What’s the first thing on your mind?
We always think of gifts as something in material nature. I’m sure a toy or a gadget or clothes and shoes are the first things that come into your mind when you think of gifts for your kids.
I thought that way too when my daughter was younger. I always thought of giving her toys that her other friends had. I gave her things that I thought I would have wanted and liked when I was a young girl myself. And yes, she was happy with those gifts.
What made me change my mind?
Living in a place about 2 hours of travel time away from her cousins made her miss them so much. What my hubby and I did was to make the effort to visit her cousins almost every weekend.
We would bring her to the office on Saturdays because we both had work from 8am till 12pm. Then we would have lunch in the mall and then go straight to her cousins. We would bring some donuts and chocolate or juice drinks in tetra packs for their snack when we arrived there.
This could be simple gestures but my daughter and her cousins surely loved seeing each other on those weekends and sharing the simple snacks that we brought them.
This is when I came to realize that this is one of the simple things that we could give to our child that she would enjoy so much at the moment and cherish for the rest of her lives.
The Gift of Experience
I came to call it the gift of experience. Whatever she experienced during these visits I’m sure she would forever cherish. Because of our efforts we taught her how to value her relationship with her cousins (and aunts and uncles as well).
She had cousins who had more than her and some who had less. But she treated all of them the same way. The size of the house or the number of toys or the kinds of appliances and gadgets or the amount of money the parents would give her didn’t make any difference in the way she played with her cousins. She loved them all.
While in another country
When we went to another country and stayed there for 3 years she surely missed her cousins a lot.
Do you know what we did?
My hubby and I made friends with other parents and eventually earned their trust. There would be weekends that we would fetch their daughters (some are around the same age as my daughter but most are younger) and bring them home to stay for the night. We would also go to the parks and amusement centers.
There was another parent who would do the same thing. They would fetch our daughter on some weekends and she’d spend the night with them. It was a matter of trusting parents both ways.
My daughter still missed her cousins sure enough but she had other friends to make up for it while we were away from them.
That was then, what about now?
My daughter is already 20 years old (today to be exact). She has 2 younger brothers aged 12 and 10. We brought up our boys the way we did to their sister. We liked how our daughter grew up.
She knew how to be contented with what we have in life. She’s not so much on the material side. She’s not like her peers who are so obsessed with new gadgets. If to choose between buying an expensive gadget or appliance over a mini vacation she would definitely choose the vacation. Hands up to that!
My family also loves to watch movie together. We didn’t watch just any movie in the theater. We picked the best and waited for it to be shown. As for the rest of the movies, we watch at home.
She helped us mold her 2 brothers to value relationships with family and friends. But unlike their sister they liked to have gadgets like Xbox. But they use it as a means to play with each other. They’d always ask permission if they could bring home a friend or two to play with them.
They also look forward to having cousins visit us. Or if it’s our turn to visit we bring our Xbox so they can still all play with it.
Unlike with their sister who was brought up alone, my 2 boys only have 2 years gap so they practically played with each other. The need to visit their cousins wasn’t as strong as it used to be.
But being a family who loves to spend time with our other families we still find it best to keep up with the visits. The bonding time is also always fun time.
So what about you?
So still thinking of what to give to your kids? Stop and think twice before you buy another gadget. I’m sure your kids will be happy with it but for how long? And what about the chance to interact with other people. Are they just doing it online now?
And as for the gadgets there will be wear and tear, there will be upgrades and latest models. Can we ever keep up to that?
Having that bonding moment with other family members will surely prevent a wear and tear in your relationships. There’s no upgrades needed. The latest models could be the new additions to the family (babies anyone?)
Do you have other great ideas on what gifts to give to your kids? Please feel free to share them on the comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts about this.
P.S. It’s my daughter’s 20th birthday today.
She’s in the office. My hubby’s at work. Her brothers are in school. And I’m at home, just finished working as VA and finishing up this post as well. It’s a normal Monday for us. What’s our gift for her? I asked her and she couldn’t think of any.
Here’s my plan. I texted her college classmate and one of her closest friend who lives just about 30 minutes away from us. I asked her if she could come later tonight after her work for dinner. It would be a surprise for my daughter. I think the last time they met was around March. Can’t wait for later. I’ll be cooking spaghetti and beef stew in a while. 🙂