Post # 1
I just mentioned this in another thread and it got me wondering how (and if) other parents prevent their children from becoming materialistic. We do buy them one shared gift, this year it is a sled. Extended family buys them a total of 4 or 5 gifts because we put a limit on their gift giving and we are not trying to raise spoiled, entitled children. We do so much for them all year long, numerous vacations, violin and piano lessons, Spanish tutoring, dance lessons, etc. They go to concerts, theater, and generally have a very blessed life full of opportunities and new experiences. I just can’t muster up any guilt about our minimalist gift policy.
What is your plan to keep your children from thinking that Christmas is about scoring free stuff? What do you think of not buying Christmas gifts?
Post # 3
When my daughter was little (she was an only child), I got her one “nice” gift (bike, doll house, etc.) and a few smaller gifts and that was it. Well a stocking with an orange, a popcorn ball and some small do-dads. I totally applaud what you are doing! There is so much more to holidays than gifts! I miss the days of us making cookies, watching specials and going on light tours together.
Post # 4
you go Mrs.Fuzzyface!!! Much respect for you as a parent.
Post # 5
I think what you’re doing is great. I grew up the same way. I had piano lessons, flute lessons, dance classes, cheerleading, etc. We went of family vacations and got little things all throughout the year. I never felt deprived at Christmas time. We usually got one “nice” gift and three or four smaller things. And we weren’t showered with gifts by family because we didn’t live around them.
Post # 6
I was raised getting one nice gift and a few candies in a stocking. I support you wholeheartedly. When I’ve been to other families Christmases, I was disgusted with all the entitlement. I’d watch someone open a huge pile of presents and complain about each one – “This sweater’s ugly.” “This is the wrong color.” “What were you thinking?” I would never say such things to my mother, because I appreciated the few things I got.
Post # 7
I love this! I hope when we have children to get them each one nice gift, and a few small things plus a stocking with trinkets and stuff in it. Some of my friends have 2-3 kids each and each child has 20+ things to open under the tree. I’m sure the varie much in price range, but it seems like too much to me. Plus children get gifts from relatives, there is no need to have an abundance of gifts from the parents under the tree. Especially when the parents do all year long for the children as well. Good job.
Post # 8
I have to say that my sister and I are as far from unspoiled as you can get– we are both grateful for anything, volunteer, and are in public service. Our parents taught us not to ask for presents and we couldn’t bring any toy in the house without giving one to charity.
That said, every year Christmas was great! Starting in November we would each give away about half of our toys to needy families, volunteer for the special ed Christmas party and at the food bank, and ring bells for salvation army. We would make presents for all of our aunts and uncles and draw them cards. We would work for weeks thinking of what great present we could by each other and our parents with our allowance. Then, after that month of being grateful, we would be so excited when Santa came! He would bring us new clothes (needed– we only got new clothes twice a year and we grew fast) and toys. It was great and it taught me the joy of getting something that you really want.
However, I also know when I give presents to FI’s nephews and niece they aren’t grateful in the way I was. They haven’t had to clear out toys and wait 11 months from my birthday to Christmas to get toys. FI and I have discussed it at length and will raise our kids like how I (and he) were raised.
Post # 9
I am a single mom. I don’t have the time or the money to spend a lot on musical lessons, vacations, and extras throughout the year. We do okay, and I am fortunate enough to have great parents who help us out and my kids have a lot of family who love them. They are older now (teen and tween) and I do the best I can to splurge at Christmas. That’s the only time I have any extra money (I get a modest bonus.) I do, however, set a limit, and I don’t go overboard. I ask for a list of what they want and I let them know what is realistic (DVDs, books, skateboards) vs what is unrealistic (iPads, etc) I have on occasion bought a large family gift, like a computer or a new TV and used the rest to buy smaller gifts and the kids understood that they would get fewer individual presents and they were okay with that.
My sons have never once complained about a gift they have received. They have never expected that they would get something just because they asked. Their father buys them one gift each, and they don’t think anything less of him because of it (because that is all he can afford.) I splurge at Christmas, but my children are not materialistic. I think that Christmas is a time for giving, and I give as much to my kids as I can at that time. I guess I have managed to not screw things up too badly.
Post # 10
In my opinion giving children gifts at Christmas is not enough to make them entitled or materialistic or spoiled. Their upbringing all year long is what will or will not do that. If someone complains about a Christmas gift it because of how they were raised all year long, not because they get gifts. i do not have children yet but when I do you can bet they will have lots of gifts under the tree at Christmas because I want those special memories for them of running downstairs and seeing everything “Santa” brought and being so excited, just like my parents did for me. We have to teach kids to be appreciative and humble and thankful 365 days a year, not just by making some statement at Christmas.
Post # 12
So much respect for you! The world needs more parents like you in my opinion
I’m going into early childhood teaching and have been on numerous practicums and have seen so many children who are so spoiled! 2 year olds who’s parent’s buy them ipads and laptops, designer gear etc. Children who have no idea of how lucky they are, and how many children go without basic needs. Children who will have a tantrum if they don’t have the latest gear. Children who aren’t grateful, and will tease other children who have basic clothes, toys and no flash gadgets (What 2 year old needs an ipad for f’s sake!!) and will call them names and make them feel worthless. So many people’s views on Christmas have become overclouded by materialism. It’s not about sentimentality anymore, it’s about money and the volume of gifts now, which is so sad Christmas shouldn’t be about gifts, it should be about appreciating loved ones and God. I would much rather spend the whole day laughing with my family than recieve a heap of expensive gifts and have no quality time.
Good on you! This gives me hope!
Post # 13
This is how i was brought up. Christmas meant one big, nice gift and some smaller things, mostly things that we needed like socks or clothes. We also gave away our old toys and clothes and we always made meal boxes for the less fortunate. We understood how lucky we were and my brother and I never complained about any gifts my parents gave us.
Post # 14
@hlayers: I totally agree. Please don’t think that I am counting on this one thing to produce grateful children. I believe whole heartedly as Jackie Kennedy said “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think it matters what else you do matters very much.” They are collecting for children in a Romanian orphanage right now and they play their music for the elderly and shut ins. Those type of things, in my opinion, will make more difference in how they turn out than anything we do or don’t do on Christmas.
Post # 15
@hlayers: I agree. A family’s attitude towards Christmas is just a small part of raising a child who doesn’t feel entitled. I think this is just an issue because Christmas is one holiday where it becomes pretty clear how the child feels about gifts and giving. It’s just another day in the year but yet it’s one of the biggest days of the year. Does that make sense?
Post # 16
That’s great. There is a small mountain of gifts under the tree for my nieces. They get SO much stuff all year, they don’t seem to be too enthused about the gifts they get on Christmas. Plus, Christmas is not supposed to be about breaking the bank and spoiling the hell out of your kid.