This week marked a birthday in the Youngblood household… mine. My experience prompted me to want to share some unusual birthday giving ideas. As we get older, we no longer long for (at least not as much) the celebrations and presents that we once so anticipated as children. Instead we realize that our best gifts are the ones that we already have – health, family, friends, etc. In fact, I realize everyday that the best present I have ever received on a birthday, or on any other day, is my son and the sound of his laughter and joy. Gratitude is in itself a wonderful gift.
That was certainly true this week as he sang “Happy Birthday” to me in his adorable seven your old voice. He asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I told him I already had it. He said “what?”… and I simply pointed at him. He smiled big, hugged me, and said “I love you sooooooo much daddy!” Needless to say, at the moment, the day was complete. No cake needed.
3 Unusual Ideas For Gift Giving
With that said, I truly believe that it is never too early to teach your children about all the great things in their life that they already have. I am definitely not saying to forego the birthday gifts just yet – my son would never let me hear the end of it if I skipped the Lego aisle – but teaching them to look at giving in a different way is always a good thing. Here are three “outside-the-box” ideas on how to “give presents” in a different way and unexpected lessons that can be learned as part of the process.
1 – REVERSE THE GIVING
Giving back is always a great gift (and it never goes out of style). Ask your child if they can think of someone maybe less fortunate than they are and have them think of a nice way to share some kindness and appreciation with that person. Something as small as a homemade card or a surprise visit can make someone’s day who wasn’t expecting it. Last year, my son actually decided to give some of his toys to a buddy who didn’t have as much. Now they both can play with them together.
2 – RE-GIFT
Yes, yes, I know that this is a gift giving no-no. But it works really well if you have more than one child. Ask your kids to “exchange” something they have with something that their sibling might have. There is always at least one toy that someone else wants. Have them make a production out of it by wrapping it and maybe even writing out special instructions or secrets that they know and can share with the new “owner.” This is a great way to also teach sharing and compromise. Plus, let them know that they can give it back next year and “exchange” it for something else.
3 – OFFER A SAVINGS PLAN
This is a very popular option at our house. Of course my son always wants the toy that is at least $50 over his budget so… I give him an option. I tell him that he could make a smart business decision and, instead of getting a smaller (less expensive) toy that he might not really want, he could not buy anything at that moment and instead save his money toward the bigger, better option. Almost every time he decides to save and work toward the goal. Of course this is teaching him to make decisions and, yet again, it reinforces the thought of enjoying what you already have. Nine times out of ten he will get back home, start playing with the things he already has and say to me “dad, I really didn’t need something new because I already have a LOT right here at home!” Smart kid… and proud dad!
I hope these birthday giving ideas help you and your child take a new spin on giving and getting. Giving can be a learning experience and an opportunity for growth. Do you have any special giving traditions in your house?