Giving, Gifts & Thank You Notes

Originally published in the December/January issue of the Glover Park Gazette

Originally published in the December/January issue of the Glover Park Gazette

Tis the Season! The season of giving, gifts and thank you notes. We can make it hard on ourselves or we can make it easier on ourselves (note easier, not EASY, there is a difference). Try one or more of these tips and tidbits.

Giving: What are ways our kids can give gifts that are truly giving. Can they give the gift of service? What are they good at that they could give to relatives – a 14 year old can give the gift of teaching a grandparent how to use skype and then be available to skype once a week with said grandparent. For friends can they give the gift of experiences – a great birthday gift is a coupon for a sleepover and ice creams sundaes.  On the flip side what can we give our kids that is creative and useful? I love a room makeover budget. “Honey, we can spend this much $ and I have this many hours to devote to elbow grease. What should we do? Paint the walls, sew a new duvet cover, purchase a new dresser?” Working together, dreaming together, bumping up against money and time limits together all build and nurture the relationship without adding CLUTTER!

Gifts: Our kids will probably get a lot this year. NOW is the time to consider zero population growth. Take a minute to consider what reasonably fits in your kid’s room, playroom, basement. Then, as items/gifts/offerings come into your house donate, trash, give away a similar item to achieve zero population growth. Parents, we will have to plan on lots of follow through, “Becca, you may have that new book Aunt Sarah gave you when a book is put in the donate bag.” Be unimpressed by the promise of, “I’ll do it later.” Or “It’s soooooOOOOoooo unfair.” Stand your ground with love and compassion. “It can be hard to choose and donate things, I understand.” Zero population growth is a firm and friendly limit, and best if you used by all (psst, that means you too – think books, kitchen gadgets, clothes, any other stuff you love and ‘collect’).


Thank You Notes: Kids are developmentally unable to understand the WHY of writing thank you notes AND I believe it’s a skill and habit we should instill. They don’t understand why because they have never stood at Sullivan’s Toy Store having no idea what to get their 11 year old nephew, and they have never spent THEIR money on presents for others. Us explaining to them might make us feel superior, and it doesn’t impress them one bit. This year try some of these ideas. BEFORE gifts arrive have kids write envelopes and stamp them to the regular gift givers, that way the note is ready to rock and roll once the gift is received. Give the gift to the child AFTER the thank you note has been written. We must endure complaining and whining to complete this. Please do NOT warn, give in and then COMPLAIN the thank you note was not written. Have them use paperless post to write emails online. This will need follow through by a parent. That means you can’t just tell them to do it and it will be done. Hello?! We can do ours at the same time as theirs, we can dice it up into small pieces, we can hold onto the gift until the email is done.

Giving, gifts and thank you notes all hold mystical and magical lessons and relationship building tools.

Please e-mail if you have any parenting/organizing questions Check out to see upcoming online, or IN THE neighborhood presentations. Join me for a Parenting Bootcamp – January 19th & 20th  on Capitol Hill February 2nd & 3rd in Kensington, MD.