Mamas, is there anything better than seeing your little overjoyed when opening a particular present you gave? This mutual satisfaction is priceless--they feel loved, as do you because of their gleeful heart. During the holiday season, littles can make it easy on us by proclaiming what they want over and over (…and over) again, and as parents we're well-meaning in wanting to meet that desire. But as with many things today, we parents can get out of hand in the amount of our gifting, and also miss the opportunity to further relational connection with our gifting. Just like you, I’m guilty of wanting to grant my littles the happiest holiday by fulfilling their lists. And, just like you, I find it hard at times to think of new, tangible ways during the season to advance my relationship with each of them—there’s much redirecting our focus with seasonal rituals and busyness. Yet by gifting intentionally, we solve this conundrum of how to pursue our little's heart in the midst of culture’s commercial pushes.
Showing intention means to aim; to plan—we intend to reach our littles in a way unique to them. You may ask how. I’ll share what we do in our home that sets expectation and instills parameters, but intentionally goes after their heart. The result is our littles feeling seen for who they are which consequently helps our relationship.
We give three gifts.
—A gift to meet their needs:
This gift can be as basic or obvious as apparel. But given everyone's needs go far beyond physical, this gift can also speak to spiritual, emotional, and social needs. If your little would benefit from support in a particular area of need--gift that. Take time to think through their areas of strengths and weaknesses, choosing one of which to capitalize. Perhaps the gift can promote a strength that'll be valuable to harness as they develop, or maybe the gift can improve a weakness that'll also serve them well later on.
—A gift to meet their wants:
This gift can be exactly what they’ve asked for—"a gimme” if you will. However, it could be taken in another direction by considering what your littles want during the year, apart from the holidays. What requests do they make of you that signal their desires? Wanting more of your sole attention, expressing their wish for more space, and hoping to try something new are just some examples. Meeting these desires through a holiday present may be unconventional, but it surely makes for an impactful gift.
—A gift to encourage their growth:
This last gift celebrates your little's current state, and motivates a continued forward momentum. Academically-driven gifts are clearly an option. But, in recognizing your little's exponential and dynamic progression in many facets, gifts could be more personal and specific by promoting self discovery, maturation, skill set or mental stimulation.
There you have it—a glimpse of how we leverage the holidays to feel joy with our littles and grow in relationship with them. We do it through intentional gifting. The beauty of these gift types are possibly free of monetary value, yet permanently imprint. And depending on your purpose, a gift could fall under multiple categories. While the number of presents may increase as your little ages, it remains a good guideline for your gifting. I’m witness to how sweet intentionality can be, and no matter what kind of gifting--if any at all--I hope your family experiences connection this holiday season.