My children are at the age where they want to actively participate in the gift-giving side of the holidays. However, even though they get an allowance and save a good portion of their money, they are not as enthusiastic about buying gifts so much as they are about making them.
This works out great for me because I've been trying very hard to teach my children that at the heart of the holidays is family and those we love. Our gift-giving should not be a way for us to show off how much money we have, or to buy someone's affection with expensive presents. Instead, our goal is to express our sincere love and appreciation. Sometimes the simplest gifts are, in fact, the most valuable.
I'm reminded of the legend of the first poinsettia. Perhaps you've heard it? Children's author and illustrator Tomie dePaola has a marvelous book, "The Legend of the Poinsettia," that retells the Mexican legend surrounding its native flower. It is a lovely story for children and perfect for helping them to understand the true purpose of gift giving.
In his version, a young girl named Lucida is upset over the fact that she has nothing to offer the baby Jesus during her town's Christmas procession. Her mother has taken ill, and she and her siblings have been left in the care of a family friend. Too embarrassed to enter the church empty-handed, Lucida is encouraged by una viejita to give whatever she can. The only thing Lucida can find are the weeds along side the road, which she picks before entering the church to make her offering. The resulting milagro surrounding her simple gift ends the story on a meaningful note.
So my children and I sat down to brainstorm the type of gifts that they could give to their grandparents. We ended up with a nice long list! Here are five of our favorites:
A family cookbook
One of our best gift ideas for 'Buelita is a family cookbook full of your child's favorite recipes. You can find free recipe card templates online, at your favorite craft store (such as Michaels), or simply create your own. Don't worry if abuela already knows some of the recipes. She'll be so touched that your child has taken the time to write them down, she'll love them! You can even make this an annual tradition and have your kids create a few new recipe cards to give every December.
A personalized video
How about a special holiday message created just for los abuelos? Grab your camcorder or smartphone and start recording! Your child can recite a poem, sing a song (villancicos, anyone?), play a song on the piano, or simply share a heartfelt message. Let your child decorate the video case or design a special container to hold the media.
An oldie — but goodie — family coupons are a personalized gift that allows families to enjoy together those pastimes which they enjoy the most. From reading a book together to a trip to the molino to raking the yard...the list is endless! The only limit is your child's imagination. Index cards cut in half are the perfect size. Encourage your child to write out the coupons and draw decorative accents. If you need ideas of things to write, take a look on Pinterest.
Photograph by Monica Olivera
A book of poetry
One of our favorite gift-giving ideas this year is this original book of poems. You can download a free bilingual poetry book template, and then it's up to your child to customize it and write down poems he or she creates. Or, your child can choose specific poems from books or songs and write them down in the blank pages. When done, just stack the pages together then staple, glue, or otherwise bind the booklet down the middle crease. What a lovely gift that is sure to become a family treasure!