I know it might still be a few weeks away, but there’s that feeling in the air… Christmas is around the corner! Slowly but surely shopping centers are bringing their Christmas trees out of storage, dusting off the decorations and making plans to outshine last years’ colourful display. Suitable “body types” are being approached to fulfil many children’s dreams… meeting Santa Clause, sitting on his lap and telling him their innermost thoughts and desires!

 

And so also begins the (dreaded) task of searching for the perfect gift for your loved ones… a mammoth task to say the least!

 

Thankfully my family have made the decision a few years ago, to draw names from a hat. You only have to think of a magical gift from the North Pole for one other person. Suddenly the heavy Christmas shopping weight that was starting to wiggle its way onto your shoulders, makes way for a task to look forward to!!!

 

BUT (isn’t there always a but…) this name-drawing rule of course does NOT apply to the kids.

Since we encourage them to believe in the magic of Christmas, we should create some of it for them. Give them back their innocent belief in things that cannot be seen: Santa Clause, the elves, Rudolph and his reindeer friends, magical moments, hope, trust, love, peace, happiness and belonging.

 

My list of ideas for children’s Christmas stockings has less to do with the content and more with the action involved. It’s not an easy list, because it will require one of your most precious possessions… time. Undivided attention and time that they get to spend with you: their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Precious time where you create experiences filled with memorable moments.

In my opinion, the best way to achieve this goal for kids, ensuring success, is by adding sensory input, since there’s not enough going around in their lives anymore. You’ll be in their good books for a long, long time!

 

Nowadays children don’t get to experience the outside world as easily and unrestricted as we were able to and can easily miss out on crucial (and super-fun) building blocks of development: sensory processing and integration. Higher learning in later years is dependent on their initial interaction, experimentation and ‘’a-ha’’ moments during their younger years. TV, tablet games and sedentary lifestyles are simply not providing the same input as sensory experiences. Add to that the magic of sharing this experience with a loved one and you’ve created a lasting happy memory (and learning experience) for a child… and for yourself!

 

Let’s use common sense and involve our senses when choosing the perfect gift.

 

So here goes with some Christmas gift ideas:

  • A new story book that you get to read to your child, while they sit on your lap.
  • A hammock strong enough for two. Quality time can be spent together in mid-air, while rhythmically swinging life’s worries away.
  • Cooking classes for the two of you. Now you can make trifle for Christmas together.
  • Swing ball / tennis racquets. Fun times on the tennis court for the whole family!
  • Making scented play-dough together. They can choose their favourite scents.
  • Create a dream-catcher together to look at when life needs some colour.
  • Spend a day at the beach, sliding down a sand dune in a cardboard box.
  • Learn how to play a musical instrument together.
  • Go for a horseback ride together… no phones allowed!
  • Girls and moms / grannies / aunts can go for a day at the spa.
  • New fishing rods, so dads / grandpas /uncles can go fishing with the kids.
  • …and don’t forget to decorate the Christmas tree together!

 

All they really want for Christmas… is YOU!

 

Written by Marieta du Toit, a qualified Occupational Therapist with an interest in sensory integration, neurology and human behaviour in the modern world. She is based in St Francis Bay, where she manages her school-based practice dealing with children, parents, teachers, principals and health profession colleagues. Marieta is a regular blogger and is our Eastern Cape Events Co-ordinator.

 

 

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