During this hectic season, probably the last thing you want to do is take your kids holiday shopping -- major chaos! But allowing your child to pick out gifts for her family and friends will help her learn how to be generous and thoughtful. It will also take the spotlight off her own wish list and teach her how much fun it is to give to other people. The secret is to brainstorm before you hit the mall, says Carol Weisman, author of Raising Charitable Children. "Learning how to focus on others is so important, so talk to your child about each person she'll give a gift to: What do they like or need?" (See some conversation starters on the next page.)
Encourage her to be creative, and don't worry about the perfect present -- if she wants to get Grandpa a silly fish tie, let her. He'll know that she picked it out herself, and it will mean that much more to him. A great way to choose gifts without stress is to shop online; if you want to take her on a special shopping trip, head out in the morning before the stores get too crowded. When you're done, put her in charge of wrapping -- with your help. She'll be so proud and excited when she gives her gifts.