Does Santa bring all the presents? At my house, and my mom's house, Santa brought the stocking stuffers and one other little gift for each person. The rest of the presents we gave to each other, everyone gave something to someone, even the pets. It was part of the entertainment to see who got a gift from the dog or cat and what type of self-serving presents the pets would come up with.
Seriously though, we were expected to think of others, not just about what "I want". Some people say, "Christmas is for kids", but I don't think that's the best message we could be giving our kids. Children feel better about themselves when they realize that they can give something too. A hand made gift, someone's favorite cookies or candy, or even just a card, will warm a grandparent's heart and help the child realize the value of giving.
When children learn from a young age to value giving as much as receiving they often want to give more as they get older. I don't know exactly when it happened for my brother and I, but at one point we
started giving gifts to each other. My daughter has always made gifts for each member of the family without ever being asked to, some kids are just like that. Eventually her brothers started to feel like they should give back, so they made cards and CD's for her. I'll never forget the first time I received a beautiful card from my son that he picked out himself and bought with his own money, it was priceless.
We can encourage our kids by posing a question, "what would you give _____ if you had money?" We can also make suggestions, "I don't think we can afford that but how about this ______?" or "you know grandma would love one of those ______that you make." They will catch on very fast, and they'll enjoy doing it too.
What do your kids do after the holidays? I know the first thing I had to do when I was a kid was write thank you notes to any relatives or friends who gave me gifts or even money in the mail. I didn't enjoy doing this because it was always hard to think of what to say, but mom insisted, there was no way I could get out of it. This is a good way for kids to practice communication skills, but also it helps them realize that people should be recognized for taking the time to think of them.
My mom always used to say, "It's the thought that counts." In reality it's more than the thought, it's when you make the effort to express that loving thought in some way, no matter how small, that really counts. That's a wonderful thing for kid's to learn through the holidays, don't you think so?