In a culture overrun with commercialism and gift one-upmanship, its tempting to react by simply not engaging. But was does this mean for kids?
I grew up in a home where creative pursuits were both encouraged and valued. As the last child at home and living out of town I was never bored. When I wasn’t roaming rocks and gullies or inhabiting the secret nooks of our shed, I was creating. Paper craft, painting, sewing, clay, puppets, drawing, sculpture projects were resourced and guided. The best times were when I worked alongside my mother.
My products, however humble, were admired and valued. There was never a suggestion that gift cards would be purchased. ‘Works of art’ were the most valued gifts, given pride of place.
The act of gift giving is a precious thing; an opportunity to thank and an opportunity to share something of ourselves. For children its about reflection and humility; taking time to consider another and give time to create something that is lovingly wrapped and delivered. Its about connection and relationship.
As adults we can encourage this by valuing hand crafted produce above factory produced, by appreciating the efforts of kids as they develop the self-confidence to create that many adults lack, and by providing the time, resources and guidance for kids to stop consuming and take time to put themselves in the shoes of others.