By Quentin Jukes
Is there a time you remember from your childhood where you felt special and loved? There is a good chance that that memory will be based on a time you spent with someone you loved, rather than receiving a specific gift. Your time is the best gift you can give your children.
With Christmas approaching fast, pressure ramps up on all of us to show our love through gift-giving. In our current economy, advertising constantly gives us the message that the amount we spend somehow equates to the amount we love someone. This is obviously ridiculous, but the pressure of this advertising, particularly on children, is immense and very real.
Encouraging children to show their love for someone by making a gift can be a great way for them to experience that expressing love for someone isn’t related to the size of our bank account. There are a lot of great books in the library and plenty of ideas online for simple gifts that children of different ages can make and give at little to no expense.
In the lead up to Christmas, Homebuilders and other community organisations are often given gifts for families who are struggling financially. The families and children who receive these gifts really appreciate the generosity of people who offer this support and these gifts make it possible for their children to have a far more enjoyable Christmas. Parents often talk about the huge relief they feel knowing that their child will have something for Christmas.
People wanting to donate Christmas gifts often ask us for tips about what would be most appropriate. We suggest that people drop off gifts unwrapped – this enables a parent to find a present which is most suitable for their child. Great gifts can include things like books, art supplies and outdoor toys such as balls, beach towels and toys for sand play. We also love it when we get special treats for parents and teenagers, as often they miss out.
We request that all gifts given for Homebuilders to give to families who are struggling financially are new gifts. We like to value and show respect to these families who find themselves in hard times, just as we value our own children. Community care of others and respect towards others who are less well off makes for a healthier and safer community as people feel valued, seen and cared for. Our children are our future and their lives matter. It is wonderful that there are people in our community who give so generously. Your care does not go unnoticed and is greatly appreciated.
Gifts for Homebuilders can be left under the Christmas tree at the Mahurangi Matters office.