I have several siblings (several- more than three, less than a dozen). For years, I gave every sibling a Christmas present. Then, I gave every sibling and his or her significant other a Christmas present. THEN, I gave every sibling, their S-O and their CHILDREN individual Christmas presents. THEN, I gave each family a box of Christmas presents. Finally, I sent some of my siblings a “family” Christmas present. Now, they are lucky to get a greeting card from me. This is the evolution of my family gift-giving.
( I did not expect nor did I often receive presents in return. Sometimes I was happily surprised. I just like giving gifts.)
A lot of these gifts were homemade. Because homemade gifts are super, right? Well, they are, if they come from my sisters, who all take great pride in crafting the most delightfully sewn, knitted, quilted items. I go for the Big Effect, and that sometimes means that my gifts fall apart 24 hours after they are unpacked. Still, it’s the thought.... Or, is it? (My food gifts are usually awesome!)
A gift can be as small as a button, as mysterious as an empty box, as ephemeral as a kiss.
Books about gift-giving and generosity that I love.
The Best Christmas Ever by Chih-Yuan Chen. I will mention this book every Christmas season in some form or other, because I love it so much. I love the brown paper feel of the illustrations. I love the feeling of winter, darkness, and struggling hope. I love its simplicity. And I love the joyous resolution. The Bear family is so poor that they don’t even hope for presents this year. On Christmas morning, they find that “Toddler Christmas” visited in the night and brought them small, precious gifts.
Birthday Surprises edited by Johanna Hurwitz. Hurwitz asked 10 children’s authors to write a story about a birthday in which a child received an empty box. Sometimes, the box was the actual present. Sometimes, the box represented something else. In one case, the box was sent by mistake and the present was delivered in person. Imagine getting a box filled with air.
Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant. First published in Rylant’s collection, Children of Christmas, this story tells of a train that rolled through the mountains and gifts that were thrown from the back to the impoverished children. Every year, a boy wishes for one particular gift. Every year, he gets something he needs. He returns as an adult and we find out whether his wish ever came true.
The following website offers a list of books about gift-giving and generosity to share with your young ones.