Toddler Holiday Invitation: Gift Wrapping

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One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned since Eli left his infancy and entered his toddlerhood is that with a little preparation and patience Eli can help with almost any task.  Not only can he help, but he is truly more content when he helps.  He needs to help.  Just today, Eli stopped playing his current most favorite game (bouncing balls in our driveway) to help our neighbor pull weeds.  He walked over, crouched down, she explained what to do, and side by side they worked together until every weed was pulled.

As the holiday season approached, I started looking forward to including Eli in all our favorite Christmastime traditions: baking cookies, decorating the tree, and wrapping presents.  However, at 22 months old, I was afraid wrapping presents was going to become more “watching” and not a lot of “doing.”  He is just now slowly refining the fine motor movement needed to use scissors, but he has yet to really cut paper, and tearing tape off the dispenser quickly becomes an arm sleeve wrapped in tape.  And granted, that’s fine.  We could do those things together, but I really wanted Eli to have some ownership when it came to wrapping our Christmas presents for our dear family and friends, so I came up with another idea: invite Eli to decorate the gift wrapping.

Want to try this at home?  Here’s what you’ll need:

Presents wrapped in white paper.

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An assortment of holiday stickers (ornaments, snowflakes, snowmen, Santa Claus, Christmas trees), stamps (tree, reindeer, red ink pad, green ink pad), crayons, and markers.

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A toddler.

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I always tell Eli the recipient of the present he is decorating, and I love to see his excitement as he begins placing stickers and stamping and drawing and whispering the recipient’s name over and over (“GiGi” or “Cullen” or “Grammy”).  So much joy!

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He averages about a present a day, and I keep a small stack of gifts ready to be decorated and the box of materials available for when he would like to decorate one.  When he’s finished, I add ribbon and a gift tag, which he often helps me thread onto the ribbon, and then he runs around the house showing his work to anyone who has eyes, our dog included.

And well, the presents look pretty much what you would imagine a gift decorated by a one year old would look like: perfect.

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