Today, our focus is on the act of giving gifts for our family members, although I want to say right away that my favorite gift is a gift that “gives” to our children but the physical results may go to someone else. Please consider volunteering, buying gifts for, or helping in any way someone or an organization who needs help around the holidays. This might be the most important part of the holidays, and I think is vital for teenagers who should be moving into a stage of love for all of humanity and a sense of responsibility to help others. Many teenagers I know have their basic needs met and some of their “wants” too, (and don’t really need more “stuff”) but instead need to start to penetrate the meaning of generosity, giving, and love for humanity.
That said, we are talking about gift-giving today, and I would love to hear everyone’s favorite holidays gifts for different ages, and also to hear what YOU want for a holiday gift. There can be many traditions around gift-giving depending upon religious and cultural backgrounds. I have readers from all over the world and it is always fun to hear about gift-giving traditions in different countries! Many of the households here in the States involved in Waldorf Education exchange simple gifts, some spread gifts out throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas, some spread out gifts all the way from St. Nicholas Day to Candlemas!
Here is a run-down on just a few of my favorite gifts:
For Dads and Moms: coupons for massages, folks who knit might like special yarn or plant-dyed felt or yarn bowls, woodworking supplies, art supplies, gardening supplies, books on any special topic of interest, equipment for exercising/hiking/skiing/kayaking, an overnight getaway with spouse/friends if the children are old enough! Please chime in with some fantastic ideas for fathers especially!
For Waldorf Homeschooling Parents especially: Any of the wonderful Waldorf homeschooling books that are difficult to afford during the school year, art supplies. Gift certificates for “time to plan” LOL
For tiny children under the age of 7: open-ended toys, play silks, clips, a special doll, outdoor toys for older children in this age range such as a balance bike or a rocker. For more suggestions further broken down by age, see this post on holiday gifts for children and keeping things reasonable! or the popular post Toys, Toys, Toys where things are really broken down by age for this Early Years group.
For children ages 7-10: I love games. My new favorites are Ocean Labyrinth and Shadows in the Forest. Other ideas include craft kits, knitting supplies, crocheting supplies, embroidery, good art supplies, beeswax, candle making and decorating kits, toys for outside play – slack lines, bikes, a trampoline (!!). Dollhouses, castles, little wooden figures.
For children ages 10-14: Games, books, art supplies as mentioned for ages 7-10, outside play toys such as stilts or a unicycle or more advanced bike, musical instruments, experiences outside the home with memberships to places of interest, coupons for dates out with a parent alone. Many children in this age bracket also are in the height of Lego play so whilst that is plastic, I think it is realistic that many children would like that!
For children ages 14 and up: I still like games, books, and art supplies; tickets to concerts or the opera or ballet; coupons for dates with a parent alone; experiences or memberships to local museums, nature centers or other places of interest; some teens are interested in more musical instruments; puzzles; gift certificates for a class they want to take or for supplies to support their favorite hobbies.
Can’t wait to hear all of your ideas!
Blessings and love,