Why do you give?

Gift giving is an important part of holidays and celebrations all over the world. Often when we think of gifts we think of objects, like a brand-new video game or that adorable Squishmallow you’ve had your eye on. But some of the best gifts aren’t objects at all: sometimes the gifts we give are helping others out, lending an ear, taking a friend on a fun adventure, brightening a family member’s day with a delicious meal, offering a smile or wave to a new buddy, or congratulating a classmate on a job well done. You can even give yourself a gift when you offer yourself patience with something you’re struggling with or congratulations on something you’ve done well, or when you celebrate reaching a small goal, like writing an awesome Kids Create poem!

Follow the steps below to write your own poem about gifts and giving, inspired by Alberto Ríos’ “When Giving Is All We Have”:

  • What is a gift? What is the most special gift you’ve been given? What is your favorite gift you’ve given to someone else? Try to think of examples that aren’t purchased objects, but experiences, acts of helpfulness and kindness, or something homemade.
  • Read “When Giving is All We Have” by Alberto Ríos. Then answer the following questions:
    • What did you notice about the poem? Are there lines you like? Dislike?
    • What do you think Ríos is saying about gift giving?
  • Read the poem one more time. As you read, try to find:
    • The reasons Ríos’ offers for giving gifts.
    • How gift giving makes us feel (notice that it isn’t always positive!)
    • Where Rios’ uses metaphors.
    • Where Ríos talks about exchanging gifts and what that exchange leads to.
    • Do you agree with Ríos’ opinions about gift-giving? Why or why not?
  • Write your own poem. Try to include some reasons why you give gifts, how giving makes you (and others) feel, at least one metaphor, and a statement about what gift exchange can lead to. If you’re having trouble getting started, you can use the following template:

I give because (reason why you give)
I give because (reason why you give)
I give because (reason why you give)

Giving is (metaphor about giving)

Giving is (description about what exchanging gifts with another is like)

Together we made (what you made with another through exchanging gifts)

Share your poem with a friend or favorite adult! You can even give it as a ... gift!

Photograph by Karsten Winegeart.


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Writing Prompt

Time Frame: 


Required Materials: 

Paper, pen or pencil

Literary model: 

"When Giving Is All We Have" by Alberto Ríos