As Christmas is just around the corner, educational advisor Claire Bagnall shares her thoughts on how to give children meaningful gifts. She is a regular contributor to our blog page and loves receiving boxes for her children from The Bear Can Read every month.
Watching children open their gifts on Christmas day is part of the magic, but does it matter what the value of the gift is? Claire explains why gifts that bring the family together are the best ones….
More is not always better
When reflecting on Christmasses past spent with my children, I can’t help but recall that, whilst my children were clearly happy as they opened each present, their excitement lessened slightly with each one. In fact, at times, they were so keen to get to one of the presents they had opened earlier so they could play with it, that sometimes they needed persuading to wait until they had finished unwrapping all of their presents first. They would then need to hang on a little longer whilst all of the discarded paper was stuffed into the black bin liner and then for one of us to wrestle with the scissors to remove all of the packaging from the toy or game they wanted to play with.
“Of the many gifts I have given my children over the years, I only remember a few specific ones.”
I wonder if the subsequently opened presents added significantly to their happiness, or rather just maintained it whilst necessitating a wait before that moment when they would get to play with the ones they had opened earlier. Certainly, when I think about the gifts my own children have received over the years, all of which we have been extremely grateful for and they have been extremely lucky to receive, there are only a few that I remember were truly cherished and I remember specifically. I wonder if my children are the same?
Choose your children’s gift with care
This year, I have aimed to choose the gifts for my children with even greater care. I feel so fortunate that we have the luxury of being able to choose a number of gifts for them: I know that, particularly this year, many families will be very worried about this very subject. When all the schools were shut, I couldn’t help but notice how, although the children certainly did spend time playing with their toys, it was the special times we tried to create as a family during this time that we all remember with the most fondness. Playing in the garden, video calls with family and friends, painting rainbows, baking and of course, reading: that’s what kept us going as a family during that time.
Invest in experiences rather than things
Based on these reflections of this turbulent year, I am going to try very hard to stick to investing less in ‘things’, and more in experiences. Unlike a toy on Christmas day, a subscription to The Bear Can Read offers surprises throughout the year, and makes it easy to spend precious time with little ones during those days that go by so quickly. And the end result is a more literate child. It’s been a rough year for us all, and we have mourned the loss of so much. But throughout all of this, we never lost our ability to read and the pleasure that this confers.
As my grandfather always used to say, ‘You can lose everything, but nothing can take away a good education’. Let’s all make reading together a priority this Christmas with book subscriptions, book tokens and books at the top our gift list. If you have children aged 2-7, why not add a big red bow to the gorgeous The Bear Can Read box and put it under the tree?
For anyone interested in giving the gift of reading this year, your can easily take out a subscription for a family, friend or your own children. We are happy to include any notes in the first box and send it out to arrive in time for Christmas! Use the code Pearson5 to get your first bundle for just £5 and free shipping.