What kids can learn from unwrapping a Christmas gift

How to Unwrap Christmas Gifts

by Sherry Nelson

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Watch today's children as they eagerly open their Christmas packages. They rip and tear until they see what is inside. The ribbons, papers, and boxes (and sometimes the gifts) are tossed aside as quickly as possible in order to begin the process all over again on the next package. Sometimes, they add a "thank you" if prompted by a slightly embarrassed parent. Everyone is caught up in the excitement of the moment. The children don't notice the waste.

It is time to teach children to appreciate all that they receive: ribbons, papers, boxes and gifts. This year, when you gather around the tree to receive your gifts, pretend it is the year 1950 and use the "unwrapping values" from those "old" days. As children remove the packaging, have them gently lay aside the ribbons and fold the paper to reuse at a later date. Ask if there would be any use for the boxes before they are discarded. Could the box be used to wrap another gift in? Upon opening a gift make it a habit to slow down and have the child "show and tell" what they received before going on to opening another gift. And, of course, if the giver is present, a "thank you" is required. If there is more than one child, take turns opening one gift at a time.

The next time you need to wrap a gift, let the children help pick wrappings out of the recycled paper and ribbon. Children are taught to recycle all kinds of items. Why not teach them to recycle gift-wrap also? Start recycling this Christmas and I guarantee that your children will receive a Christmas bonus. They'll learn the true value of what they have been given. They need to know that the entire package had a price, and they need to appreciate that. Recycling Christmas wrapping may be a small thing to do but learning the value of the whole package will contribute to the future character of children in a positive way. Merry Christmas! Happy unwrapping and re-wrapping!

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