The Gift of Giving
Like many other parents I want to raise my girls to be compassionate. I want to open their eyes to the differences in the world and for them to understand how very, very lucky they are. So this year we are giving wrapped gifts to the Salvation Army to distribute to families with young children. We are also giving some of the gifts to the local hospital on Christmas Eve – for the children who come into the hospital over Christmas or who are already there.
It was going to be a long job, we had lots of presents to wrap. I know the girls have found wrapping presents fiddly and frustrating in the past so I wanted the wrapping ‘station’ to look inviting! Hence the rugs and the tinsel As for the gifts: we had sweet little animal finger puppets; pirate and princess writing slates; felt tiara decorating kits; bead necklace kits and velcro bracelets. Things to keep little hands and minds busy and small enough to carry around.
It was the afternoon after the last day of school so I was pleasantly surprised at how enthusiastic and energetic the girls were. They really wanted to do it all themselves. Zoe wanted tips on how to hold the folded paper in place and remove a piece of sticky tape at the same time. Lots of fine motor skills called on for this job.
On an emotional level, I saw how useful and helpful the girls felt. It is hard for children to know about other people in the world struggling and not be able to do anything about it. Wrapping and giving the presents made them feel like they have taken action. The only negative talk was the frustration of not being good at something as quickly as you would like ie. wrapping neatly like grown-ups. Ah it is always so satisfying when I can give the girls the chance to struggle through something on their own – and then see them come out the other side through their own efforts.
Ebony was really happy with how much her wrapping improved in this one wrapping session. She was worried the recipients would be unimpressed with her wrapping. I asked her if she has ever worried or judged the wrapping style of presents she has received? She only had to give that question a second’s thought. Problem solved!
Ebony liked being in charge of the cutting. It didn’t last though – Zoe loves cutting too, although she did find the large rolls quite hard work and handed the big scissors back to her big sister.
We separated the presents into piles for girls and boys. Later on Zoe stuck pink star stickers on the girls presents and blue star stickers on the presents for boys. See the little round present on the top of the table? That is Zoe’s creation. It is wrapping paper scrunched up like a ball. She said “I think a little boy would like this to throw around”.
The Good Stuff
Ebony said that wrapping the presents was the best thing to do after the last day of school and she gave me a hug. Zoe wanted to do more wrapping after we had finished and asked if this was enough for all the kids who need presents? I think we will make this a ‘last day of school’ tradition. We took half of the presents and some non-perishable food to the local Salvo Army centre yesterday. The people there were great with the girls and told them the presents would make lots of children smile this Christmas. They feel like they are making a difference and they are. Every little bit helps.
Now they are excited about our hospital delivery scheduled for Christmas Eve. For obvious reasons we are giving the presents to the admissions staff to distribute as they see fit. We can’t wait.
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