Monday, December 21, 2015

Going Beyond A Present

Gifts of Creative Love Take a Bit Extra—So Worthwhile!

My father would write a short poem on my birthday card or on a present at Christmas time—in the form of a clue to the mysterious gift inside. It became a family tradition that I have carried on with much pleasure. Today, I often write a longer poem onto an anniversary card for my wife or a graduation or birthday for a relative. My wife and daughter have caught onto the ritual, with gratification, often returning the favor. 

It makes all the difference. In fact, this thoughtful act is a present in itself—the time and effort is so much appreciated by the receiver.

role model
Thanks, Shel Silverstein

 Acts Of Kindness Only Take Moments

Laura Grace Weldon of Free Range Learning wrote a wonderful piece earlier this month on acts of kindness that only take moments. She breaks compassionate actions into one, five and fifteens minute lists. Taking the time to write a creative and fun clue poem for each of your Christmas presents is also an act of kindness—to be sure!

My wife and I always write a clue and attach it to each Christmas gift we send out to our nieces and nephew. I realized the value of this custom one morning, five or six years ago, while at my brother-in-law’s family. They have two lovely daughters who were about twelve and fourteen at the time. As they opened gifts, they would read the tag which had the normal, “To ____, From____” and tear off the paper. But when it came to our tag there was a longer pause and a thoughtfulness came into their expression... first the reading of the clue-poem, and then taking a moment to reflect on what it meant. Often there was an extra smile and glance over at us—and my sister-in-law and brother-in-law would also laugh and comment. 

Why wouldn't we all do this?

Many don’t do this because they
·      Don’t think to do it
·      Don’t take the time to do it
·      Don’t believe they could write a clue poem

 Twelve Christmas Clue Poem Examples

Here are real examples—twelve Christmas clue poems—see how many you can guess! (answers towards the bottom of article)

1.     Please have a tongue taste test with us,
     Love, Santa ‘Ollie’ Claus, elf Vinnie and elf Gar

2.     Speed and Savvy equals Laughter or…
      Match—then Imagine Rapidly… Game On!

3.     Snuggle—wiggle—scratch—tippy—pirouette

4.     When Uncle John was your age
                          He received one of these for Christmas
                          And he loved it, in fact, he still
                          Tries to pull a few out of his sleeve!

5.     Jen and I hope you love
                          This keepsake to cherish
                          And protect treasures
                          So they never perish.

role model
You got that right, Shel

6.     Lessons learned are to be remembered
                          Good Times are not to be forgotten
                          Life and family is one tree growing
                          Our minds hold them all like a sea moving

7.     You know Pookie is happy by her ‘lap - purrs’.
                           I’ll know you’re happy when you don your ‘_ _ _ _ - _ _ _ _’

8.     These twelve selections are perfect & sweet,
                           Years of wonderful memories never to beat.
                           These pictures compile the essence,
                           Present the best of the presence.
                           These pictures represent love that will never repeat.

9.     Walking to and from work every day must take quite a toll.
                           A wise man once said “Heel and help the ones with soul”
                           Yes! We shall rejuvenate the wearies
                           And now we have means …

10.  When you feel like a tropical tango,
                           Dance while you peel and enjoy this f-r-u-i-t

11.  They’ll open for your first bite
                           And there, you’ll leave your appetite.
                           Satisfied you are sure to be,
Thanks, Dr. Seuss!
                           But if not don’t blame me!

12.  Go out on a limb, some say.
                           Which one, I declare.
                           Stick your neck out, today.
                           Okay, with proper wear!

Getting Children Involved In The Spirit

Depending on the age of your children they can:
  •  Write some of the poems themselves
  • Help to make up the poem
  • Listen to and give feedback as you write it     
  • Cut and color the paper the poem is on
  • Scotch tape the poem to the gift
  • Put the gift with poem under the tree
  • Hand out the gifts on Christmas morning

Answers to the Christmas presents clue-poems:

1.     Flavored olive oils and Vinegars box
2.     A family game of imagination
3.     Socks!
4.     Magic set
5.     Wooden box
6.     Home video highlights dvd                    
7.     Slippers (Pookie was our cat)
8.     Personalized annual calendar
9.     Shoes
10.  Bannagrams—the word game       
write out a clue with Banangram tiles—crazy, right!
11.  Can of cashews
12.  Scarf

Any Special Occasion 

Remember, this can become a family tradition, and not just at Christmas but for any occasion.
Write a clue poem or a full fledged poem:

This is me and Anna on her first sled ride!
·      Christmas presents
·      Birthday
·      Thanksgiving
·      Easter
·      Anniversary
·      Graduation               
·      Get well
·      Condolence
·      Valentines
·      New Years
·      Remembering any special occasion

Writing the poem is just the first step—create your own card and color it in too—with the help of your children! 

Don’t cry until you give it a try
Just write that first line
It doesn’t even have to rhyme
Try, try, try—goodbye

Merry Christmas, Papa Green Bean