Blog-osity Guest Blogger and Child Psychotherapist Joanna Fortune writes about the important lessons for our children this Christmas, in giving to others less fortunate.

Angel tree newsletter

Christmas is about giving and the Christmas season is the perfect time to start teaching children and young people about the value and importance of giving to others, especially others who have less than they do. Christmas starts earlier and earlier meaning there is a very long, drawn out, commercially driven lead up, which can be hyper stimulating and hyper arousing for children. It can quickly become about the "stuff" and not the spirit of the season. Children are bombarded with commercial market driven images trying to influence and sway them towards one toy or another and all of a sudden you will be facing a Santa list as long as your family grocery receipt!

It is important that children learn that there are people in the world who are not as lucky as they are and will not be able to have the type of Christmas they will have. One way to start developing a sense of appreciation in children is to involve them in a giving back project. That may be a shoebox appeal and have them use some of their pocket money to buy items to go into the shoebox or something special like the Angel Tree in the reception of Imaginosity. In aid of Barnardos you and your child can choose a name from the tree and go buy that child a gift for Christmas. Again I would encourage you to have your child contribute some of their pocket money towards the gift and involve them in choosing the gift while talking about how some children won't get as many gifts this year and it is nice to help others and be kind to others.

A family giving project like this will help you to instil a sense of empathy, giving, nurturing and understanding in your child that will stand to them long after Christmas. It will help them to appreciate what they receive and to integrate that Christmas isn't all about what they can get from others but also what they can give back to others. In addition to something like Imaginosity's Angel Tree giving project, you could encourage your children to gift their time and talents to family members this year in lieu of gifts. For example your child could gift 30 minutes of play time to keep a younger child occupied or to play their instrument at a family dinner/event for everyone or bake some Christmas cookies to share with everyone or 2 tidy my room vouchers etc You can get as creative as you like with it.

By downplaying the presents and taking small steps towards volunteering to help others less fortunate you are giving your child the very best kind of gift and one that lives way beyond Christmas

Imaginosity's Angel tree is situated in the reception on the right handside when you go in. Please support Barnardo's Christmas appeal and take a name from the tree and buy a gift for a child who isn't getting gifts this year.

Note: Please consider giving your gifts as early as possible so we can make sure that they are delivered in time for Christmas Day.