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Ideas for Child-Led Gift Giving

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

You’ve got a list a mile long of people you need to buy gifts for – it’s that time of year, and you want to make sure everyone knows how much you appreciate them! But don’t you wish you had a few of Santa’s elves to help? Why not enlist the help of your own little elves? With a little guidance, children can help pick our gifts for teachers, babysitters, Grandma and Grandpa – all those people who make their lives magical! 

  • Start by sitting down with your child and making a list of people they would like to give gifts to. If the list starts looking overwhelming (Why is it so important to your child that their teacher’s sister who they’ve never met but love based on a photo get a gift? Who knows.), remember that it’s OK to gently redirect and explain why that person might not need a gift, or mark them as someone who will get a homemade card!

  • Gather intel and brainstorm. If your child shrugs when you ask what they want to get their teacher, encourage them to notice things or ask questions over the next few days. “I noticed Mrs. Johnson has lots of pictures of her cat on her desk and drinks coffee every morning. Do you think she’d like a cat coffee mug?” The secret to good gift giving is simply to pay attention, so asking them to notice the specific things about these people will help them choose appropriate gifts and make them feel closer to the recipient. It should be noted that some teachers prefer to get gift cards, as they may not have room for 24 cat mugs at home.

  • Set a budget for each person. Before going on the official shopping trip, point out prices to your child on regular shopping trips so they understand what you’re talking about when you say they have $15 to spend. If you don’t have a stash at home, you could remind them that they might need wrapping paper and a card. Another excellent reminder: People LOVE handmade items. If your child would prefer to make art for all of their gifts, their loved ones will likely be thrilled!

  • Shop local, if possible. Shopping at a small business brings threefold joy: for the business owner, for the recipient because these items are cool and one-of-a-kind, and for you because you’re supporting your community! Studies have shown that 52% of revenue from small business goes back into the community, compared to just 14% from national chains.

  • Once the planned shopping is done, encourage them to think bigger. At this time of year, not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to shop for gifts. If your chamber of commerce or school has an Angel Tree, let your child choose someone to buy a gift for. Toys for Tots often has toy drives at this time of year, or you might have a local organization you’d like to support. We often talk about the Spirit of Giving, but for a child to understand that not everyone may be as lucky as they are will open their heart to helping others, especially during the magic of the holidays.

What are your favorite gifts to give to the people in your child’s life? What’s the best gift your child has ever given? Share your thoughts with us and let’s make those important people in your kid’s lives feel appreciated!

Originally featured on 12/14/21

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