As the Christmas countdown begins, our children’s excitement escalates, fuelled by their wish lists to Santa, school playground chatter and constant toys and games adverts. Ask any child what they want for Christmas and you’re sure to get an eager reply.
But in all the excitement of what they hope they’re going to get, we need to instill in our children that the joy of Christmas is also about giving, not simply receiving. We can show our kids that by giving love, time and thoughtfulness, you’ll make other people happy - and yourself too. As parents, we can teach children the pure pleasure of giving, and that a gift doesn’t have to be an expensive, extravagant present but something that shows they’ve given thought and love.
Here are some suggestions for ways you can give the gift of giving to your children:
Sofie Delauw via Getty Images
Don't be tempted to choose and wrap presents solo, however long your tick-list. Ask kids for present ideas - and why they'd be ideal. Involve your kids in writing your present list (with a set budget), choosing and wrapping presents and writing heartwarming messages.
Set an expectation for older children that they will give thoughtful presents to parents and siblings. Stress that it's the thought, not the cost, that counts.
RUSS ROHDE via Getty Images
Presents that are homemade by kids will be treasured for years to come, from the Christmas tree ornament made from salt dough and extravagantly covered in glitter to the fabulous laminated painting with a stick-on calendar at the centre. Kids also love cooking, so you could make homemade chocolates or festive shaped biscuits for relatives. Your child will be chuffed to bits to be giving something made by their own hands.
Alternatively, kids could give a kindness, like offering to help elderly grandparents with their garden or shopping on a regular basis throughout the year or helping decorate a younger sibling's bedroom.
Steve Debenport via Getty Images
Have a family chat about which charity you want to give to this year and why. Without alarming small children, it's important they grow up knowing how lucky they are compared to others. Many schools support charities with shoebox appeals, when children choose presents, from stationery items to toys for a child, and enclose them with a message in a decorated shoe box for children living in poorer countries.
At this time of the year, it's a good idea to encourage your children to sort out their bedrooms and make a pile of toys they've grown out of. You can donate them to your local community fete or older children could hold a street sale (with your close supervision) and donate the money to their chosen charity. Teenagers could accompany you to help out at your local homeless shelter, where a bed and hot meal are provided.
Bonita Cooke via Getty Images
Your child may want to give a favourite teacher a card or Christmas present. It's far more thrilling to be given the responsibility of choosing, for example, a box of chocolates, and writing a Christmas card with the teacher in mind, than just being presented with an already wrapped gift to hand over.
CasarsaGuru via Getty Images
Each door of the calendar can contain a call to action for that day, for example, "say only nice things today", "give extra hugs to everyone in the family", "surprise a friend with a kind thing". If making a calendar sounds too fiddly, you can simply draw up a kindness list of 24 of yours and your children's ideas, decorate it beautifully and stick it on the fridge for a daily reminder.
Cadbury is helping kids deliver Christmas joy to their friends, families and local communities by bringing their generous wishes to life. Every day for 24 days, Cadbury will make kids’ thoughtful and imaginative wishes come true. Visit Cadvent.co.uk
to see these moments of joy captured, when children see their wishes come true and the joy their gifts bring. There's the little girl who wants to make her mum's commute to work "amazing, because she always says it’s the worst part of her day – especially around Christmas" by decorating the train with Santa bringing presents and waiting on the platform to hand out cookies and hot chocolate "so they can have a happy start to the day". Or the girl whose four-year-old sister has never seen snow and wants to "bring real snow to our back garden so we can play all day long and make snow angels!" Plus, 22 more wonderful Christmas moments to warm your hearts at Cadvent.co.uk