Kas Winters

Change children’s outlook from


Change children’s outlook from “gimme” to “giving” for a happier holiday season.


Kas Winters

Mother of Family Ideas

This is the season when children are bombarded with gift possibilities through TV, the Web, catalogs, newspaper ads and conversations with friends centered around holiday gift requests. Whether or not money is an issue in your family, experiencing the joy of giving to others is a treasure of its own. Help children get excited about it.

Start by having them make gifts for family members or earn the money to pay for gifts that they purchase. Generally, parents and grandparents are great recipients for homemade items. I still have many that were made by little ones who are now parents. Provide simple materials, pieces of fabric, paper, craft sticks, pipe cleaners, paper plates, paper bags, glue and such and let kids be creative. They often have amazing ideas. If they need a few, there are some on my Web site at:http://www.winmarkcom.com/giftstomake.htm and others are scattered throughout the Web pages. Think of simple things: a plain T-shirt can be decorated with paint (It can always be used for sleeping!); a wooden frame can be covered with pieces of felt or fabric, buttons and other items, and completed with a child’s photo for a grandparent; a flower pot can be painted and given with a package of flower seeds or a bedding plant already growing in it. What is important is the effort put into making gifts. We feel good about ourselves when we make something to share.

It’s a good time to sort through toys and select those that are no longer being used. Clean them. Repair them. Donate them to a place that will accept used items. (If you can find a shelter, women’s center or other place that will give them to families that’s the best.) Take children along when you drop toys or clothing off for others to use.

Adopt a family or friend or provide holiday cheer for a “secret family.” There are many organizations with information about families needing assistance. You may even know a family or child who will not have much of a holiday season without help. Get the ages of children and a list of needs or wants. As a family collect items, purchase them and let children have input about what might be appreciated. Fill stockings for others. Take items to the organization or directly to a family and bring your family along to experience giving. If you have direct contact, you can even prepare food items to share. For a Secret Family, you drop unexpected items at their home using a “ding dong ditch” method that is loved by kids. We have left containers of popcorn with packages of hot chocolate and decorated the bushes near the front door with red and green construction paper chains. (For safety, it is best that the parents know what you are doing.) You can also select an angel from a local Christmas tree in a mall and involve children in choosing the item requested. Fill bags with holiday candy and deliver them to your local food bank. The possibilities are many. Time spent doing these activities with children is precious and lessons learned will last a lifetime.

Our experience has been that our family is so involved in giving that we see true appreciation for those gifts that are received by our children and grandchildren. We make our exchange so much fun with games, hiding items, following strings, and doing silly things like jumping up and down on one foot while singing Jingle Bells, that gifts children receive are not the main focus. Family time spent together is what we give to one another and it can’t be purchased.

For more family Christmas and celebration ideas:  http://www.winmarkcom.com/christmas_activities.htm andhttp://www.winmarkcom.com/familychristmasideas.htm

Kas Winters, “Mother of Family Ideas”
Winmark Communications
17834 North 41st Avenue Glendale, Arizona 85308-2609