Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Gift of Giving

With Christmas closing in and my kids lists and demands growing at an exponential rate, I started to children were turning into unappreciative spoiled brats. They actually started to catalogue their gifts that they expected to get and from whom they excepted to get them.

Before they reached the point of no return, and turned into a pack if "give me" savages, I decided I should intervene and teach my impudent brigade how to politely receive gifts, especially if it is not the giant $100 Devastator, which I think is appropriately named, because what parent wouldn't be devastated when they found out that their child's number one toy on their Santa list costs a hundred bucks! And more importantly I want my boys to experience the merriment of giving to others.

So, I devised a game to help teach some proper gift giving and receiving etiquette. I gave each boy a shopping bag, and told them that they would be shopping in the playroom for gifts to give each other. Before I set them off to do their shopping, I set up some ground rules. 1. Everyone would take turns being the shopper/gift giver and everyone would get a turn to be the recipient 2. You must pick only one gift, so be thoughtful in your selection 3. Upon receipt of your gift you must clearly thank the gift giver 4. Once you open the gift you must say something constructive and positive about it, whether or not you like the gift. 5. Never say "I hate it" or "this isn't what I wanted."

Once I was certain that each boy understood the rules, they set off to do some shopping. Two boys would feverishly shop for the perfect gift, while the other would patiently await to receive his present. The first couple of rounds went surprisingly well, I was beginning to think that maybe I didn't have anything to worry about after all, "my kids are such thoughtful little Santa's," I thought to myself.

THEN, it was time for the Tank to shop for the Destroyer. I feel like I must preface this story with the fact that the Tank and the Destroyer's relationship is more like Tom and Jerry's than Wallie and the Beaver.

The Tank was in playroom on the hunt for the perfect present for the Destroyer, when all of a sudden he broke out in to a fit of uncontrollable laughter. When I went to see what was so funny, he was laughing so hard that he was crying, tears were literally streaming down his face.

"What's so funny?," I asked, starting to laugh myself.

Still laughing the Tank was unable to compose an answer.

"Are you ready?" I asked.

The Tank shook his head and off he went to allege the Destroyer with a token of his brotherly appreciate. By the time we reached the Destroyer, the Tank's laughter had ceased and had been replaced with a grin that could rival the Chester Cat's.

The Tank presented his masterpiece. It was a beautiful exchange of hugs and thank yous. I couldn't have been prouder.

Then, bursting with excitement the Destroyer opened his present. He pulled out an old crusted up Lighten McQueen sneaker, that went missing about six months ago. The Destroyer squealed with delight, "Oh, THANK YOU! I was missed this!"

I like to think that the Destroyer wasn't really oblivious to the Tank's intentions of sticking it to him; but rather, he just really understood the point of the game and was truly appreciative.