Homemade Birthday Gifts

Homemade Birthday Gifts

I really believe in not making the opening of the gifts part of the activities that go on at a party. I think kids' feelings get hurt, younger kids can't handle it, and it often goes on and on.

You can use the gift exchange process to get them thinking not just about themselves. I know one family that encouraged their children to do community service and pick a cause that was "their cause" in a given year. One young girl volunteered every week or every month at the local animal shelter and she got very involved in taking care of dogs, so she asked at her birthday one year for people to bring something that she could take to the dog shelter, dog food, a chew toy, a collar, etc. This was a way to use her birthday to help somebody else and she got enormous satisfaction out of that.

Another thing within the family itself is to get non-material gifts from family members. For example, if a child has a 5th birthday, have every member of the family give a written list that can be decorated beautifully about five things they love about that kid. Roll it up like a diploma, put a ribbon on it and make that a show at the dinner table. Opening those could be really memorable and wonderful gifts.

It's a wonderful way to send the message that it's not just things that matter to us; people matter more. I think you will find that kids really respond to this!