Each year, my children choose a name from a hat and buy a gift for one sibling. We choose the name on the first Sunday of Advent and they plan the gifts, whispering and scheming and wrapping. Opening Secret Santa gifts is their favorite part of Christmas morning, no matter what else is under the tree, bikes or skis or huge marble run sets, somehow the package of markers from your big sister is the best gift you get. I think that the children know each other so well and they choose really thoughtfully, so the gifts are a huge hit, and usually a surprise.
This year, my 9 year old boy made three Lego mini-figures for his 6 year old brother. He made them up out of his collection and gave them “for keeps.” He sorted and created, and the little brother knew right away which favorite characters his brother had made for him (Kai’s father from Ninjago — these are figures that are not in the Lego catalog!). It was the little boy equivalent of a hand knit scarf, and a wonderful brother moment. Also, for this boy, it was a huge act of generosity to give up some of his own toys rather than buy something new. He had even saved an old minifigure package so that the toys were boxed like new. It really warms a mama’s heart to see her kids relating to each other this way, and taking so much pride in both giving and receiving these small, thoughtful gifts.