate picture frames or make a book for a sibling to be treasured for years.
Christmas Coupon Book
Another timeless gift-giving classic is always homemade coupons. Kids often give coupons to Mom and Dad for washing dishes, keeping their room clean, making Mom and Dad’s bed, etc. Try having your kids give coupons to each other: ‘I’ll be nice to you for a whole day’ (this one’s hard, I know), ‘You can use my paint set for a project’, ‘We can play Lego’s together one afternoon’, whatever they so choose. As a side-note: we’ve also given the kids coupons from mom and dad. Last year my husband printed coupons for each of the kids. They got to pick a day over the Christmas break to go have lunch with dad; just a little Daddy-Daughter time.
Gift-giving doesn’t need to break the bank. It’s important to help children learn that when we give to others, including our siblings, whether it be something of our own, a service, or a small gift, we feel good inside. This doesn’t just need to happen at Christmas; it can be done at birthdays or other holidays. We give our kids a lot of “things” these days but it’s important to not overlook the lessons they need to grow as compassionate, selfless members of the family. The holidays are the perfect time to give what matters most. Sit down with your kids and decide what they can give before deciding what they can get and watch the true magic of the holidays unfold.
What have you done with your kids over the holidays to help save some money and let the little ones give to others? What has worked for you? Let us know and leave a comment below.