Listen instead

My girls just did valentine card exchanges at school. They gave the only homemade cards. The rest of the kids’ cards were store bought including one from their teacher. I thought it was pretty amazing that my girls gave the only homemade cards. I can also imagine thoughts from other parents. “Poor things. I guess they don’t have any money to buy cards or their family is cheap.”

From my point of view, my girls love to be creative and this gives them the perfect opportunity to be creative and crafty (and for a couple of them, get to practice their newly acquired writing skills). We had the supplies needed already, so they cut shapes out from construction paper, folded more in half to make cards, pasted things together, wrote names and “Happy Valentines” on them, doodled pictures and stuck a sticker on here and there. They were very cute.

They were made with each person in mind and so made with love for each person. It gave them an opportunity to put their heart into their giving. I hope this tradition continues with them, where they give gifts with the individual in mind. In order to do that, they will need to know the receiver more personally and pay attention to the smaller details. I will have to explain more of these details to them as time goes on.

This past Christmas a friend did a similar thing. She made my favorite treat, butter tarts. I thought that was so thoughtful. It was far more valuable to me than a box of chocolates or some more expensive gift. She knew that I loved butter tarts a lot, so to me, it showed the great thought she put into making something for me.

As we get older gift giving becomes harder to do. Family and friends tend to buy things they need/want or what’s left to buy (like a new car) is far out of my price range. My husband told his family that he would appreciate their time much more than a gift. So for one birthday, we avoided the gift giving and went out to a new game arena my husband discovered and wanted to share with us. We had a great time and now have a lasting memory for everyone to keep. You’re not stuck playing a bidding game of “You spent this much on my gift so I have to spend the same or more on yours.”

Another good point my husband made is the gifts that mean the most are the ones you give just because you want to. There isn’t a special occasion or any reason but because you wanted to.

What creative things have you done to give a gift or give of yourself?