Giving and receiving gifts doesn't always have to be centered around holidays. Some of the best gifts I've ever received were given to me "Just Because." I prefer these types of gifts because they are always a surprise and it feels good to know someone is thinking of you. When you're genuine about the gifts you give, an item that is inexpensive or free can hold an even greater value than one that is costly.
Here are a few non-holiday related ways to share "The Gift of Giving" with your students:
1. Just Because
Sometimes, you don't need any reason to give a gift other than, "Just because...I love you." Whether it's a parent, child, friend or significant other, surprising a loved one with a gift that shows them how much you care about them will strengthen the relationship.
2. Random Acts of Kindness & Paying it Forward
A random act of kindness is an anonymous gift that you leave for someone to brighten up their day. This person can be a complete stranger or someone that you know, however, it is important to keep it anonymous so that the person receiving the gift doesn't feel obligated to return the favor to you.
Every once in a while, we are the lucky recipient of a random act of kindness. In order to keep the good energy flowing, you can pay it forward by gifting another inexpectant person.
3. Gratitude/Show Appreciation
If you don't take the time to expose your students to gift giving, then you can go ahead and say goodbye to any teacher appreciation gifts you may have been looking forward to. (sorta joking)
Saying, "Thank You" is honestly more than enough, but occasionally you may want to SHOW someone how much you appreciate them for helping you, etc. In this case, purchasing a small gift or creating something is an excellent way to show your thanks in physical form.
Donating gently used or new items can make a major impact in the lives of people in need. Discussing poverty with your students is a great way to get them thinking about ways they can help out others. They may even be inspired to start collecting items to donate and raise awareness for causes that interest them.
5. Acts of Service
Not all gifts have to be purchased or physically tangible. After-all, "time is money." Volunteering your time to help someone with a task is a way to take something off their plate or assist them with a task they don't have the skills/time to complete alone.
I want to encourage you to not wait for the holidays to begin intentionally weaving gift giving throughout your lessons. Sharing "The Gift of Giving" with your students will help them to understand how interdependent our world really is. It will also allow students to recognize that they can make a major impact in someone else's life, regardless of their age or financial status.
How do you practice gift giving with your students and which ideas would you like to incorporate in future lessons?