Wednesday, August 26, 2009
This morning my seven year old decided to make a surprise for his brother's sixth birthday. He wrote and decorated a birthday card that conveyed his birthday wishes and love in two languages. He decorated his brother's chair with wrapping paper, stickers and pipe cleaners and only lamented the lack of balloons in the house. The occasion called for a present. So he took one of the books that we had, made sure that it was one that his brother would enjoy, wrapped it, ceremoniously inscribed his brother's name inside the cover and presented it to the birthday boy. All of this was going on in the morning before they had to go to school. Just thinking about it puts a smile on my face. I guess someone has been listening to one of my many lectures on the importance of being good to one's siblings:) I am not a big party person but I do like small family celebrations especially the impromptu kinds like the one above. I read some really great birthday present ideas in the Tightwad Gazzette by Amy Dacyzyn , which is one of my favorite frugality books. I have since implemented some of those ideas with great success so I think they are worth sharing here. One idea is to take an envelope decorate it, put the child's name on it and insert a number of hand designed coupons ( as many as the child's age?) for something a child would enjoy like a treat, a date to do something special with a parent or a sibling, something extra like an opportunity to stay up later than usual, etc. Another great ideas is a themed combination gift that could be assambled from storebought or homemade or secondhand materials. For example you can make an artist's kit, get a garage sale backpack or decorate an old luch box or little suitcase, put in paper and lots of different art supplies, a smock, etc. You can do a doctor's kit or a gardening kit or whatever your child might like kit, use your imagination. Another idea is to give a personalized gift, one year I decorated a clipboard and made a matching notebook with my child's name in calligraphy, attached a pen and voila ! Children have to learn to appreciate that there are things that money can't buy. That there is something very special about a family member or a friend taking their time to make or put together something unique just for them. They have to learn to give from the heart and to take other people's needs and desires into consideration. And also realize that a special gift doesn't have to cost a fortune and to use their creativity and ingenuity to may be even make a gift from something they already have on hand. So here is to many, many more happy birthday surprises!!!