It never fails. Someone asks, "What do the kids want for Christmas?" and I don't have an answer. I end up suggesting Legos or another craft kit that we won't
get around to doing until next summer. (Please, please—no more craft kits!)
holiday season, I don't want my kids to get a bunch of stuff they don't need, that will be broken
and forgotten in a week. I want them to know they are loved and that there's
a great big world outside our front door. When you ask me what my kids want for Christmas this
year, I’m going to tell you what they really need instead.
need to get out of the house.
a lot of kids, my children don’t get outside very much during the school week. The
hours after school and before bedtime are spent on homework and video games,
dinner, reading and TV. A membership to the botanical gardens, the zoo or a
National Parks pass for the family would be a great gift and encourage all of us to get
outdoors more often.
need time with the people they love.
them for ice cream or on a nature walk in a park. Curl up with them on a cold,
rainy afternoon and read a book or bake cookies with them. Carve out an
afternoon to watch their favorite movie or teach them your favorite board game.
It’s not the activity that matters, so much as the time spent with someone
need to feel connected to family and friends far away.
an email in a brightly colored font, asking my kids about their lives and telling
them about yours. Or email a video of you reading a story or send a silly clip
of your pet. Let me know when you’d like to talk to them and we’ll make a date.
Better yet, let’s schedule a video chat so you can see how much they’ve grown
and they can see a bit of your life. Distance shouldn’t matter when we have all
the technology in the world to stay connected.
It’s not the activity that matters so much as the time spent with someone
They need to find something for them in the mailbox.
doesn’t love snail mail? Some of my favorite childhood memories are receiving mail
from friends and family around the world. Send my kids a postcard the next time
you go on a trip. Write them a letter and watch how fast they respond. Send a
few pictures they can tack to their wall. Just seeing their name spelled out on
an envelope is enough to get them excited—and it’s one of the easiest gifts
need to read more.
have books in every room of our house, but there are so many distractions in my
kids’ lives that sometimes it’s hard to get them motivated to read. Get them a
magazine subscription so they have something to look forward to every month or send them one of your favorite childhood books. You
could even get them a book subscription. I’ll be
happy to let you know what they're interested in reading about!
They need you to keep your promises.
you promise to come visit or schedule a playdate, please do it. My kids haven’t
yet learned that adults don’t always keep their promises and they take
everything you say to heart. So, when we see you or talk to you and you say, “We’ll
get together soon," please keep that promise. They need to know you mean what
you say—and so do I.
This will be a fun gift for your little one to make and give to friends (and keep some at home, of course!). Make two batches: one for red and one for white. Mix 2.5 cups water, 1 1/4 cups salt, 1.5 tablespoons (1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons) of cream of tartar and red food coloring (eyeball it to get the color you want). Cook on medium-low heat, stirring until hot. Add 5 tablespoons vegetable oil. Gradually stir in 2.5 cups of flour, and mix until dough pulls away from pan and is no longer sticky. Place dough on counter, let cool, then knead. To make the candy cane, place alternating colored balls in mason jars and tie with string!