35 Gifts Your Children Will Never Forget

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” —Kahlil Gibran

I have countless holiday memories. Most of them center around faith, family, and traditions.

Very few childhood memories actually include the gifts I received. I distinctly remember the year that I got a blue dirt bike, the evening my brother and I received a Nintendo, and opening socks every year from my grandparents. But other than that, my gift-receiving memories are pretty sparse. Which got me thinking… what type of gifts can we give to our children that they will never forget? What gifts will truly impact their lives and change them forever?

To that end, here is an alphabetical list.

35 Gifts Your Children Will Never Forget:

1. Affirmation. Sometimes one simple word of affirmation can change an entire life. So make sure your children know how much you appreciate them. And then, remind them every chance you get.

2. Art. With the advent of the Internet, everyone who wants to create… can. The world just needs more people who want to…

3. Challenge. Encourage your child to dream big dreams. In turn, they will accomplish more than they thought possible… and probably even more than you thought possible.

4. Compassion/Justice. Life isn’t fair. It never will be – there are just too many variables. But when a wrong has been committed or a playing field can be leveled, I want my child to be active in helping to level it.

5. Contentment. The need for more is contagious. Therefore, one of the greatest gifts you can give your children is an appreciation for being content with what they have… but not with who they are.

6. Curiosity. Teach your children to ask questions about who, what, where, how, why, and why not. “Stop asking so many questions” are words that should never leave a parents’ mouth.

7. Determination. One of the greatest determining factors in one’s success is the size of their will. How can you help grow your child’s today?

8. Discipline. Children need to learn everything from the ground-up including appropriate behaviors, how to get along with others, how to get results, and how to achieve their dreams. Discipline should not be avoided or withheld. Instead, it should be consistent and positive.

9. Encouragement. Words are powerful. They can create or they can destroy. The simple words that you choose to speak today can offer encouragement and positive thoughts to another child. Or your words can send them further into despair. So choose them carefully.

10. Faithfulness to your Spouse. Faithfulness in marriage includes more than just our bodies. It also includes our eyes, mind, heart, and soul. Guard your sexuality daily and devote it entirely to your spouse. Your children will absolutely take notice.

11. Finding Beauty. Help your children find beauty in everything they see… and in everyone they meet.

12. Generosity. Teach your children to be generous with your stuff so that they will become generous with theirs.

13. Honesty/Integrity. Children who learn the value and importance of honesty at a young age have a far greater opportunity to become honest adults. And honest adults who deal truthfully with others tend to feel better about themselves, enjoy their lives more, and sleep better at night.

14. Hope. Hope is knowing and believing that things will get better and improve. It creates strength, endurance, and resolve. And in the desperately difficult times of life, it calls us to press onward.

15. Hugs and Kisses. I once heard the story of a man who told his 7-year old son that he had grown too old for kisses. I tear up every time I think of it. Know that your children are never too old to receive physical affirmation of your love for them.

16. Imagination. If we’ve learned anything over the past 20 years, it’s that life is changing faster and faster with every passing day. The world tomorrow looks nothing like the world today. And the people with imagination are the ones not just living it, they are creating it.

17. Intentionality. I believe strongly in intentional living and intentional parenting. Slow down, consider who you are, where you are going, and how to get there. And do the same for each of your children.

18. Your Lap. It’s the best place in the entire world for a book, story, or conversation. And it’s been right in front of you the whole time.

19. Lifelong Learning. A passion for learning is different from just studying to earn a grade or please teachers. It begins in the home. So read, ask questions, analyze, and expose. In other words, learn to love learning yourself.

20. Love. …but the greatest of these is love.

21. Meals Together. Meals provide unparalleled opportunity for relationship, the likes of which can not be found anywhere else. So much so, that a family that does not eat together does not grow together.

22. Nature. Children who learn to appreciate the world around them take care of the world around them. As a parent, I am frequently asking my kids to keep their rooms inside the house neat, clean, and orderly. Shouldn’t we also be teaching them to keep their world outside neat, clean, and orderly?

23. Opportunity. Kids need opportunities to experience new things so they can find out what they enjoy and what they are good at. And contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t have to require much money.

24. Optimism. Pessimists don’t change the world. Optimists do.

25. Peace. On a worldwide scale, you may think this is out of our hands. But in relation to the people around you, this is completely within your hands… and that’s a darn good place to start.

26. Pride. Celebrate the little things in life. After all, it is the little accomplishments in life that become the big accomplishments.

27. Room to Make mistakes. Kids are kids. That’s what makes them so much fun… and so desperately in need of your patience. Give them room to experiment, explore, and make mistakes.

28. Self-Esteem. People who learn to value themselves are more likely to have self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. As a result, they are more likely to become adults who respect their values and stick to them… even when no one else is.

29. Sense of Humor. Laugh with your children everyday… for your sake and theirs.

30. Spirituality. Faith elevates our view of the universe, our world, and our lives. We would be wise to instill into our kids that they are more than just flesh and blood taking up space. They are also made of mind, heart, soul, and will. And decisions in their life should be based on more than just what everyone else with flesh and blood is doing.

31. Stability. A stable home becomes the foundation on which children build the rest of their lives. They need to know their place in the family, who they can trust, and who is going to be there for them. Don’t keep changing those things.

32. Time. The gift of time is the one gift you can never get back or take back. So think carefully about who (or what) is getting yours.

33. Undivided Attention. Maybe this imagery will be helpful: Disconnect to Connect.

34. Uniqueness. What makes us different is what makes us special. Uniqueness should not be hidden. It should be proudly displayed for all the world to see, appreciate, and enjoy.

35. A Welcoming Home. To know that you can always come home is among the sweetest and most life-giving assurances in all the world. Is your home breathing life into your child?

Of course, none of these gifts are on sale at your local department store. But, I think that’s the point.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. jen says

    Umm..What’s up with number 5? Be content with what we have but not with who we are..did I read that correctly? Of course we need to be content with who we are – this is the only way to truly move forward!

    • tam says

      I would say this is saying do not be content with who you are because contentment leads to stagnation and thus no growth… You need to not be content with who you are so that you strive for growth and development!

      • Cristina says

        Be content, not complacent. Different things. One must always strive to be content, especially with who you are, not complacent.

    • clairematthews7@gmail.com says

      we grow and develop by becoming more of what we can be – striving to be a better version of ourslevs

    • tyler says

      This post is about things you cannot buy for your child, stop being so pessimistic and accept that. Who cares if this should say that.. The overall meaning is still in place.

    • Jason says

      Hebrews 11:1 says “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” Therefore, they are directly related.

    • Megan Finley says

      I always tell my own children hope for the best, prepare for the worst. I think HOPE is the perfect word. “Faith is Hope masquerading as knowledge.” Faith skews reality.

  2. Erin says

    I strongly agree for number 32! No one can take back time! Even I, can’t forget how my parents gave me all of these. I guess I had figured out the best gift I ever had. Have you watched a child asking for his dad on Christmas? Check here–>http://goo.gl/egfr19.
    I can’t help my tears.

  3. Priscilla says

    Recently my 30 yr. old daughter handed me a blank journal asking me to fill it with beliefs, thoughts and words that describe who I am. This post is so on point, that you can believe I will share it with her. She is a new mother, and views life from a different perspective now.

  4. Maria Healey says

    I wish I had not been so fixated with my own happiness and contentedness( hope this is the right word) that I wasted some of the goodness and joy of my children as they were growing up! Luckily they are amazing human beings.

  5. Conni says

    “A family that doesn’t eat together doesn’t grow together.” That one is garbage. If you’re doing most of the other things, this is just a bonus. We rarely have the luxury of eating together due to shift work and sports. I admit I’d love it, but we connect in so many other ways and at other times that we don’t miss it.
    The items mentioned should not be regarded as gifts (that implies they are just for a special occasion). They’re just common sense and a part of everyday parenting as far as I’m concerned. Sad to know it has to be spelled out for some people. Having a family is not a right. It’s a privilege… treat it as such.

    • says

      It’s so not garbage. It is so important for families to make the time to actually sit together at dinner and talk to each other, share their days together, and just come back from the busyness of the outside world together. The other stuff – extra-curricular activities, errands, classes – can be set aside and not really missed; family can’t be, and will be missed.

      • J. Kaikkonen says

        Agreed! Sitting down together as a family over dinner should be a priority — even if it is only for a short time. Why? Because it teaches children the art of communication and how to interact with others without fear of ridicule and/or peer pressure. Second, the time spent together as family becomes a “safe place” for children to ask questions about the world in which they live. Third, family time offers an example for children to model so that these too can understand the importance of family when they are in a similar situation. Most of all, establishing a family meal together (when children are young) can lead to long lasting relationships and bonds between siblings that continue into adulthood — when parents/guardians are no longer with us. Certainly, with busy schedules these days, it is difficult to arrange family dinners where everyone can be present at the same time … but I can assure you, it is well worth the effort :)

    • CMOlson says

      “They’re just common sense and a part of everyday parenting as far as I’m concerned. Sad to know it has to be spelled out for some people.”

      Must be nice to be perfect.

  6. Bob P says

    I try to give these “gifts” everyday, But it is always nice to read them again and refocus..

    2015 is the year I make the BIG leap… I have already cleared out the clothes and the garage and stopped the excess buying…. This time next year.. I want to be debt free.. 25 lbs lighter…Healthier and more committed than ever to my wife.. and make the items on this list a daily occurrence and not just during the holidays

  7. Jeanette says

    Then life happens. These are all well and good, but they fall to the wayside when you and your family is coping with a life threatening illness in the family. At this time you are doing all you can to hang on to your faith. Each member is dealing with it in their on way. Then I read this and feel like a failure.

    • Ashley says

      I’m so sorry for what you and your family are going through. Please don’t feel like a failure. I’m sure you are doing the best you can and being there for each other during this difficult time is all that you need to do. Prayers going up for your family.

  8. Cindy says

    I’d like to add to number 10 that your children may not be aware of faithfulness toward a spouse as most people think of it. However faithfulness they do recognize is always speaking respectfully and lovingly toward your spouse especially in front of them.

  9. Sandra says

    The things said are so relevant to present times. Parenting is truly a team work…both the parents should contribute. Trust and faith play a vital role.

  10. Alexandra says

    I want to add 2 that I constantly instill in my 19-year old son.

    – Gift of independent thinking

    – Gift of self-sustainment

  11. says

    Loved this post. My son is so intuitive and wise, and I’ve always encouraged him to speak heart to me. At 13, he recently stated. “I don’t care about the things you buy me, I care how you treat and respect me.” I had made the mistake of mentioning that I always try to get him what I can. As a single mom (solo parent raising my son alone), it’s a huge sacrifice to purchase anything for him at all. I was simply trying to express to him that I love him so much, I sacrifice buying anything at all for myself just so I can get him some little things he likes. Despite my reasons, I agree with my son. It’s all about the love and how I make him feel – cherished, loved, valued, affirmed. Faith is a big part of our lives, too. *Bookmarked this post.*

    • Orange says

      > Pessimists don’t change the world. Optimists do.
      That just seems like wishful thinking to me. I’d really like to know the source for that. Are there studies that arrive to this conclusion?

  12. Naseem says

    Your parents must have given you more than material gifts for you to be thinking like you are.They produced a loving person who thinks and contamplates.I congratulate them.

  13. Juan Romero says

    Guard your sexuality? keep it to your spouse? Faith?!?!?!
    Are you a mormon or what?
    Please, keep religion for opinions.
    Can’t a porn actor be a good father or a liberal couple? why always assume the same family model? this post is permeated with religion, what a shame

    • mii says

      he’s a christian, why must he remove his beliefs from his post to please you? annoyed with seeing someone state their beliefs but thinking yours should be respected? move on if this post is not for you. what a shame indeed.

    • Judy says

      Juan—to answer your questions:

      No/second half Yes.
      Because that’s what most people identify with.

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. That Time of Year | November 5, 2013
  2. Blogs I Read | Simple Economist | December 3, 2013
  3. Worth Reading This Weekend | December 22, 2013

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