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The Best Gifts Come From You

Ho, Ho, Ho, holiday gift giving can be costly, but you don’t want to leave anybody off the list. What to do? Show your kids how they can give meaningful gifts that focus on the doing and not the buying.

1. I’ll do it. Personalizing a book of coupons for your loved one is not only inexpensive, but a way to show your children how they can give acts of kindness as gifts. One coupon might say, “I will clean up after dinner every night for a week, without being asked.” Another might say, “This coupon can be turned in for breakfast in bed.” Making the coupon book from scratch can be a fun and easy activity, or print out a template from your computer.

2. Charity. Here’s a gift giving idea that puts the emphasis on giving—tell your recipient that your family will volunteer at their favorite local charity for a specified amount of time. This one will make you feel good, as well.

3. Dig This. Give your neighbors a holiday note letting them know you and your kids will shovel their walkway all season. This is a gift from the heart (and maybe the back)!

4. Clean up. Everybody likes a clean car, but who’s got the time to clean? Your kids do, and they love to play car wash. Give a monthly car clean-up as a gift that puts your kids in the driver’s seat, doing the scrubbing, shining and vacuuming.

5. Babysit. Families with young children crave a night out (or just a little bit of time) without the kids. Your gift—you and your family play babysitter. Make it at their home, or yours, an overnight, or just a few hours. Chances are, your kids will love it, too.

6. What’s Cooking. Everybody’s busy, so there’s nobody who won’t appreciate this one. Tell your recipient that your family will cook for them once a month. Double your recipe and deliver a meal to your friends or family, giving them the night off. This also gives you a chance to involve your kids in helping to prepare a meal, which can be as instructive as it is fun.

Bottom Line: Gifts don’t have to cost a lot to make a big impression. Show your kids that giving from the heart is appreciated and often means more than giving from the store.