As a mother, I find a certain sense of joy in finding the perfect gift for my children during the holiday season. Nothing compares to the way your children's eyes light up when they see a very much desired and long awaited item beneath the Christmas tree. It's one of the special moments of being a parent; however, it seems to me that more parents are succumbing to consumerism bug during the holiday season.
Parents gone crazyWith the impending holiday season, more and more of my friends with children have started to discuss their Christmas plans, including what they plan to gift their children with. During one particular social get together, one of my mom-friends was talking about how expensive Christmas was and how she just didn't know how she could afford it this year. She even mentioned getting a second job to pay for Christmas. My first thought was that she and her family were facing some extreme financial hardship, but as the conversation continued, I quickly realized my friends (who are not well-off by any means) were spending well over thousands of dollars just on gifts for their children each Christmas.
Indulgence ruins the meaning of the holidaysAlthough it's not my place to judge how another person chooses to spend their money, I can't help but feel it's foolish and wasteful to spend such a significant chunk of money on Christmas gifts for young children. I'm not saying that the kids shouldn't receive gifts, but that perhaps lavishing them with endless piles of gifts isn't in their best interest. A child, especially a young one, isn't going to realize the effort that went behind obtaining those gifts, and won't truly appreciate it. A 4-year-old has no concept of money, or the time it takes for mommy and daddy to earn the money to cover thousands of dollars worth of toys. Even worse, the child may become spoiled and might begin to expect the countless gifts each year. Lastly, children are destructive and easily bored. That pile of gifts may seem impressive now, but in a month, half of them will likely be broken or disfigured and they'll be bored with the other half.
Something you want, something you needHolidays aren't about gifts. No child needs piles upon piles of gifts stacked beneath the tree. My grandmother taught me a very important holiday principle that I still follow to this day when I go to choose gifts for my own children. I was only 8 years old, shopping for gifts for my sister, and my grandmother said, "get them something they want, and something they need." The philosophy, although simple, is true and now, every Christmas (and birthday, for that matter) each of my children get something they want (like a new doll, a truck or a movie) and something they need (like pajamas, a coat or a new backpack for school).
Maybe they're missing outMy kids enjoy Christmas. They can't wait to open their gifts and pillage their stockings. My son's favorite (and most serious) part is when we sit down to eat. Maybe people think I'm depriving them by not indulging them in lavish gifts, but they haven't complained yet. I love my children, but my love isn't something shown in the monetary value of my gifts, but rather, the life lessons, such as the one my grandmother taught me, that I pass on to them.
More from Associated Content