When I was running and was the buyer for our Waldorf school store, the number one request that I got was “Please help me find a Waldorf gift!”.
And it’s hard. What exactly IS a Waldorf gift?
When my children first started in our Waldorf Kindergarten, I felt so insecure about gift giving to my children’s classmates. No plastic! No faces painted or sewn on dolls! No name brands! I ended up being ultra safe and gave things like beeswax crayons–wrapped in plain brown paper with a handmade card.
After some much needed time and experience however, I realized that there truly are very few Waldorf purists and most families were Waldorf inspired like we were. I relaxed a little and started to try to focus more on giving beautiful age appropriate gifts that were made of natural materials. This was especially important with younger children who can truly feel how good natural materials feel in their hands.
And of course, Waldorf values handwork, so I would try to include handmade toys whenever I could.
As it often happens, we find ourselves in a cluster of birthdays and celebrations to go to–mainly for younger children. If you’re a Mom like me, you have a gift “stash” built up and today I was pulling together some Waldorf gifts to give. For a very special 1st birthday party (a big cultural celebration here in Hawaii), I’ll add a gift card to the beautiful wooden princess and unicorn. For a neighbor who just gave birth to a little girl, I’ll add quality natural baby products to the small basket of white felt animals. For my son’s classmate, I’ll stitch a quick wool pouch (with a little money inside) to add to the watercolor journal and pencils.
But now that my children are growing older, they (and their friends) are most happy with the new and hip things. For my 9 year old son and his friends, it’s games (Kendama anyone?) and yo yo’s. For my eleven year old daughter, it’s anything “cool” that makes her feel a bit more grown up…
But then again, I think that kids of any age would like a little wool pouch with a bit of money in it. Even in a handmade wool pouch, cash is always “cool”! (with a handmade card of course!)