It was a true gift of love. I can’t imagine how long it had taken him to make, fitted around his fulltime job and all the chores around the home, but I loved that doll’s house as much as I imagined he loved making it for me.
I remember another Christmas morning receiving Anne of Green Gables. Just one book, but what an adventure that began. My mother read it to me one chapter each night before I went to sleep. I can still remember getting to the final chapter and feeling as if I couldn’t wait until I found out what happened next. I had to wait until my birthday, three long months later, to get the next book and find out. Oh the anticipation!
Today Christmas has succumbed to the materialism that’s crept into every crevice of society. The planet is groaning with stuff. Our lives are cluttered with more possessions that we can ever use or manage. Children have more toys than they can truly value or appreciate and they are learning to want and expect more.
I often hear people say, “I don’t know what to buy him/her, there’s nothing they want or need”. I wonder if we’ve bought the materialistic mentality to such an extent that we can only think in terms of commodities.
I love to give largely 'intangible' gifts, gifts that fit a person’s personality and interests … that say, “I know you” … something unique and unexpected. It can be simple and inexpensive or cost according to your budget and limited only by your imagination.
A PROMISSORY NOTE – this note entitles you to …
- A weekend of my time to help with that special project
- Dinner for two, including me!
- A day out to do whatever you choose – I’ll be your chauffer
- A day or night’s babysitting (So parents can have some time to themselves)
- A candlelight dinner delivered to your door.
- A trip back to a childhood home or town
- An album of memories - stories of times you’ve shared together, written or in photos, revisiting a special place or experience you’ve had together. Children love this – photos of themselves with captions trumps any store-bought book.
CREATE A MEMORY
- Something handmade to keep and treasure, maybe it will become an heirloom
- A photo shoot with the images turned into a book to keep and remember - a beautiful gift for parents or grandparents.
GIVE AN EXPERIENCE – Give a homemade ‘gift certificate’ with clues to the experience, without disclosing the event. Date can then be arranged to suit and let the anticipation begin!
- Sharing a special picnic in a place of beauty, a day bushwalking, beach experience, a fishing trip, visit to a glowworm cave
- A farm gate trip, wine tasting, ghost tour, a cookery class, High Tea
- A treat at a new café or restaurant you’ve discovered
- Share a movie experience with the person’s favourite actors
- A weekend away in a tree house, a converted train or a camping trip
- A day at the Powerhouse Museum or Questicon – loved by children of all ages from 5+
Include children in creating some of the ideas, it will help them learn to give outside this materialistic society we live in and to learn to receive something other than 'stuff'. My grandchildren love to receive an adventure and throw themselves into working out the clues.
Whatever it is, make it about relationship.
“It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” Mother Teresa