Editor's Note: I am beyond delighted to welcome Danielle of Crafting Connections to The Petit Cadeau. Keeping with our expanding theme of slow gifting, Danielle shares her ideas for the gift of connection. I'm a subscriber and huge fan of the creative ideas available through Crafting Connections, especially for families of young children. Read on for Danielle's gorgeous photos and story.
This time of year, our little family starts getting a lot of questions about what our boys would like for their birthdays. But with all the excess of December still fresh in my mind, all I can usually manage is to relay the message that they don't really need anything.
I know gifting, as a manner of celebrating an occasion, isn't about need. But sometimes I do think the best gift is no gift at all - especially when it comes to little ones. Well, let me clarify just a touch. Perhaps the best gift is, no physical gift at all. How about instead of gifting things, we gift connection?
The Importance of Connection
But why would you want to do that? Why would you want to gift connection instead of an actual gift, in a shiny box with a beautiful bow? Well, that answer is two-fold. First, a matter of practicality. Youth is a time when wants and needs change so quickly, passions can be fleeting. When you choose a gift of connection, you're choosing to invest your time and resources into the one thing that won't ever get pitched into a donate bin - your relationship!
But beyond practicality, creating connection is important for all age groups, but especially so for little ones. Those bonds they form while they are young are the ones that will carry them through their childhood, those tumultuous middle years, and into adulthood. Those bonds they make in their youth form the basis for who they are as individuals as they grow. It's important stuff!
Choosing the Gift
And now you're probably thinking, sure. I'm with you, a gift of connection! That sounds great! (or, at least I hope that's what you're thinking) But what does that mean? What can I give? How can I connect? Well, really, that all depends on you and the person you are gifting to, but I do have three tips for selecting your gift. Follow them. What is the recipient passionate about? Is there a way to build on that passion? Or simply share it with them? Do they love water; why not plan a day at the beach? Perhaps they are budding chefs; maybe a day in the kitchen where you prepare a meal together would be just the thing?
Take time to share. Perhaps they have always admired a talent of yours and you'd like to take the chance to share your skill with them. Have they watched you on the sofa knitting away; how about getting them some needles and yarn and taking the time to teach them how to do it themselves? Have they long admired the work you do in your workshop; why not ask them to choose something they'd like to make and help them to do it?
Keep it simple. Choose your gift of connection wisely. Be realistic about the time you're willing and able to commit, the money you are willing to spend (gifts of connection aren't necessarily without cost), and the activities you are willing to participate in.
While the gift you are going to give, should be about the recipient, the time spent connecting will be shared between the two of you. Make sure you'll both be happy doing whatever you choose to give.
Wrapping It Up
So you've settled on a gift of connection, you've even decided what to give. Awesome! But now what? Well, you have to wrap it up, of course! Half the fun of giving a gift is the unveiling, right?! With your unique choice for gift, you're going to have to get just as creative with the wrapping! But no worries, I have a few ideas there too! Gift the supplies. If you have a project you're planning to do with the recipient, why not wrap up all the supplies (perhaps even individually) and ask them to guess what they're going to make with it all!
Fill the pages. Wrap an empty photo album. Put a note in the first spot about the adventure you're going to have and the promise to fill the album with the memories you'll make!
Box-in-a-box. If you have a token for the gift - like a gift certificate or tickets to share - you might want to put them in a box. Wrap it. Put that box in another box. Wrap it. Put it in another box. You get the idea . . . As the recipient unwraps box after box, their anticipation will heighten and they'll be so excited when they finally stumble upon whatever is inside. Or just surprise them! This works especially well if the gift is a special outing. Don't tell them anything - no hints, no clues. Just the day and time that you'll be connecting. When the time comes around, just take them out and get started! Half the delight will be in not knowing where you're going and what you'll be doing next. And it is so fun to share that delight as they discover what you had planned!
So, you're ready to plan and give your own thoughtful gift of connection! But first, you have to decide who. Who will be lucky enough to receive a gift of connection to first?
I’m Danielle Reiner and I’m a maker to the core. As part of the team behind Crafting Connections,
a quarterly creative magazine for little ones and their grown-ups, I am passionate about creating with little ones, science, and alternative education. My brain is constantly buzzing with a project (or twelve) and my work table is always overflowing. I recently relocated from Chicago to the Bay Area with my husband and two little guys. We love early mornings and seeing what adventures our new city has in store!