Have you forgotten what the word *REDEEMED* means? Sometimes I do and I need a reminder. From Merriam-Webster’s dictionary:
- Do something that compensates for poor past performance or behavior
- Compensate for the faults or bad aspects of (something)
- Atone or make amends for (error or evil)
Are you willing to have a heart to heart with your teen? Are you willing to admit that perhaps you’ve made a mistake(or many) in the past when it comes to giving gifts and teaching them about Christmas ? I’m willing to bet a whole cheesecake that your kids would rather have an honest conversation and a modest gift from you than the best_______ money can buy.
I’m also fairly confident that what our tweens and teens want more than anything is to spend quality time with us, their parents, and to have us be interested in what they are doing. Quality time vs. quantity stuff.
So, with that in mind, here’s my ideas for how to give to teens and what to remember in the process:
1. If you are engaged in your kids’ lives you will know what kinds of things they are interested in. There is nothing that speaks to a teenager like a gift that they didn’t ask for but is exactly what they want.
2.I rarely think gift cards are okay for Christmas gifts….except when it comes to teenagers. I don’t know what it is , but their need to spend someone else’s money on something they really want is like giving candy to a baby. My son adores Best Buy gift cards like they’re rare jewels. He will save up as many as he can get until he has enough to buy whatever techy item is on his mind but too pricey to get. This is a great option for aunts, uncles and grandparents. Likewise, my daughters love gift cards to their favorite clothing stores. They giggle with delight like 4 year olds with a new baby doll.
3. What I love about teenagers is their willingness to negotiate for something better or different. They are the best age group for forfeiting a gift under the tree in order to get something else. For example, if your daughter has been begging for a room re-do/up-do/renovation but you haven’t been able to *find the time* or afford her dreams, consider swapping out the money you would have spent on Christmas gifts for her and surprise her with a new room. You can tell her some or all of your plan , or be like me and not say a peep…have her go to a friend’s house for a couple nights and days and then commit to getting it done: paint , curtains, bedding, decorations. Do the reveal just like Extreme Home Makeover with her friends. Try to do it as close to Christmas as you can. Trust me, this sort of thing works great. Another idea: rent a roller rink, skating rink or laser tag and give your kid the gift of a night out with all their friends including food(of course).
4. I like to give the gift of an experience or an event as opposed to a tangible gift. This promotes togetherness and memories and eliminates clutter and stuff! Concert tickets, a weekend away for skiing, a family vacation, lessons(riding, skating, piano,voice….)
5. Don’t spend more just because you don’t know what else to do. Ask your kids’ friends, look at their FB /Twitter/Pinterest for ideas. Teens these days have grown up in the social media spotlight. They rarely withhold information and for once, this is going to come in handy! You can find out a lot about your kids by what they read, listen to, wear and look at. Don’t buy something just to give something. It really is the thought that counts and this is a HUGE deal to teens~that you hear them and that you get them.
You were looking for an itemized list of what to get your kids, weren’t you? Admit it. It’s sometimes easier to have someone tell you what to buy than to have to come up with the idea on your own, right? But here’s the thing, your kids are YOUR kids. They need you to think more about them than the game score or the bottom line. If you are really serious about redeeming Christmas, it starts now. You have to lay the groundwork NOW to be able to give the right gift in 11 weeks. Yes, it’s only 11 weeks till Christmas.
Giving the right gift and redeeming yourself and your kids from all the lame, last minute, indulged, excessive gifts from the past is going to take some homework and legwork on your part. Sacrificing your time is going to speak to your kids more than anything you give them.
Tomorrow we talk about THOUGHTFUL gifts. You won’t want to miss it because it will help you with every gift you give.