Guest Post: Shopping for Presents: Showing the Kids How to Make the Most of It

Allison has sent us a fabulous guest post with some great gift shopping ideas and suggestions for the Seasons Holidays. Thank-you Allison for a great article.

Enjoy!

Cheers…Amanda van der Gulik…Excited Life Enthusiast! ;o)

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Shopping for Presents: Showing the Kids How to Make the Most of It

Most of us either love or hate Christmas shopping; very few people fall into the indifferent category, especially those of us that have children that go shopping with us. This can be a challenge depending on your children as most do not like to shop, but there are ways to include your children ad help them to become more interested and invested in the Christmas shopping experience.

Including your children in Christmas shopping does not have to begin and end with the Christmas season. Over the years I have found that some of the people on my list can be shopped for throughout the year, not just at the Christmas season. And I am not suggesting giving gifts that are out of season, like buying summer clothes and giving them at Christmas. Most of us have aunts, uncles, dads, moms, etc. that want the same thing every year. I know my father-in-law always wanted a new pair of pants and a new shirt every year, the same brand, same type, and same size, so I watched the sales for these items and purchased them on sale whatever time of year it was. There were others in the family that wanted similar type gifts and it was so much easier to buy these types of things ahead of time. I have tried to teach my children

My children and I sit down very early on before Christmas and make a list of who we as a family are going to buy for and a list of the individuals they intend to give gifts to on their own. My husband and I thought that we would teach our children very early on to think of others at Christmas and not just think of themselves and what they wanted. We encouraged them to sit down and think about who they wanted to buy and or make a gift for (which generally just included mom and dad, siblings, and grandparents). We also tried to incorporate a family gift to needy children or needy families. We have many opportunities to give at the church we attend, including toy drives and food drives. It is so very important to teach our children that there are many families that have not been blessed as we have.to be observant and notice the like and dislikes of those closest to them. Taking them with you and pointing out what family members like all year long helps them to become aware and makes it easier for them to think of things to buy when the time comes.

Not only do we encourage them to make a list of those they are giving to but we also sit and discuss what kinds of gifts those individuals would really want to receive. Depending on how much money the children have from allowances (and many times we will match funds if they want to get a special gift for someone) we sit down and talk about each persons likes and dislikes. We talk to them about how important it is that the person gets a gift that they can actually use or admire. Even if it is not expensive it is important to get a gift that is suited for the individual. It is not impossible to find inexpensive gifts that someone would appreciate. And if funds are tight then we talk about what we can make.

We have a wonderful family recipe for sugar cookies that we like to bake and give as gifts, especially to our neighbors. These cookies can be decorated or iced and are so much fun to make and get into the holiday spirit. We have family members who ask for these cookies at Christmas and they make marvelous gifts from the kids. The grandparents love them because they know the kids choose the cookie cutters and then design them with sprinkles, sugar, or icing just for them. For grandma and grandpa so many times a homemade gift makes them so very happy, this is especially true if it includes a photo of the  child or children as well. We often sit down and make Christmas tree decorations out of craft sticks for framing a picture and make it look like a fireplace mantle with colorful Christmas decorations. There are all types of Christmas crafts that are just precious memorabilia for the grandparents.

When we go as a family to Christmas shop very often we have narrowed it down under each persons name of ideas of gifts we are aiming to find. We sometimes narrow it down even further by doing a little research online to see who has the majority of the gifts we are looking for at the best prices. I do not know about you but I am not really a fan of mall shopping, not that I do not like going to the mall but I find that I rarely get much shopping actually accomplished trying to go from store to store with the kids. We generally go to the super stores or department stores on the fringes of the mall unless there is something particular we want in the mall and then we zone in on that particular store. Not only does that cut down on the mall lines but also the traffic that accompanies the trip to the mall since we live in a large metropolitan city. Then when the majority of our shopping is behind us we generally take a leisurely day perusing the mall just to take in all the sights and sounds of Christmas and enjoy the festivities.

It makes it so much easier to shop with a predetermined list and a few well thought out ideas. We go into Christmas shopping as a team on a special mission and everyone knows what to be on the lookout for. It is almost like a scavenger hunt and even the youngest child wants to find that special gift that will make the receivers so happy that you thought just of them. It makes it so much easier than going in without a plan and just picking up random gifts here and there for our loved ones and friends. The children become part of the mission and it makes it so much more fun and less stressful when they become a part of the hunt.Narrowing it down like this helps to limit the number of shopping trips needed and frees families up to enjoy the holiday. Once the main gifts are bought then it gives you time to wander the malls and pick up extra small gifts and stocking stuffers without all the pressure.

Christmas is a time of joy and celebration; this is what our children need to be gleaning from this holiday, not stress and confusion. Keep the shopping as simple as possible, keep everyone involved, and teach your children to think of others as more important than themselves. From my family to yours we wish you a very blessed and a very merry Christmas this year and a happy New Year too! God bless us all everyone!

Author Byline:

Blogging for was a natural progression for Allison once she graduated from college, as it allowed her to combine her two passions: writing and children. She has enjoyed furthering her writing career with www.nannyclassifieds.com. She can be in touch through e-mail allisonDOTnannyclassifiedsATgmail rest you know.

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