How do I help my Kids with Back to School?

How do I help my Kids with Back to School?

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Right now we are all being bombarded with so much information about what fall is going to look like. I’m overwhelmed with the amounts of opinions and content being thrown my way. Not to mention that its ever changing and conflicting information.

School, sports, music lessons, daycare, play dates, and pretty much every aspect of life will be different. We don’t know what September and beyond holds for us and every single family’s situation is different with its own challenges.

Lately I have been laying awake at night wondering what is the right plan for us. I’m a stay at home mom for three kids that works part-time online. My sons will be in Grade 5 and kindergarten, and my daughter just turned two.

If I decide to home school, I worry about providing enough time to each of their needs. I also worry that their will be too much screen time in between my one on one attention. I’m scared that they will lose friendships because they won’t see their classmates. I worry they will miss the routine and the stress will be a lot for them.

If I decide to send them to school, I worry of course they will be the unfortunate one to unknowingly catch Covid from a classmate. Or that they will go back to school with all the excitement of a slight “return to normalcy” only to have it ripped away after a month. Will we be right back to social distancing and shut into our house for the winter months? What will this do to their little brains and emotional well being?

I worry about myself and if I will burn out or become impatient over time. Will it mentally be too exhausting to educate my kids, work, and run a household properly?

I worry about making the wrong decision and not being able to get over it. Am I overreacting by keeping them home? Or am I under reacting by following the people around me and sending them to school while ignoring my gut? Its an absolute impossible situation with no right answer.

What can I do to help my Kids with Back to School?

There’s only so much that is in my control:

I can decide how we live our lives on a day to day basis. Limiting our exposure in outside environments, wearing our masks, washing our hands, and limiting our social bubbles

I can decide whether I home school, virtual school or go back to the classroom

That’s it. Everything else is out of my control and I have to learn to live with that.

So that’s how I have to handle things for my own sanity, but how do I shield my kids a little, and make their life a happy and safe environment no matter how this year plays out?

I have to be honest with them

I have been tempted to downplay the impact Covid-19 is having on the world. Different cities and countries are having varying experiences, and overall our home city is in a pretty good situation. But they need to know the possibilities that could happen and why its important to follow the safety measures.

We’ve had to have the difficult situations where they were confused about friends getting together with other friends while we were not going anywhere. Its a fine balance of explaining different choices, while also being careful not to sound like you’re passing judgement. Everyone has different comfort levels and we have to respect them the same that they respect ours.

Then there’s the confusion of cohorts and bubbles and quaranteams (not my favorite term bleh), and try explaining that to them. “Well mom I don’t understand. Why can I only see a few friends and not others, but I’m able to go to hockey camp and in a month I will probably be back school?”

I’ve had to be incredibly honest with my kids that we’re doing the best we can to navigate each situation and make proper decisions, but we too will make mistakes and probably not get things right. How do you explain to a ten year old the delicate balance of their mental health through socializing and sports, while keeping some sort of social distancing structure in place? You can’t so you just have to ask them to trust your decisions.

Get the conversations going now

Have open and honest talks with the kids about everything that is happening with school

When our now 5 year old had just turned 4, his preschool organized a field trip to the science center. He was so excited and counted down the days.

On the big day I realized on the drive to his preschool that we had never had an indepth conversation about stranger danger, or what to do if he got lost or separated from his group. Or just the general safety rules of being in public without mom or dad. In a wonderful parenting fail, I quickly rattled off everything I could think of at this poor little child, including writing my phone number on his ankle in pen “just in case” he needed it. I overwhelmed him and accidentally scared the crap out of him. So I got a phone call an hour into the field trip saying they couldn’t get him to stop crying and I had to go pick him up. Way to go Mom.

With our oldest child, I had started those conversations earlier and was much more organized, so he never felt overwhelmed. Throwing everything at my second son on the day of was too much for him to process. The same goes for the conversations that we need to have with our kids about what school will look like this September. We can’t wait till the night before to bombard them with how things may or may not be different this year.

I want to prepare my kids for situations so they won’t get blindsided with the following topics:

  • They need to know proper safety measure
  • They need to be prepared that school is going to look different than it did last year
  • Their social lives will be different. They might not get to go to birthday parties of friends in other classrooms due to cohorts. And they can’t be upset about that as much as it hurts
  • They need to understand why a teacher pulls them back from entering the bathroom at the same time as a kid from a different class. Or asks them not to high five buddies in the hallway. And that they didn’t do anything wrong
  • I want them to know that if they get sick at school, they will be isolated by themselves until I get there and they don’t need to be scared, its just precautionary.
  • They need to be prepared that school could end abruptly again as it did last year, but it won’t be that way forever
  • I want them to feel safe and that I will support decisions that they make in their best interest. If we proceed with a plan to go to the classroom and they change their mind and want to switch to virtual learning I will support them and do everything I can to make it work.
  • Most importantly I want them to know that as parents, we’ve never lived through something like this before and we are making decisions with the information that we have in our best interest as a family and that’s all we can do. Its all anyone can do. So when their friends families are making slightly different decisions. Those are what’s right for their situation.

Every family is going to have different conversations around their own situation. The above topics are applicable to mine. But my motive is to make sure they are prepared for what the fall may or may not look like.

Provide Consistency At Home

As the schooling landscape changes, my plan to help make things a little bit more routine and constant at home is to create 2-3 constant activities. What I mean by this is that no matter what happens I will have 2-3 manageable activities that we will consistently do at home, on the same days, at the same time.

I am labeling 30 minutes a day, everyday at 4 pm, Family Activity time. I chose 4 pm because if they are in school full time, than they will be home by then. And if they are back to virtual schooling, then they will be here and need something to break up the day at that point in time

In our school district there are three scenarios. Scenario 1 is back to regular school with precautions. This is the current plan that they plan on moving forward with. Scenario 2 is school half time and Scenario 3 puts the kids back at home with virtual learning. Depending on cases and transmission in our area, the decision to move into a different scenario can happen overnight. So I want to offer a level off consistency at home that they can hold onto.

Activity 1: Monday and Wednesday I plan on having the kids do 30 minutes of Big Life Journal . I love love love this company and the activities and emotional development it promotes for a wide range of age groups. My oldest has always struggled with communication and managing his emotions. Their products have always helped him. I want to offer them an outlet to express emotions and thoughts they might not be able to fully comprehend on their own through these uncertain times. Check out Big Life Journal HERE. They have both physical and digital products available

Activity 2: Tuesday and Thursday I plan on having workout time. There are so many great online resources for yoga, dance videos or different kinds of cardio. Or we can just head out for a bike ride or a walk. I don’t know what the limitations of recess and gym are going to be like at school. Or if we are at home sometimes its easy for a whole day to pass with limited physical movement within the house. So I want to have that minimum amount of 30 minutes a couple days a week that we play together as a family.

Activity 3: Friday night Art Night. The possibilities are endless. We can paint, color, do crafts. Anything! Just as long as its creative, fun and an opportunity to escape the challenges of the week. We can get as messy as we want and enjoy making things together

Where do we go from here?

I think its safe to say that no one with school age children is overly comfortable with September. Or maybe you read this article and you think I’m an excessive worrier and need to settle down. Trust me I agree with you on that!

No matter what you’re thinking on back to school is, I have only two requests, and I’m sure we will share the need for these requests:

  1. Don’t beat yourself up about what you decide, or what has been decided for you based on your situation. You are doing what you need to do to make your family life, work life and personal life move forward. If you’ve read this entire article and made it to this point, I’m guessing you are feeling some of the same feelings I am. I put a lot of guilt and pressure on myself and I will try to heed my own advice and try to relax a bit.
  2. Don’t push your decision on anyone else or make anyone second guess themselves. There are a million factors that are playing into everyone’s schooling decisions this fall and they are not easy. I have had a few situation lately that have popped up that pushed my comfort zone and I was worried that I would be judged by choosing to not participate. The reactions from the people involved were amazing and I felt really supported. I want to be mindful that I react to people in the same way and teach my kids to be sensitive as well.

With this I sign off and wish you all the best for the Back to school season. As always, I would love to read any comments below and advice on how you are approaching your return to fall.

Stay safe and Healthy

25 Hockey Fundraising Ideas

25 Hockey Fundraising Ideas

Hockey Fundraising! Yay! Said No one ever! 

If you are reading this, chances are you are a hockey parent and in need of some team funds. We all know this sport is not cheap! There is unfortunately no way around it. My first year in hockey I almost fell over when they did a cash call and announced our fundraising plans. 

I can see you right now. Doing a little dance of excitement at the prospect of getting out there to do some hockey fundraising. Kicking your heels up with glee and smiling like a crazy person.

Ha ha just kidding, its the worst. I think for most of us, its our least favorite part of organized sport. I dread it so much. Nobody likes having to bother their friends and family to buy things and even worse, going door to door. But, its a necessary evil and like anything we don’t enjoy, you just have to try and make the best of it.

Typically there are two types of fundraising:

I broke the following list of fundraising ideas up into the two categories

1. Hosting a Tournament and all the raffles, silent auctions, etc that can be done at the tournament.

2. Season long fundraising which is usually events, sales, collecting cans, etc that can be done over a longer time frame

Who is responsible for Fundraising?

So as with anything on the hockey team, its all volunteer from the team parents.

At the beginning of the season hopefully someone on your team will have taken on the team manager role. Be kind to that person. They do a lot!

The team manager will oversee all the fundraising, but will appoint a fundraising coordinator and volunteers. This Fundraising team will have the following tasks:

1. Organize all of the team parents to see what resources they have for donations. Whether it be corporate sponsorship, cash donations or items for raffles and other initiatives.

2. They might have to get out there and pound the pavement to get grocery stores to donate items for raffles, swag bags, tournament snacks, etc.

3. Contact local businesses for donations

4. Decide what the fundraising initiatives will be for the year and at home tournament

5. Organize supplies, set things up, research and apply for any gaming licences needed and collect money from families for season long fundraising.

6. Enroll the parents in all the initiatives

7. Write thank you letters to those people that donated

HOCKEY FUNDRAISING AT YOUR HOME TOURNAMENT IDEAS:

Just a quick note about Team fundraising at your home tournaments. Make sure to only pick one or two things and really focus on them. It becomes off putting to attendees if they are hit up for money every two minutes. So don’t do a silent auction, plus a raffle, plus a 50/50, plus a puck toss, plus one or two items. Just pick one or two and do them well!

1. Pop a Balloon

Instructions:

At your home tournament blow up a couple hundred balloons. Sell them for $2 each. In each balloon have a prize written on a piece of paper. Prizes range from a Sucker to a bottle of wine.  Purchase the smaller prizes at the dollar store for $0.25 value and have a few larger items donated to entice players to try and win. Make the smaller items edible for a little treat as opposed to a dollar store toy that will end up in the garbage.

Supplies:

  • Balloons
  • paper
  • Garbage Bags to Hold Balloons
  • Tape to attach them to a display wall
  • Box to store Prizes
  • Prizes
  • Garbage Bags to hold the balloons
Number of Balloons available for saleBalloon Sales ($2 each)Estimated Cost of Prizes and balloon(depending on Donations)Break Even point salesPotential Profit
50$100$2512 balloons$75
100$200$5025 balloons$150
150$300$75 38 balloons$225

2. Punch a Prize

Instructions:

Similar to the balloon popper. People have a chance to win a prize by punching through tissue paper to get what’s in the cup.  You can either display all the cups out on a table or build a board and cut holes to insert the cups in. Then you use elastics to cover each cup with tissue paper. Have one or two BIG prize which you have donated. Something like sports tickets, Wine basket, Signed Jersey, Photo session, etc. in the remainder of the cups have chocolates, suckers, hockey laces and other small prizes.

Supplies:

  • Cups
  • Tissue Paper
  • Elastics
  • Cardboard (If you want to build a wall)
  • Prizes
Punch Board size. Total amount of cups availableCups Sales (1 for $5, and 3 for $10)Cost of Prizes and supplies (Depending on Donations)Break Even Point SalesPotential Profits
50 Cups$170-$250$255-9 cups$145-$225
100 Cups$335-$500$459-15 cups$290-$455


3. The Great Wall of Presents

Instructions: 

How good are you at getting donations? Every team I’ve been always have that one couple or parent that seems to be able to get donations from everywhere! They pull in Jerseys, hockey tickets, photo sessions and other crazy things. But then sometimes it stinks to see no one bid on great prizes or buy raffle tickets. With the wall of Donations you wrap a variety of boxes with a guaranteed prize of $25 but up to the chance of a $200 prize. Your earning potential is quite big. People love the chance of the unknown. 

If you have sell 1 box for $25 each or 2 for $40 you can aim for 100 boxes. This will make you $2000-$2500. But it takes a lot of leg work to fill those boxes.

To get donations, ask a variety of local grocery stores, coffee shops, liquor stores, sporting good stores, pubs and other businesses to donate $25-$40 gift cards. If you have a few parent volunteers pitch in and hit 5-10 places each it doesn’t take long at all. Then use any merchandise donated from family and friends businesses as prizes to be wrapped up as well. Some great ideas are movie tickets, admissions tickets to local entertainment companies, services and more. Its a large undertaking but so much fun and the presentation of all the wrapped gifts is endless. I did this example on a pretty big scale, but you can take the concept and make it less expensive for tickets and prizes as well.

Supplies: 

  • Wrapping paper and gift bags (you can save if people have any leftovers at home and can donate)
  • A ton of prizes!
Present Wall Size. Amount of presents availableTotal Present Sales (1 for $25 and 2 for $40)Cost of Prizes and supplies (assuming all prizes are donated)Break Even Point SalesPotential Profits
25 Presents$505-$625$251 prize$480-$600
50 Presents$1000-$1250$502-3 prizes$950-$1200
100 Presents$2000-$2500$1004-5 prizes$1900-$2400

4. A lottery Poster

lottery tickets

Instructions: 

Super Simple. Fill a poster with lottery tickets and then raffle off the poster. With the potential to win a lot more than the face value of the tickets, people go nuts over the “possibility”.  You can spend $50-$70 on lottery tickets and sell 1 ticket for $5, 3 for $10 and 5 for $15. All you have to do is sell 10-25 to cover your costs and then all the rest is profit. Sometimes we’ve covered with one customer! Its a good idea to always write the names and contacts down of people as they but the tickets. People can lose tickets and you don’t want any disputes when its time to announce the winner.

Supplies:

  • lottery tickets
  • Poster Board
  • Raffle Tickets
Lottery TicketsRaffle Ticket SalesCost of Lottery Tickets and suppliesBreak Even Point SalesPotential Profits
Large Poster$Endless!$65-$9018-30 ticketsEndless, but realistically $200-$500

5. Pick a Puck

Instructions:

If you have the resources or ability to get a puck signed by an NHL player then this is a great option.  You fill a table with pucks and people pay to pick a puck and flip it over. One of the pucks will have an autograph on it. (Cross your fingers it isn’t the first puck flipped) If they lose at least they got a puck to keep 🙂 You can never have too many pucks!

Supplies: 

  • Signed Puck
  • Blank Pucks in bulk (Canadian tire has their branded pucks at 30 for $35, but sometimes you can get a location to donate them as advertising. They are only branded on one side so you can put the logo side down to hide which one is signed)
Amount of Pucks availablePuck Sales ($5 each)Cost of Prizes and suppliesBreak Even Point SalesPotential Profits
25$125$255 pucks$100
50$250$5010 pucks$200
100$500$10020 pucks$400

6. The Puck Toss 

Instructions:

You have to double check with the arena to make sure they allow it but its a great one. People purchase pucks throughout the game with a number on them. You keep a sign up sheet to make sure you know what number is purchased. Then usually between second and third period, everyone from the stands throws them on the ice. The person that throws it closest to center ice wins a prize. .You can also run it as a 50/50 with the winning person winning half the money. You can charge whatever you like for the pucks, but I will do the example of $2 each. The prize can be donated.

Supplies:

  • A Prize unless you are doing the 50/50
  • Pucks you can borrow from the team bag or your hockey organization
  • A volunteer to announce the Toss and confirm the winner
Number of PucksPuck Sales ($2/puck)Cost of Prizes and suppliesBreak Even Point SalesPotential Profits
25$50$0 (or 1/2 of winnings)0 Pucks$50 ($25 if 50/50)
75$150$0 (or 1/2 of winnings)0 Pucks$150 ($75 if 50/50)
150$300$0 (or 1/2 of winnings)0 Pucks$300 ($150 if 50/50)

7. 50/50

Instructions:

You know what they say. If its not broke, don’t fix it. People love 50/50 draws. If you have a good sales person on your team and there are a lot of spectators it can go really well. And other than the Raffle tickets, there are no up front costs. I am quite certain everyone reading this knows what a 50/50 raffle is, but just in case. A 50/50 is when you sell tickets and you pick a winner. They win half and you keep half. $2 is a great amount to sell them at because people will almost always buy more than 1.

Supplies:

  •  Raffle Tickets. Since the Rolls usually come in one giant size, the price will be the same no matter how many you sell
  • A Bucket to keep the tickets in
Raffle Tickets AmountTicket SalesSupplies and Prize CostBreak Even Point SalesPotential Profits
50$100$105 tickets$90
100$200$105 tickets$190
200$400$105 tickets$390

Season Long Hockey Fundraising Ideas

Next moving onto the fundraising ideas that can be done all season. These can start on day one. Some of these are pretty big endeavors so it really depends on how many funds you need to raise for the year. Your team manager needs to get a good feel for the team on how many tournaments they want to attend for the year. If everyone wants to do a lot than you might have a lot or work on your hands. So make sure to have some fun with it!

8. Justfundraising.com/canada

Instructions:

This organization makes things very straightforward and easy for you. They include order forms, profit charts and free shipping. They have the following options of items to sell:

  • Cookie Dough
  • Scratch Cards
  • Lollipops
  • Beef Jerky
  • Chocolate Bars
  • Pop Corn

Supplies:

  • Whatever items you decide to sell

There are profit chart and calculators on the website depending on what you would like to sell. But a great example are Christmas themed lollipops. They can be used as stocking stuffers or just a great holiday treat. Depending on what you decide to sell you can keep any unsold items to sell at your home tournament or use them as prizes for some of the games listed above.

Case of LollipopsEach player must sell (based on 15 players)Sales at $1 eachCost of Each Case ($290/case)Potential Profits
1 case = 640 lollipops43$640$290$350
2 case = 1280 lollipops86$1280$290$700

9. Hockey Spirit Fundraising Calendar

Instructions:

These calendars have really beautiful illustrations of everything hockey. They are sentimental and easy to sell. You Sell them for $20 and the team keeps $10.The best part is that there is no money up front and free shipping. They invoice you after you do your sales run.

Supplies:

  • none!
Number of CalendarsEach Player must Sell (assuming 15 players)Total Sales ($20/ calendar)Cost of  Calendars ($10/ calendar)Potential Profits
1 box = 35 calendars2-3$700$350$350
2 boxes = 70 calendars4-5$1400$700$700
3 boxes = 105 calendars7$2100$1050$1050

10.The mixing spoon 

Instructions:

The mixing spoon is a fundraising company offering brownie, chili, soup, cookie and scone mixes. They come in adorable jars that look like Grandma made them!

You get the order sheets and distribute them out to the team to collect pre-orders. Then they arrive about 1-4 weeks later. Because of their packaging you can suggest that they make great Christmas gifts for teachers and co-workers, so selling them in October to have them arrive by the end of November is a great plan.

There is no minimums. And free shipping on large enough orders. Each Jar sells for $10 and the team keeps $4.

Supplies:

  • Order forms from the company
Amount of JarsEach Player Must Sell (assuming 15 players)Total Sales ($10/Jar)Total Costs ($6/Jar)Potential Profit
755$750$450$300
15010$1500$900$600
22515$2250$1350$900

11. Custom Cookbook

Instructions:

Have all the cooks and bakers of the hockey team send in their favorite recipes. Or you could make it something hockey related, like “the best pre and post Ice time Snacks”. Send them in to a printer and have them bound into a fun cookbook. If you have a graphic designer even better to help! Sell them for $20. Your costs depending on how resourceful you can be can range from $5-$10.

Supplies:

  • At least 20 recipes (preferable more) to make it fun. And photos of the recipes
  • A printing location
Amount of Cookbooks availableEach Player must Sell (Assuming 15 players)Total Sales ($20/ cookbook)Cost of CookbooksPotential Profits
453$900$225-$450$450-$675
906$1800$450-$900$900-$1350
15010$3000$750-$1500$1500-$2250

12. Partner up with a Local Pub

Instructions:

Many pubs, especially ones in your community, love to partner up with sports teams. You can arrange it as a set menu with a set price and sell tickets. Or some prefer to donate a portion of their sales that night. Your job is to invite everyone you know and make a fun night! Most parents don’t need their arm twisted too hard to have a night out.

Depending on the size of the event, you can host something like a 50/50 throughout the evening. You can also ask the pub if they are ok with you asking other patrons to buy raffle tickets as well.

Every ticket price is going to vary based on your pub partnership. But an example would be selling tickets for $30 and the team keeps $10. Attendees would get a set meal and a drink ticket. Then depending on your arrangement some may give you a percentage of drink sales too. Totally depending on whether its a private or public event.

For the example below, lets look at a public event that you are just selling tickets to. No drink sale percentages. The great thing is, at the very minimum, if you can get a pub to agree to 30 tickets, you can just have an adult night out and make $300 for the team

Supplies:

  • None other than your contact list
Tickets availableEach Player must Sell (assuming 15 players)Total Sale ($30/ticket)Cost of tickets ($20/ticket)Potential Profit
302$900$600$300
604$1800$1200$600
906$2700$1800$900
1208$3600$2400$1200

13. Professional Photo Session

Instructions:

I bet someone on your team knows a professional photographer. Everyone knows a talented photographer. Whether it be family or someone that you’ve used in the past. And photographers love exposure (see my pun there ha).

Ask a photographer to hold a mini session and families can pay and sign up for a time slot. If you charge $100/mini session. People sign up for a 30 minute slot. Give yourself time in between each slot as a buffer, but you could have 6-8 throughout a day. Offer three different dates and try to fill all the slots. The photographer makes $50/hour for the sessions and donates editing, but the selling point for them is people seeing how amazing they are as well the chance to sell prints of photos taken.

Supplies:

  • Just volunteers to help the photographer organize time slots and help them on the day of to ensure people are showing up and leaving when their slot is over.
Number of SessionsEach Player must sell (15 players)Total SalesCost of Sessions ($50/session)Potential Profits
8 Sessions (1 Day of sessions)Half session each$800$400$400
16 Sessions (2 Days of sessions)1 session each$1600$800$800
24 Sessions (3 Days of sessions)2 sessions each$2400$1200$1200

14. Rent a player

Instructions:

I went back and forth on recommending this one because it has to be done in a safe way. When I was in high school they had a program called rent a student where locals would pay $5/hour/student to get cheap labor to clean up their yards. But the school would literally drop us off on a doorstep with no supervision. I feel like in this day and age you might want to have an updated version. Maybe rent a trio where its one adult and two players available for rent for labor or errands.

You also have to have a clear price, rules and jobs they will perform available. You don’t want to send the kids out to be clearing out unsafe places or working with machinery that could injure them. Advertise certain services like simple yard clean up or snow shoveling.

You can charge $20/hour for the trio of one adult and two kids

Supplies:

  • Flyers
  • Possibly Shovels, rakes and other yard tools
Hours of laborEach player must sell (15 players)Total SalesCostsPotential Profits
5each trio find one hour of labor$100$25 for posters$75
15each trio finds three hours of labor$300$25 for posters$275
30each trio finds ten hours of labor$600$25 for posters$575

15. Sell Tickets

Instructions:

Ask local businesses that sell admission tickets if they have a fundraising program. A lot of places sell the tickets to the team at bulk prices and then you turn around and sell them for a profit. For example. Lets say a trampoline park sells admission for $20/Hour. They sell the tickets to you at $10 each. You sell them to friends and family at $15 each. Each player is responsible for 10 tickets minimum. If you have 15 players that equals minimum of $750. People love it because they get discounted prices on tickets they would have bought anyway or that they can use as Christmas presents.

Supplies:

  • None
Total Tickets availableEach player must sell (15 playersTotal Sales  ($15/ticket)Cost of tickets ($10/ticket)Potential Profit
15010$2250$1500$750
22515$3375$2250$1125
30020$4500$3000$1500

16.  The Ultimate Yard Sale

Instructions:

You would either have to find an indoor space for this one or jump on it fast if there is a nice September weather weekend. But have each family bring as much as they possibly can for the ultimate yard sale. You throw it up on kijiji or other social media outlets that there is a 15-17 family yard sale and shoppers will come in droves! The outcome of this one is hugely varied but could bring in a couple thousand if done right.

An easy system for pricing is to have a large chart posted all around the sale and assign a colored sticker to each price. For example:

green sticker – $2, blue sticker $5, red sticker $10, yellow sticker $15, etc

Supplies:

  • Venue (school parking lot, arena parking lot, indoor gym)
  • Tables (hopefully venue will let you borrow some)
  • cash float
  • price tag stickers
Total donated Items availableEach player must donate (15 players)Total Sales (avg $5/item)Total Costs (variable but min poster supplies)Potential Profits
15010 items$750$25$725
22515 items$1125$25$1100
30020 items$1500$25$1475

17.  Throw a party

Instructions:

Rent out a community center, hire (or hopefully you know) a DJ, Buy some supplies for a concession and sell some tickets! Lets be honest, most kids at the hockey playing age don’t want to dance at a party so see if you can rent a space that allows floor hockey or other activities. This is also an opportunity that you can try some of the other ideas like punch a prize to raise a little extra money. By the time the whole team invites their family and friends, the numbers really easily hit a couple hundred people.

Supplies:

  • Community center or Venue (roughly $50/hour rental)
  • Concession – if you buy 200 pop and a variety of snacks and treats the concession will be about $250-$300 costs
  • Float for the concession
  • Dj and music set up
  • Floor hockey, ladder ball or other activities for the kids to have fun
Total Tickets availableEach Player must sell (15 players)Total Sales ($10/ticket)Cost of Venue Rental (5 hours for $50/hour and DJ $500)Potential Profits (not including concession)
15010$1500$750$750
22515$2250$750$1500
30020$3000$750$2250

18. Wine Raffle

Instructions:

Have everyone on the team donate a bottle of wine. Then you sell raffle tickets. You will need to go through your Liquor and gaming association to run a raffle and adhere to their rules. This one is always a big hit right before Christmas. Its also a good idea to give your players a minimum number of tickets to sell but then offer an incentive to kids that sell more. The highest selling player wins the chance to run drills during practice for 15 min or movie tickets.

Supplies:

  • Wine bottles – one donated by each family
  • Printed Raffle tickets
Total Raffle tickets AvailableEach player must sell (15 players)Total Tickets Sales ($10/ticket)Total Costs (Raffle tickets)Potential Profits
15010$1500$25$1475
22515$2250$35$2215
30020$3000$50$2950

19.  Set up an Account at the bottle depot

Instructions:

Collecting Cans is almost not worth the work these days. There are so many teams out there and you just can’t get the volume that seemed to be doable in the past. We always set up an account at the beginning of the season and ask all the team members to drop their bottles off whenever they can throughout the season and donate it to the account. About once a month, one of our parents with a truck would volunteer to collect bags at practice and take them in the next day. It made it more convenient for the team. Its not a huge amount but usually equates to a couple hundred dollars that can be used towards coaches gifts or year end party expenses.

Supplies:

  • None
Number of bags donated/player (15 players)Total Value of Donations ($5/bag)
1$75
3$225
5$375

20.  Rent a movie theatre

Instructions:

The pricing and location will depend if this works. Very close to our community there is a local owned theater. It costs $800 to rent out the theater and it holds 177 people. If you sell tickets at $10 each and fill the theatre, you make a pretty great profit. They also offered that if we did it on a weeknight and got over 100 people, they would lower the price to $400 because they would normally not be that busy during the weekday and their concession sales would be up. Its a really fun night out and when else do you get to go see a new movie for $10?

Supplies:

  • tickets to sell. Should be provided by the theater
Tickets AvailableEach player must Sell (15 players)Total Sales ($10/ticket)Total Cost of RentalPotential Profits
17512$1750$400-$800$950-$1350

21. Hockey Photo contest

Instructions:

Set up a photo contest in your hockey community. Ask participants to enter in their hockey submissions for a $5 fee. Set up an account and they can e-transfer their submission and email in their photos. You can post the photos in a facebook group to be voted on for a time duration that you decide. You could have a couple weeks for entries to be submitted and then a  couple of weeks for voting. The winning prize would be the photo printed onto a hoodie or a blanket as a keepsake. And bragging rights of course 🙂

Supplies:

  • An account and email that people can transfer submissions to. Most likely done through your team treasurer
  • Someone to run the facebook group
  • The winning photo printed onto an item
Total Hockey submissionsEach player must Sell (15 players)Total Sales ($5/submission)Total Costs ($75 for printed prize)Potential Profits
604$300$75$225
1208$600$75$525
15010$750$75$675

22. Fill a bottle

Instructions:

In the beginning of the season, give each player an empty water bottle and give a due date that they have to fill it with change. They can go door to door, ask family and friends, or even busk for it if they like. Just make sure that you have some parent volunteers that don’t mind collecting and taking in all the change.

Supplies:

  • bottles to hand out
  • volunteer to roll or take in change
Each player Given one bottle. Filled is $10/bottle. (15 players)Total Collected = $150

23. Host a Fantasy Hockey Pool

Instructions:

www.pickuphockey.com does a great job. Have someone on your team set up the pool and then advertise to everyone you know. People LOVE hockey pools. Charge an entry fee of your choice. Most people do $15-$25, but if you think you could get enough people to sign up, go big with $50.

Supplies:

  • Just the website and a volunteer to manage your pool

24. FundScrip.com

Instructions:

Hold onto you hats because this is an amazing fundraiser if you can enroll your team. Fundscrip is a company that you buy gift cards for at face value and the retailer donates back a percentage of the gift card to the team. For example, Shell, Sobeys, Superstore and Home Depot all offer 3% back. Starbucks offers 5% and some places up to 20%. If you encourage the team parents and maybe some friends and family to buy some gift cards to places where they will be spending money anyway, they are not out of pocket anything extra and you can make some serious cash.

Before you go bananas after looking at the chart below, hear me out. Because this one is so great. If each household on your team spends $200 on gas per month (we spend a lot more unfortunately) $800 on groceries per month and $100 on eating out, that’s 11 $100 cards/player/month. Now add that up over 4 months and you have 660 cards. Get some grandparents buying cards in there and its crazy how quick it can add up. 300 cards down below doesn’t seem so hard anymore 🙂

Supplies:

  • None
Amount of $100 CardsCost of CardsEach player must purchase (15 players)Total SalesPotential Profits (assuming avg 3% return)
15$01$1500$45
30$02$3000$90
45$03$4500$135
60$04$6000$180
75$05$7500$225
150$010$15000$450
300$020$30000$900

25. Flip Give

Instructions:

Flip give is the same premise as fundscrip. They have a super handy app that makes it very user friendly. They even have a very cool option where you can plan team outings at participating restaurants and get cash back! win win! Also with the app you can shop in store and online.

The biggest difference between fundscip and flip give is that different retailers offer different percentages on each site. So depending on where you think the most popular places your team will shop, look through their retailer offers and decide which option based on that.

Supplies:

  •  None

Chart for potential profits will be similar to one above for fundscrip.

Hockey Fundraising Recap

I hope you found this list helpful and maybe a little inspiring for your next season of fundraising. The most important things to remember are to have fun with it and be creative. Also remember your fundraising etiquette to buy from other teams when they are doing their fundraising endeavors. Make sure at tournaments that you are attending to take some cash to purchase 50/50 tickets or other items they are selling.

Have a great season everyone and good luck!

Open When Letters – An exercise of Gratitude

Open When Letters – An exercise of Gratitude

The last seven weeks have been an absolute whirlwind of emotions. Our little family unit has gone through feelings of sadness, fear, joy, loneliness, excitement, boredom and overwhelming love. You name it, we’ve felt it.

When the rumblings of temporary school closures and activity cancellations started, none of us ever expected what would unfold. As a family that is never home and always busy with sports, family and friends, it hit us quickly when social restrictions went into place and we were home full time.

The sad feelings came first. The mourning of unfinished hockey seasons. An abrupt end to the school year. The cancelled friends birthday parties. Even worse, the reality that my 5 year old wouldn’t be able to have a party. And the hardest reality that there would be no more regular visits with grandmas and grandpas.

As the weeks started to unfold and the events that were transpiring around the world came to the media, the feelings switched to relief, gratitude, empathy and guilt. Relief because we were safe and with each other. Gratitude for the people that were and are working to solve this pandemic and help those that are sick. Empathy for the tragedy that has struck globally and each individual situation of horrific loss. And finally guilt that although we are doing our part to stay home and donating where we can, what else could we be doing to help?

The emotions seemed to chase each other. I would feel overwhelming love and happiness at how much time I get to spend with my three kids. Then a rush of pure heartache would take over as I read something in the news. Followed by loneliness as I miss impromptu visits with my mom. Its a lot to process.

Looking at my kids I had the same thought. How are they feeling about all this? What are they doing to communicate their thoughts?

So I decided to make an afternoon project of Open When Letters.

What is an OPEN WHEN letter?

An open when letter is when you write something with the intention of it being opened at a later date. It can be for yourself or for someone else. The date can be specified or not.

An example would be if you had a loved one that was going traveling. You could give them a letter to be “opened when you are feeling homesick”. Then you write a letter that makes them feel better for those feelings.

Another example would be for a child. You might write a letter to them every year on their birthday with the intention that they “Open When” they turn 18.

Our Open When letter Project

So with this concept in mind I decided as an exercise in appreciation and gratitude I wanted our family to each write two Letters to be “Opened When Covid-19 is no longer considered a pandemic”

The first letter would be a letter that expresses all the things that we are grateful for right now as we are social distancing as a family at home.

The second letter would be all the things that they would be grateful to be able to do and all the people they will be grateful to see when they are able to.

I thought the project would be a valuable lesson in recognizing what they have and appreciating all the amazing aspects of their life. While also opening up the discussion that there are other people out there sacrificing to keep working and having a different experience.

Writing Open When Letters

As I started to build a template for them to write their letters in I decided to make four. The links are all there to download to make your own! I made lined letters and then a template with photo boxes for younger kids that can’t write yet. 

1. A Lined letter for  What I will appreciate in the future Open When Letters Lines

2. A Photo Box letter for What I will Appreciate in the Future Open When Letters

3. A Lined Letter for What I am Grateful for Now Open When Letter Lines

4. A Photo Box letter for What I am Grateful for Now Open When Letters

As we made out way through the project, I was really happy we decided to write these Open When Letters.

My 5 year old did pictures to express his different thoughts. There were certain things that I expected to see. I knew he would be grateful for family and his TV of course. But I was so happy to see that he is grateful for his brother. And surprised to see he was grateful for a meteor shower. We have never seen a meteor shower but he seems to think we experienced one. Maybe he had a dream about it?

The bigger surprise with the drawings was what he would be appreciative in the future. Almost all of his photos were centered around his friends. He hadn’t talked much about missing them and seemed disinterested when I tried to set up facetime play dates. He seemed so focused on just playing with his big brother that I thought it wasn’t bothering him. But he said he just really wanted to see his best friend and hunt treasure. Whatever that means ha ha. But it made me sensitive to the loneliness he is feeling for his friends.

My 9 Year old was able to write his letters. Parents made the grateful list a few times in different ways so I’m feeling pretty good about myself right now. My bigger surprise was that hockey was sixth on the list. I assumed it would be first. But it fell behind friends, grandparents and school. Its obvious that his social connections are what he is missing as well.

Overall it was an interesting lesson for me to realize how much we are all grateful for in our lives during this time period. I myself have become more aware of time and what it means to prioritize. Our lives are so busy in “regular” life. We are constantly on the go to one activity or another. This opportunity to slow right down with no outside obligations has become a gift for us. I will always be grateful for this snapshot in our lives where we had only each other to connect with and how wonderful its been.

In another respect its shone some light onto this relationships outside my home that I really need to value. Grandparents, close friends and my support mom network. I will never again take for granted being able to meet a friend for a walk or have the kids playmates over for the afternoon.

Finally it has made me appreciate our health and our healthcare system immensely. I have never before had to worry about being able to access a health professional for anything for our family. We are so lucky to have our Canadian health care system and the people that work in it.  This feeling of not being able to make an appointment with my doctor, dentist or a specialist appointment has been eye opening at the health care safety net we live with and how taking it away can make you feel so vulnerable. I am so grateful for having these resources in our life.  

We put all of the letters in an envelope and decided that we would open it up together when the Covid -19 is deemed safe and not a pandemic anymore. Who knows when life will go back to “normal”, it could be years. But we will save this “Open When Letter” time capsule to look at down the road. 

Overall it was a great opportunity for us to take a moment to realize how lucky we are in this situation and how much we will appreciate the little things in life moving forward. 

200 Never Have I ever questions for Kids

200 Never Have I ever questions for Kids

First Why would I play Never have I ever with my Kids?

So we have all played Never have I ever. Did I think I would be playing it with my kids? Nope!

It all stemmed from my husbands obsession with would you rather. Seriously I don’t know what his deal is. I think its his way of exercising creativity. He really does come up with a lot of good ones. Both adult versions and kid appropriate. Our kids love his daily questions.

It lead us one night to thinking about other fun games that we may have played as adults that we can transfer to the kids. Things we could play in the car or for a family game night. Obviously we needed to come up with something other than having a drink of alcohol as a the reward though.

Well lets back this up a second. I have been assuming that you have played Never Have I ever, but maybe some of you are hearing this for the first time. The premise of the game is that you ask a question and then drink if it applies to you. Or if other people ask questions of things that you have done then you drink. The original purpose of the game is to get to know each other, get a little tipsy and it usually turns into dirty questions by the end.

An example would be ” Never have I ever skinny dipped”. If you have done it then you drink. Everyone laughs, sometimes you’re surprised by the people that drink at certain things, and it leads to great stories.

So how do you transfer this to playing Never have I ever with Kids?

How Do I Play Never Have I Ever with my Kids?

First we thought we would just give them a cup of juice or a special occasion drink like a pop to play. But this quickly failed because kids have zero self control and they didn’t wait to drink when they were asked questions that applied to them. They just chugged the whole drink and wanted more.

So we decided to make it super creative and add an extra level. We put a pile of playing cards in the middle of the table. Every time you answer yes to a question you take a playing card and leave it face down in front of you. When the deck is entirely gone we flip our piles over and add up them up. (sneak in a little math practice). The person with the highest score gets to pick a restaurant we go  to next night for dinner or a movie we rent that night. Because the deck is randomized, anyone can win. Just if you end up with more cards then you have a better chance.

So how do we prevent the kids from taking cards for things they didn’t actually do? Well they have to tell a story after each round. They are young enough that we can tell pretty quickly if they are trying to make something up on the spot. The bonus of the game is that you hear a lot of stories that you might not have heard before.

Below is 200 questions to get you started and provide at least a few nights and rounds of a really fun time with the kids.

Here is my entire list of 200 Never Have I Ever Questions for Kids

1. Never have I ever faked sick to stay home from school

2. Never have I ever told a secret to my sibling

3. Never have I ever peed in a pool

4. Never have I ever lied to my mom

5. Never have I ever pretended to be sleeping when I’m not

6. Never have I ever had a dream where I was flying

7. Never have I ever been on a train

8. Never have I ever stayed up all night

9. Never have I ever cried because I saw  something sad

10. Never have I ever lost something

11. Never have I ever farted and blamed it on someone else

12. Never have I ever mooned someone

13. Never have I ever said a swear word

14. Never have I ever forgotten someones name

15. Never have I ever had a crush on someone

16. Never have I ever thought a teacher was funny

17. Never have I ever had a cavity

18. Never have I ever sneezed on a stranger

19. Never have I ever thrown a frisbee.

20. Never have I ever had an argument with a friend

21. Never have I ever said something mean to a stranger

22. Never have I ever snuck a dessert

23. Never have I ever gone a whole week without a bath

24. Never have I ever blamed a friend or sibling for something I did

25. Never have I ever changed a diaper

26. Never have I ever had a lemonade stand

27. Never have I ever prank called someone

28. Never have I ever lied during this game

29. Never have I ever kissed someone not at this table

30. Never have I ever watched a movie that was too scary for me

31. Never have I ever said something nice to stranger

32. Never have I ever scared myself with my own shadow

33. Never have I ever missed a high five

34. Never have I ever sang in the shower

35. Never have I ever secretly wished I was a wizard at hogwarts

36. Never have I ever pretended to laugh at a joke I didn’t understand

37. Never have I ever taken a selfie

38. Never have I ever worn hand me downs

39. Never have I ever wished on a star

40. Never have I ever made a wish and it came true

41. Never have I ever cut in front of someone in line

42. Never have I ever been mini golfing

43. Never have I ever eaten snow

44. Never have I ever cheated on a test

45. Never have I ever been to a sleepover or had someone over for a sleepover

46. Never have I ever done a science experiment

47. Never have I ever given someone the middle finger

48. Never have I ever ridden a bike

49. Never have I ever been to the ocean

50. Never have I ever named a stuffed animal

Fifty Down! Did you make it through a full game?

51. Never have I ever laughed so hard I peed my pants

52. Never have I ever had someone tell me I had food stuck in my teeth

53. Never have I ever dreamed of being a professional Athlete

54. Never have I ever gone to bed without brushing my teeth

55. Never have I ever peeked at my Christmas presents

56. Never have I ever stayed up to catch Santa or the Easter Bunny

57. Never have I ever had a bleeding Nose

58. Never have I ever built a sand castle

59. Never have I ever drove a car sitting on my parents lap

60. Never have I ever sat on a whoopie Cushion

61. Never have I ever seen a 3D movie

62. Never have I ever fed my supper to the dog

63. Never have I ever smelled my own feet

64. Never have I ever built a snowman

65. Never have I ever seen the tooth fairy

66. Never have I ever been on a fire truck

67. Never have I ever mowed the lawn

68. Never have I ever grown a plant

69. Never have I ever held a snake

70. Never have I ever won a trophy

71. Never have I ever read an entire book with no pictures

72. Never have I ever gone skiing (water or downhill)

73. Never have I ever played video games for an entire day

74. Never have I ever done a flip on a trampoline

75. Never have I ever eaten sushi

76. Never have I ever tried egg nog

77. Never have I ever fainted

78. Never have I ever finger painted

79. Never have I ever watched a movie in a drive in movie theater

80. Never have I ever broken a bone

81. Never have I ever won an award at school

82. Never have I ever been in a talent show

83. Never have I ever played an instrument

84. Never have I ever been on the back of a motorcycle

85. Never have I ever built a whole puzzle by myself over 100 pieces

86, Never have I ever baked cookies

87. Never have I ever shaved my head

88. Never have I ever been on a roller coaster

89. Never have I ever hit a bullseye on a dart board

90. Never have I ever had a pet

91. Never have I ever been on a skateboard

92. Never have I ever tried to roller blade

93. Never have I ever hit a home run or scored a goal

94. Never have I ever done ten push ups in a row

95. Never have I ever done my own laundry

96. Never have I ever been hiking

97. Never have I ever sang in front of an audience

98. Never have I ever been on an airplane

99. Never have I ever ridden the bus

Halfway There! Are you having fun Yet?

100. Never have I ever eaten dog food

101. Never have I ever zip lined

102. Never have I ever climbed a tree

103. Never have I ever had a sip of Dad’s beer

104. Never have I ever opened a bank account

105. Never have I ever been to a water park and been on a water slide

106. Never have I ever made a present for someone

107. Never have I ever stayed at a hotel

108. Never have I ever been allergic to anything

109. Never have I ever caught a fish

110. Never have I ever accidentally stole something

111. Never have I ever seen a wild animal not at the zoo

112. Never have I ever been tobogganing

113. Never have I ever laughed at someone getting hurt

114. Never have I ever tripped going up the stairs

115. Never have I ever done something really embarrassing and never told anyone about it

116. Never have I ever tried to learn another language

117. Never have I ever been to a buffet

118. Never have I ever had a cavity

119.  Never have I ever been to the circus

120. Never have I ever been to Disney

121. Never have I ever been hired to do a job (even if its by grandma)

122. Never have I ever been in trouble at school

123. Never have I ever had to wear glasses

124. Never have I ever asked mom and dad for a new baby

125. Never have I ever had a different hair color

126. Never have I ever built something with a hammer and nails

127. Never have I ever pierced my ears.

128. Never have I ever been on a paddle board.

129. Never have I ever made up my own joke.

130. Never have I ever invented something.

131. Never have I ever believed someone and then found out they were lying

132. Never have I ever met a police officer

133. Never have I ever built something amazing out of lego

134. Never have I ever stuck up for someone being picked on

135. Never have I ever had an afternoon nap snuggling with mom or dad

136. Never have I ever got to go with mom or dad to work for the day

137. Never have  I ever mailed someone a letter

138. Never have I ever been camping

139. Never have I ever jumped off a diving board

140. Never have I ever peed outside

141. Never have I ever stayed up till midnight on New Years Eve

142. Never have I ever got 100 percent on a test at school

143. Never have I ever painted a fence

144. Never have I ever taught someone younger than me a new skill

145. Never have I ever had a crush on a tv or movie character

146. Never have I ever built a fire

147. Never have I ever tried yoga

148. Never have I ever entered an art or coloring contest

149. Never have I ever been to a sleep away summer camp

150. Never have I ever held a baby

If you made it this far you are clearly a fan of Never have I ever with kids

151. Never have I ever gone to the bathroom and not washed my hands

152. Never have I ever stuck gum under a chair

153. Never have I ever stayed in pajamas all day

154. Never have I ever volunteered somewhere

155. Never have I ever done all my chores without being asked.

156. Never have I ever had a friend move away

157. Never have I ever wished a friend would move away

158. Never have I ever been sad at something I saw in the news

159. Never have I ever been inspired by a movie

160. Never have I ever built a fort

161. Never have I ever lost something at school and never found it

162. Never have I ever made a bucket list

163. Never have I ever saved up to buy something all on my own

164. Never have I ever taken care or mom or dad when they are sick

165. Never have I ever seen something on TV that I thought was real and then found out it wasn’t

166. Never have I ever thought I couldn’t do something and then did it!

167. Never have I ever made something I’m super proud of

168. Never have I ever face timed with someone

169. Never have I ever looked up something on the internet that I should not have

170. Never have I ever had to go to the emergency room

171. Never have I ever had to get stitches

172. Never have I ever had chicken pox

173. Never have I ever broken a promise

174. Never have I ever been on TV

175. Never have I ever been trick or treating

176. Never have I ever eaten something so spicy it made my eyes water

177. Never have I ever ridden a horse

178. Never have I ever made a comic book

179. Never have I ever pretended to run away from home

180. Never have I ever met someone famous

189. Never have I ever seen dinosaur bones in person

190. Never have I ever decorated a cake

191. Never have I ever made a whole room of people laugh

192. Never have I ever seen a shooting star

193. Never have I ever built a sand castle

194. Never have I ever been stung by a bee

195. Never have I ever learned to type on a computer

196. Never have I ever seen a phone booth

197. Never have I ever dressed up as a super hero for Halloween

198. Never have I ever slept through my alarm

199. Never have I ever texted someone

200. Never have I ever played an April Fool’s day joke

 That’s the end my friends! I hope you and your families had as much fun with this as we did!

Temporary Tattoo Pens Family Night

Temporary Tattoo Pens Family Night

In our house we love tattoos! I only have one on my shoulder. My husband is covered on his chest and both arms. So naturally I have two boys that love the creativity and art that can be expressed through body art. They want to be just like dad. Imagine how excited I was when I saw these Bic Body Mark tattoo Pens last summer.

I started with just the black pen to do outlines and then graduated to buying a full set. We used them a lot last summer and now they get pulled out for fun family tattoo nights where we let the kids draw on us and each other too.

The kids love pokemon and have this encyclopedia that they take turns picking characters out of and I attempt to draw them. I strongly use the word attempt. Every once in awhile I pull a few out that look ok, but most are pretty warped and a little sad looking. I look forward to the day that my daughter is old enough to enjoy these too and maybe I have a chance of drawing something other than cute little pokemon.

The whole point is to have a lot of fun. I find on the kids it takes 3-5 baths for them to fully come off. Just a warning, on older skin it takes longer. Poor grandma let them draw all over her legs and it took well over a month to scrub off. Check out the videos and pics below to see how we did. Just a quick warning. My sons were very insistent on picking out the music. I love it but its a bit loud. Enjoy and please send in or leave pics in the comments if you get some and try out your own temporary tattoos

These tattoo pens provided hours if not days of entertainment. There was one day that I took my four year old to a splash park and he was running around with his shirt off. He got so much attention from other kids. They thought he was the coolest thing ever. So he strutted around for weeks after that. 

Being perfectly honest it was a bit harder to get him into the bath. He was so afraid of them coming off. But we would just retrace them or scrub the old ones off and put on a new one. 

There was one day, I wish I had taken a picture, that I had my husband use them to draw a tattoo on the top part of my ear. I want to get one there and I thought it would be neat to try it out as a temporary first. It did not go well ha ha. 

Bottom line is that these were a great find. We’ve had a ton of fun drawing tattoos on each other. The kids are getting more and more creative every time we do it. And I’m definitely up for anything that encourages creativity. Even if it comes at the cost of me being covered in half washed off tattoos for a week.

If you give them a try, please leave pics in the comments. I would love to see them

Happy Tattooing!

Being a Great Gifter

Being a Great Gifter

There are a lot of factors that go into being a good gifter. I like to pride myself on having this skill. People have even commented on it. I think it is one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever been given.

I remember reading an article when I was a teenager about gift giving. It said to try and put time into all your gifts, but the ones you should never skimp out on is for your mom and your best friend. I thought this was an interesting comment.

The concept that you should only half ass your gift giving for some people and put all your money and effort into others. I understand what they were trying to say. Show extra appreciation to the people that support you the most.

I like to take this sentiment and apply it to all my gift giving. Chances are if I’m buying a gift for you or your child you are a person I care about in my life. So I want to show you that.

Another piece of advice I was given was to always try and find gifts that you want to keep for yourself. That way when you give it away it truly means you are being selfless. I love this concept. Although not always applicable, (because chances are I don’t want to keep anything I’m buying for my Grandpa) I liked the idea.

So after years of consciously trying to set the bar of being a “good” gift giver I reflected on why people say this and how I can keep doing it. I whittled it down to Eight main components:

1. You have to show time and effort

Spend time on gifts. If you know you have something coming up plan ahead. Don’t do last minute shopping because you never end up with something as thoughtful. You might luck out and find a pretty good gift. But chances are it will be something mismatched to the giftee.

If you got them something that was clearly ordered in advance, personalized, or a gift that was “made” for them in personality they will be appreciative. It shows how much you care that you took time out of your busy schedule to do something nice for them.

2. Be the master of the gift Card

There is always a time and place for gift cards. If someone requests them, or if you know they are saving up for something. But knowing when the gift card will be appreciated and when it will be a disappointment is the key.

An example would be to not buy a $50 gift card for your mom for her birthday. It needs to be more heartfelt.

Another option is for someone like a kids teacher or one of your teenagers friends  is the gift/giftcard combo. Do a small gift that’s thoughtfully paired with a gift card.

3. Be Creative

Try and find things people may not have seen before. Whenever I am on pinterest or come across a link to something cool I save gift ideas. Even if its something that I can’t think would suit someone I know it always comes back later.

4. Pay attention to little details

This means knowing their style. An example would be lets say your sister in law loves yorkies. You want to buy her a yorkie t shirt. There is a difference between a cheesy over sized gimmicky shirt with a yorkies face covering the entire thing vs. a cool fitted shirt with a yorkie outline on the sleeve.

5.  Presentation means a lot

This doesn’t mean that you have to ruin the environment with crazy paper, ribbons and tape. There are tons of way to be creative with wrapping  that are environmentally friendly. There are lots of cool cloth wrapping bags. I love to use these and tie candy or other bright ornamental things onto them instead of a card.

For something a little bit more elegant, I like to use wooden boxes. You can use a little bit or ribbon that matches the occasion. Whether it be a birthday, Christmas or other event.

6. Know the time and place for Gag Gifts

No one wants a gag gift at a baby shower, wedding, or birthday party. Know when they are appropriate. If you are doing a gift exchange at work, nothing is more weird and uncomfortable then the forced laughter when someone opens a lame fart gift that Todd from accounting thought was hilarious.

If you do decide that you want to buy somebody a gag gift. Make sure you know their sense of humour.

7. When all else fails

If you know nothing about the person you have to buy a gift for. Like a coworker or a kids coach. Give something that is either edible or usable. Think edible basket, wine, water bottle,  movie tickets, gourmet cookies, etc.

8. Don’t over gift

Don’t be that awkward person that brings an acquaintance a Christmas gift, fully knowing that they probably won’t have something for you. Its not a positive interaction in any way. The other person just feels embarrassed and guilty. Or if you are doing a gift exchange, don’t go above the limit so that your gift is far superior. You may feel like you ‘re trying to do something nice but it doesn’t feel genuine to the person you are giving it to.

The purpose of a gift is to either show appreciation or celebrate an event. Just remember that whatever you give them is meant to make them feel special and cared for. Try your hardest to make that happen for them.

Happy Gifting!