web analytics
January 26, 2015 / 6 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


How To Give The Gift Of Giving

Baim-111513-Bag

Another holiday season will soon be upon us, and we can expect the onslaught of advertisements from both Jewish and non-Jewish stores, bombarding us with much needed advice on just which perfect gift you must purchase for your loved ones.  I know quite a few grandmothers who have been gift shopping for months.

There is, however, one thing we should pause to consider. We are all aware that giving gifts for Chanukah is not actually a Jewish custom, right?  Jews give Chanukah gelt, which is money, not presents, as a reward for learning Torah. So why are all the Jewish mommies lining up to buy everyone and anyone just the perfect thing to say “I Love You,” or “Thank You,” or “Best Boss Ever”?

Listen, I know all about it.  It’s hard to fight the Western culture that has indoctrinated the habit of gift giving even amongst those of us who know better. Truthfully, even I have fallen into the non-admirable habit of giving small gifts to my children every night of Chanukah. We’ve created this tradition of lighting the menorah, singing our songs, and then bringing out the grab bag. My kids gather around, stick their hands in and pull out some shiny and wrapped thing-a-ma-jig. It’s fun for everyone, but I gotta admit, it’s not that different from gathering around the great big tree and ripping open wrapped presents with your name on it.Baim-111513-Serving

There has to be a better way, and this year, with the rare occasion of Chanukah coinciding with Thanksgiving, the season of giving thanks and appreciating all the bounty we have been granted, gives us just the opportunity to learn a different type of lesson from the culture that surrounds us.

Perhaps we can teach our children to give, instead of take. This trait of giving to others will not just avoid turning them into spoiled brats, but will also teach them how to become contributing members of the community, something we all want for our children.

Here’s a few ideas to help teach your children to give to others:

Encourage them to give some of their Chanukah gelt to the tzedekah of their choice, even, and perhaps especially, their school as an acknowledgement of how much the administration and teachers do for them. If the traditional tithe of ten percent is too much for them to give away, allow them to choose how much they are willing to donate.

Let them choose one or more of their gifts to give to children in need. There are many organizations that collect new or gently used toys for needy children and a quick Google search will give you a whole list of options you and your child can choose from.

Instead of gift giving every night, perhaps the family can do an activity that involves some type of chesed, such as helping pack boxes for Tomchei Shabbos or visiting a relative.

Because it is always fun to receive some type of gift, children and parents can give each other hand-made cards detailing some type of favor they will do for each other for a specified amount of time. For example, a husband can offer to take care of the baby overnight (a gift worth its weight in gold!) or children can offer to do each other’s chores for a week. Mommy can offer to make a child’s favorite brownies, or promise a trip to the library, just the two of them. Children can offer to let Mommy and Daddy sleep in on Shabbos morning, and an older child can offer to make dinner for the family. The options are endless, so let your kids get creative. These “gift-cards” do not need to be limited to immediate family members. A niece can offer to babysit her cousins, and nephews can offer to blow the leaves out of the yards or shovel snow as needed.  Decorate the cards with glitter and stickers, and I promise those cards will be treasured for longer than the typical scarf or talking teddy bear.

By teaching our children to appreciate what they have and what they can give to others in more than just a materialistic way, they will have the tools to grow into sensitive, caring, successful adults.

About the Author: Pnina Baim holds a B.S. in Health and Nutrition from Brooklyn College and an MS.edu from Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Program. She works as a nutritionist, a certified lactation consultant, a home organizer, and in her free time writes as much as possible. She is the author of the Young Adult novels, Choices, A Life Worth Living (featured on Dansdeals and Jew In The City) and a how-to book for the Orthodox homemaker, Sing While You Work. The books are available at amazon.com. Pnina is available for speaking engagements and personal consulting. Contact her at pninabaim@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “How To Give The Gift Of Giving”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ilana Medar, 18, of Paris, made Aliyah last year.
Jewish Agency Planning for Massive Aliyah of 120,000 French Jews
Latest Sections Stories
Dr. Esther Rose Lowy

Dr. Lowy believed passionately in higher education for both men and women and would stop at nothing to assist young students in achieving their educational goals.

book-Lincoln

It’s almost pointless to try to summarize all of the fascinating information that Holzer’s research unearthed.

The special charm of these letters is their immediacy and authenticity of emotion and description.

Why is there such a steep learning curve for teachers? And what can we, as educators and community activists, do better in the educational system and keep first-year teachers in the job?

Teachers, as well as administrators, must be actively involved in the daily prayers that transpire at a school and must set the bar as dugmaot ishiot, role models, on how one must daven.

Often both girls and boys compare their date to their parents.

We love the food, the hotels, and even the wildlife. We love the Israelis.

Few traces remain of the glory days of Jewish life in the kingdoms of Sicily and Naples, but the demise wasn’t due to the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius. Rather it was a manmade volcano called the Edict of Expulsion from Spain – and not even an invitation to return in Shevat of 1740 could […]

Garbage in your streets, my city
Wind-blown litter, lonely men

I love you in your blazing heat
my aching feet
dragging in your streets.

These monsters constantly attack
When we dare to try to fight back

With so many new cases of ADHD reported each year, it is important to help children learn how to sit still.

More Articles from Pnina Baim
Baim-092614-Plate

Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.

Baim-081514

The world sees the hand of God through us, and does not like it.

Maybe we don’t have to lose that growth and unity that we have achieved, especially with the situation in Eretz Yisrael right now.

This summer, why don’t we try to do better and cool off without blowing our retirement fund?

Do we really have that much extra money to throw away on substandard products and shoddy service? I think not.

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

So, my dear sisters in the trenches, remember. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. And who is tougher than the Jewish women of today?

People like to say that dirt isn’t chometz, but as Rabbi Dovid Orlofsky says, if dirt isn’t chometz, how can you tell? Besides, are you really going to take apart the whole closet and then not wipe it down before you put everything back? If you’re not going to clean the mess now, when will you?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/for-the-home/how-to-give-the-gift-of-giving/2013/11/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: