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Gift-Giving Montessori-Style!

Categories: Parenting Resources

We all adore that look of joy on a child’s face when they open up a surprise.  But sometimes choosing a gift for a child can be a tough task!

It’s Okay to Reinvent Expectations

Many of us have fond memories of large piles of presents and we want our children to have great holiday memories, too.  The thing is, it’s okay if their holidays don’t include so much stuff.  Young children, especially, don’t have expectations like we do.   Many times, it’s our OWN expectations of holiday gift-giving that create mile-long shopping lists.  It’s okay to take a step back and share time, experiences, and memories rather than just piling on the “stuff.”

Gift Experiences, Rather than “Stuff”

Speaking of which, consider giving the gift of experiences.  This works really well for adults and older children, but can be used with younger children as well.  Tickets to an event, concert, or overnight trip, or a gift certificate (trampoline park, art open studio time, mini golf) will always be appreciated.  As a bonus, the recipient can often enjoy these experiences with someone they love.


Build in (or Continue!) Traditions

You likely already have traditions, either from your own childhood or that your family has developed over the years.  Creating rituals creates memories and a deep sense of love and celebration that won’t soon be forgotten.  Looking for some ideas? We’ve got some!

  • Have a collection of holiday books. Keep them packed away in a closet most of the year, but this time of year they can be placed in a nice basket in your living room, with a new one added each year.
  • Find a way for your family to give back to the community. Older children can volunteer at a soup kitchen, but even younger children can help bake cookies to take to local firefighters.  If you live in an area where there is a homeless population, you might work as a family to create care packages: small bags filled with food and other items that might be useful.  They can be kept in your car to give to people as you meet them, or they can be dropped off at a local shelter or similar organization.
  • Bake cookies. Or cook or bake something else that’s special to your family.  Time spent together in the kitchen is so special, plus you’ll be sharing important skills with your kids.
  • Make decorations. With a little guidance, even a six-year-old can string together popcorn and cranberries.
  • Enjoy storytelling. Every culture, religion, and family have tales to tell.  Gather around a fireplace, candlelight, or just cozy up on the couch and tell stories.  Folktales, myths, and family history are all great!

Keeping Development in Mind

Back to that tough task of selecting a gift that your child will use, love, and enjoy: Read on for a Montessori holiday gift-giving guide inspired by your child’s developmental plane…

Montessori’s concept of the developmental planes can be helpful to keep in mind while selecting gifts. Reminding ourselves of the characteristics of each phase of childhood can give surprising insight!  Here’s a brief summary with ideas:




If you would like specific recommendations for Montessori shopping resources, please contact us at [email protected]