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When Should Kids Start Giving Their Own Presents?

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Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: I'm not talking about giving a scribbled drawing or macaroni necklace to a parent, but about planning out gifts for the friends and relatives who traditionally give a present to that child for birthdays or holidays. When should that type of giving start?

kid giving a gift to mom

I remember shopping in a drugstore with my mom when I was 9. I had three dollars of my own to spend and gifts to buy for my mom, dad, an aunt and uncle, my grandmother and my sister. I don't remember everything I got, but my mom helped me select pocket combs for my dad and uncle, and I slipped away so I could get her and my aunt each a lipstick in the terrifying shade of coral that was popular then, which I thought was so beautiful. (It was the '70s ....) 

My daughter started buying some of her own Christmas presents and birthday presents last year. There have been some Dollar Store and Big Lots purchases, and I've helped her find the occasional deal on Amazon or eBay. I think it reinforces one of the main things I try to teach my children: Always think of others. 

Aside from them having having to save up so they can spend money on others (or give up something else, like the time it takes to make something nice), it requires them to really consider the other person and their likes and dislikes. 

My son is 8. Should he start this year, or is he too young?


next: The Joys of Delayed Gratification
6 comments so far | Post a comment now
Sara November 16, 2010, 10:33 AM

My little one has always given presents to others. We don’t make her pay for them and she gets help picking them out but she’s always chosen gifts for others, I want her to enjoy giving as much as receiving.

Melissa November 16, 2010, 10:46 AM

I think it’s time to start doing it when your child takes an interest in it…. It’s as important to teach him/her about giving as it is to teach him that the holidays are not about material things but about family. So if you skip it this year and do it next year - well that all depends on your child.

Annie November 16, 2010, 3:15 PM

I also have memories of shopping at a discount store at a small mall with my mom and my wad of hard earned change, looking for cheap presents for my siblings, parents and a few other close friends and relatives. I picked out cheap “gold” jewelry, tacky mugs, and cheesy stationary, but it was the experience that matters. It’s surprisingly easy to let a kid feel proud if you know how. I would say, yes! let your son give his own gifts. If he has no (or little) money, have him make gifts. That’s what I have my older kids do (they’re 7 and 2 this year.) I bought inexpensive craft supplies and had the kids make ornaments, calendars, bookmarks, picture frames and other useful things. Last year I bought some fifty cent glass candle bowls and some glass paint (for making suncatchers) and had my son paint them. They turned out great! I even had him make an extra one for me…when the light from the candle hit the glass paint it created giant rainbows all over the room. And the best part was that I didn’t have to help him and you could tell he was very proud of himself. And trust me, Grandma and Grandpa would love a homemade card from your son over a Dollar Store paperweight any day!

Chas Lardydell March 29, 2011, 4:57 PM

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Lydia Drutman March 30, 2011, 3:02 PM

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Peugeot UK April 10, 2011, 1:19 AM

Great post, thanks for showing the initiative to put it up


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