What values does your family hold about gift giving? How do you express those values?
Parents can help children and teens realize the internal rewards of giving by teaching them how to give back during the holidays and throughout the year.


Set a time to talk together as a family about your gift-giving values and how to put them into action. Families are often so busy during the holidays that it’s easy to go through the motions of gift gifting without connecting to the deeper meaning of giving. Yet it is these deep connections that shape children’s identities, that teach them the gift of giving.

Family projects that involve giving to those in need can be turned into powerful lessons that teach compassion, empathy, and meaning to children. By adolescence, young people have the capacity to think and act independently from their parents – to give conscious attention to and become passionate about giving. Whatever your gift-giving traditions, it is important to revisit how your thinking has changed, and how you might want to adapt your traditions.

Make children part of the dialog on gift giving. Engage their ideas and allow them to strategize with you. Studies show that when youth learn about and participate in active giving during childhood and adolescence, the internal benefits last a lifetime.