Friday, December 16, 2016

Mindful Gift Giving

By Guest Blogger Angela Woodrow

Wow, it is the middle of December already! And we are all just as busy as ever.  It seems to be that ‘busy’ is the new ‘normal’. That is why I love the "Rule of 4" as a way to model mindful gift giving for parents. The "Rule of 4" is easy to remember: 1 book, 1 item of clothing, one of something they want and one of something they need.
It is a simple concept that has been around for a while. I use the "Rule of 4" to help my larger family participate and help me as a parent model mindful gift giving. You can modify and adjust as you like…. you are smart and clever. This is for inspiration and motivation to continue to do the good you are doing!
Here are 2 easy steps to help you grasp how I use this rule in my family:

Step one:
You can talk with your children about the list and what it means to receive a gift from someone and also to help understand that just because it is on the list does not always mean that it will appear on the day. Over the years I have learned to have my children put two or three from each category on the list so that they learn to be happy with the gift they receive, even if it is not exactly what they were ‘dreaming of’.
Step two:
Of course, set a budget. That is very mindful.
In my family we are pretty darn good at making a list and sharing it. So, we use the rule of 4 for the larger family. It helps everyone feel like they have an opportunity to acknowledge each other without breaking the budget or each child ending up with their own complete toy store. One or two toys are enough. Beside, where to store it all after it has been unwrapped becomes a bigger issue at my house!
With technology we are able to post this gift list online and when a purchase is made we can see that the item has been purchased, but not by whom.  This  is nice for the element of delight and surprise—thank you Elfster (www.elfster.com)!  Knowing the gift has been purchased helps the person working the budget.
An aside: As a family, we work hard to communicate what works and what does not. This is a process that has evolved with the various ages and stages of my family. It takes time…and it is worth it to ask others to help you in the process of practicing mindful gift giving. (And if the truth is to be told, most are relieved to be able to ‘keep it simple’).
What to do about Santa:  We are big believers in the “Spirit of Santa”.  Over the years, ‘Santa’ has shifted from individual gifts for each child to delivering a family gift at our house and it usually covers almost everyone’s ‘want’ category pretty well.
Wishing you joy and peace as you navigate the next few weeks. May you and yours find time to just sit still and share time with each other. For sharing time together is one of the most precious gifts of all.