***This is the first post of the NOT-A-Gift-Guide blog series. A ton of gift guides are being shared with us right now, and they are super helpful- I really do appreciate the suggestions! However, in this series, I would like to consider the principles behind what we choose to give. I hope that this series will help your family as well.***
Why this “Not-A-Gift-Guide”?
One year for Christmas several years ago, we bought our kids a Wii (remember when those were big?). They LOVED it and thought we were the coolest parents ever. Parent win, right?!
After the first week, I discovered our mistake: We had bought them a gift that while very fun, did not truly align with our parenting values and what we wanted to promote the most in our home. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a Wii, but I realized that I wanted my kids to spend their time in other ways. We started fighting about how much time they should spend on the Wii, whose turn it was to play, etc. I ended up regretting introducing console gaming to my kids.
I’ve noticed this disconnect a lot- we get our kids things that are popular, things that they might want, or what is advertised, without really thinking about how these gifts will affect our family culture and if they promote what we want more of in our family.
Now, I am learning to consider these questions:
- How do I want my children to spend their time?
- What do I want to promote more of in our family? What do I want to discourage?
- Logos, graphics and celebrity brands: Is the celebrity or graphic advertised on that t-shirt, poster, beanie cap, etc., someone/something that we want our kids to model after?
- Dolls and action figures: Am I ok with my kids modeling the same dress, attitude, and actions of these toys?
- Other toys, electronics, etc.: Am I okay with my child spend a lot of time with this gift? How could it affect them?
- What do my children need to learn?
- How can my family get closer together?
- What special concerns or needs does each child have?
- What will help my child feel truly loved?
I’ve gotten better at asking myself these questions, and my husband and I discuss them every season. I’m not saying that every gift needs to be serious, boring, or have deep meaning behind it. But I want to be deliberate. For example, one of my kids wants a Dude Perfect hat for Christmas- and I am SO ok with that! They are great guys who provide a ton of clean entertainment and I would love to support that mission. Another year, we got rock climbing equipment, so that we could do that activity as a family.
The next posts in this series will be ideas of common values that we all want to embed in our families: positive traditions, family time, creativity, skill development and more. Join me as we examine these ideas a little bit closer!