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Christmas wish tree: Give the gift of time and love to children this Christmas

Once again, it is time to think about Christmas presents. Children are naturally the most important recipients of gifts.

Why do you give presents?

In order to ensure that the gift selection process is a smooth one, first think about why you want to give presents to a child at Christmas. There may be a number of very different reasons. Maybe you are giving presents because it is a tradition. Perhaps you come bearing gifts in order to ease your conscience because you have not spent enough time with your child, or you tend to select the most expensive presents because you are afraid of causing disappointment if they are smaller or simpler. Underlying such trepidation may be the subconscious fear that you are not a good enough parent to your child.

Christmas time is also an opportunity to give an expensive as well practical gift to your child. Another good reason to give gifts is simply to make your child happy.

If you want your gifts to bring joy to your child, you should also think in terms of the dimension of time. Some presents give short-lived pleasure, only to be quickly forgotten. However, some continue to be a source of delight far into the future.

What are the basic needs behind a child’s gift wish?

The most important thing is the values that the gift supports. Too often, parents do not give enough thought to what the child actually needs and what really touches them. You are likely to give a joyful gift if you have better contact with the child, know them better, and understand what furthers their development and welfare.

Think about the real needs behind the child’s gift wish. Does the child want this new thing to help them spend more time with their friends and share their world with them? This may be the case if, for example, the child asks Santa for a new smart phone. Perhaps the child is yearning for more attention and recognition; for instance, wearing clothing and footwear of a certain brand. Should this be the case, it may be worth thinking about whether this need could be met in some other way.

Or the gift wish may be about the desire to fulfil their potential, i.e. to develop their talents and pursue hobbies.

Letter to Santa

Set an example for your child by writing your own letter to Santa. You should both take care that the letter starts with a polite address to Santa: ask how he is doing, write about your own life, thank Santa in advance, and be sure to add your contact details.

As you write your letters to Santa, talk with your child about how a simple and small gift may bring joy for a long time. Before writing down you gift wish, discuss what will happen to the gift once the child no longer needs it or becomes bored with it, for instance, in the summer or the years to come. Will the gift be recycled, sold or discarded in the waste basket? Thinking in this way helps the child to see things from a more long-term perspective.

Discuss with the child what would make them happy

• in special situations, for example, when they are alone, with family or with friends;
• in different seasons;
• in different places, such as at home, nursery school or school.
Think together about a gift that would bring joy to the child for a long time. Speak about your childhood experiences, about the gifts you still remember today. Also, discuss the broader topic of gifts with the child, the gifts that people really care about and that are remembered for life. It is very likely that such gifts are not objects, but rather time spent together doing fun things.

Be together

It is often wiser to give the child the gift of an enriching event or experience, instead of expensive things, something that would leave life-long memories about time spent with their parents. Keeping this in mind, make an agreement within your family and, if necessary, with relatives, that you will be giving gifts intended for several people or even the whole family, such as
• a board game or theatre tickets for the whole family;
• gingerbread cutters for mother and child; and
• a craft kit for father and child.

A Christmas gift should be a meaningful tool that helps your child grow up to be a good person.
Without a doubt, the ultimate joy-bringing gift is when the parent sets aside enough time to spend with the child and shows them love, both in words and actions. Just be with your child, hug them, play with them and tell them over and over that you love them.

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The best Christmas gift is one that brings joy and helps one to develop, providing a spark in the drive for discovery, challenging one’s knowledge, or teaching a new skill. The best gift we can give a child is if we take into consideration their wishes and understand the actual needs behind these wishes.
Sharing gifts on Christmas Eve is the highlight of the year for many children, but life goes on for 12 months of the year and dreams don’t end with Christmas. Why not give a gift to these children each month by becoming a permanent supporter of their hobbies? The support of a permanent donor is invaluable because children growing up in family homes want to take part in training and be engaged in hobbies all year round, just like the children who are growing up with their parents. As a permanent donor, you can give them a feeling of certainty, that they will be able to take part in their favourite activities now and in the future!

 Contribute EUR 3 and you will give children the gift of the experience of success, new experiences or support young people in acquiring an education, which is of critical importance when starting an independent life. Provide your own small contribution to the children living in substitute homes so that they will have the same supportive and nurturing environment as the children being raised in your own family. Read more: http://www.heategevusfond.ee/joulupuu/pysiannetus

Auli Andersalu-Targo, school psychologist, coach at the Gordon Family School, at the Family Centre Sina ja Mina.

 

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