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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holidays 101: #9- Free Gifts

One of the challenges I have as a parent is teaching my cherubs that not all gifts need to be cost money.  Sometimes a favorite gift might actually be free.  [For example... I recently had a birthday and without question my favorite gift that day was totally free.  I had a day when I did not hear a SINGLE fight, cross word, insult, jab, or argument between my children.  They may have happened, but if so, not within my hearing or presence.  It made a Lovvvvely, c-a-l-m, day.  And it didn't cost them a single penny!]

Here is my Holiday 101 strategy for today... to help your children brainstorm free acts of kindness that they can give as gifts this season [or any other].

Build a family Kindness Katalog:

1. Be prepared with a big piece of chart paper or poster paper and a magic marker.
2. Gather the crew, explain the concept and get started.  The idea is for each family member to [one at a time] come up with things THEY would consider a gift if given, but that does not cost ANY money.  It might be a back rub, a day with no chores, someone else doing their chore for x days, choice of dinner, an extra bedtime story, breakfast in bed, ride to school on a rainy day, etc.
3. Any suggestion that at least two people think would be a good gift gets written down on the chart. [If the family is small skip the two people part.] Mom & Dad should participate too of course!
4. When the chart is done post it in a place of honor.
5. Anyone who would enjoy any of the suggestions puts their initial next to the idea.  That way the rest of the family can go to the posted Kindness Katalog for gift giving ideas. 

I recommend a planned brainstorming session with everyone there to get the Kindness Katalog started.  After the initial brainstorming session you can add to the Katalog anytime people have more ideas.

Motivation Hint: I sometimes "sweeten" the process by setting out a big bowl of candy "hugs" and "kisses." Each time someone comes up with an idea for the kindness catalog they can help themselves to one "hug" or "kiss" candy.  Skittles also are popular and fewer calories per idea! [I find this fuels the imagination AND the motivation to come up with multiple ideas.] Since I usually do this activity one night after dinner, the treats serve as dessert.

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