Gift Giving Blues
by SM Ford
The holidays can be overwhelming for both parents and children. The ads are pushing “buy, buy, buy.” Adults are often stuck in “spend, spend, spend” mode while children are focusing on “I want, I want, I want.” Is that really how we want to celebrate?
“The holidays should never simply be about spending money on surface level sentiment,” Maris Medina says. Instead she suggests we should remember “the original sentiment behind their establishment.” Why do you celebrate Hanukah or Christmas? It’s more important to remember that than to bring more stuff into your home.
Here are some suggestions for stepping out of the over-consumerism mindset of the holidays:
Consider limiting the number of gifts and the amount spent.
Some families are doing both a maximum number of gifts and a maximum amount to spend. This results in less purchasing stress and is less overwhelming when gifts are opened. Spending within their budget means these families have no debt following the holidays. These families may also ask grandparents and aunts and uncles to keep it simpler as well.
Others do a “Secret Santa” or gift exchange by putting names in a hat. A child can be more excited about the gift they are giving than what they’ll receive.
In this article, Kristen Smith talked about the three gifts they give their children—something to wear, something to read, and something to play with. I love it.
Make some of your gifts.
I’ll never forget the year my young children were so excited because they helped me sew a simple gift for their father—a hanging shoe holder. When someone asked what she wanted for Christmas, my daughter wanted her own shoe holder.
Don’t think you have any talents to make something? Check out these ideas:
I found those through a simple google search. Many craft stores have free classes, too.
Consider gifts for those in need.
There are lots of opportunities such as the World Vision Gift Catalog, Angel Tree Program, Toys for Tots, and Operation Christmas Child. We involved our children in these and other opportunities and it made them aware of children less fortunate than themselves. Check your local church or synagogue for programs. Some communities have opportunities for foster children in need, too.
We also had our children sort out good toys that they didn’t use anymore and had them give those away. Here’s a link for ideas of where these toys can be given.
I think you’ll find that simplifying your shop-shop-shopping, will change your gift giving blues into a song of joy.
About the Author
SM Ford is a Pacific Northwest gal, who has also lived in the Midwest (Colorado and Kansas) and on the east coast (New Jersey). She and her husband have two daughters and two sons-in-law and three grandsons. She can't figure out how she got to be old enough for all that, however.
Sue likes traveling and animals, especially those in the cat family, and has a dog and cat who own her.
You can read Sue’s “Real Parenting” column on the 4th Thursday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.