As adults we understand that it’s better to give than receive. However, that’s not a lesson kids appreciate.
Children think of Christmas as a chance to load up toys and new bikes (on a side note didn’t it suck when you got a bike for Christmas and you can’t ride it because of snow). The million dollar question for any parent is how much should I, or can I, spend on my kids Christmas gifts.
Lifehacker asked dads “How Many Holiday Gifts Do You Give Your Children?” and here are some of the answers.
My kids are desiring higher ticket items, which to me means, “Ok, you just have fewer in number”….however my wife still feels the need to have stocking stuffers, etc. which consist of Bath & Body Works items (also not cheap). We start with a budget, and she blows through it in no time. “The kids need more to open!”
Wouldn’t be a big issue if they didn’t seem to get a ton of stuff during the year too!
(I don’t mind spoiling the kids, but I do want them to have a sense of “wow, we’ve got it good, and I shouldn’t take this for granted” - I never got this stuff when I was a kid, so it feels good to be able to do it for them, as long as it doesn’t become ‘expected’)
They get presents. One that is a “need” and 1 that is frivolous. MY wife and I decided a long time ago that the reason for the season is not greed and that no matter how wealthy we become, christmas will not be a time of lavish greed. Today she will give away what she has to help others in true need, and I am proud of that. What she wants most for christmas is family time.
Too damned many. We always start out with good intentions, but by the time Xmas rolls around, ends up being a giftstorm.
I don’t have kids yet, but if/when I am so lucky, I definitely want to keep it to a small number. It feels like it’ll be tough to control that balance between sticking to our principles as parents and making sure Christmas doesn’t feel like a let-down, especially given all the information they absorb from movies, books, and their friends. And that’s without mentioning the gifts they’d get from grandparents…
I can sympathize with you. I want to keep Christmas from becoming a gift free-for-all where “more is better” and the kids focus on how much they amass, versus the idea that they should be very thankful for the things they receive. Like yours, my kids get extensively spoiled throughout the year (even for pseudo-holidays like Easter), and I chafe against it because I fear it’s going to create an expectation. I would rather emphasize a few high-quality, lasting gifts than the idea of “more things to open” and worthless filler gifts that they didn’t ask for / don’t need / won’t use.
I’ve seen an article on here about giving your kids budgets and money for everything they’ll need or want (starting out small when younger and giving more as they grow older) and thus teaching them the great gift of budgeting and understanding finance which I would have gladly traded all my gifts to have that skill and not waste a decade trying to figure that out when the stakes were much higher and the consequences much graver. Also that should eliminate a lot of the smaller gifts so you can concentrate on the big ones like bikes or whatever.
To really paralllel the Christmas story, you should give them three boring gifts that are of no interest or use to children. It builds character! 😉
When my girls were very young, grandma and auntie would buy lots of small things, wrap them all and then watch with joy as the girls unwrapped them all. Until the older of the two got to her last one and said, “That’s it?” I took grandma and auntie aside and said that’s enough. I hadn’t been comfortable with it for some time and this was a good a time as any to take a stand.
So how do you decide on what to give your kids for the holidays? When does it just become too much? Share your thoughts below!