How was everyone’s Christmas? Mine was really interesting. It was pretty much what I expected except for some of the conversations and gifts.
One of the gifts and conversations that really surprised me was about my niece. I was in the kitchen with my nieces mum and another sister in law. The mum was telling us about the bargain she got on a gold chain for her 18month old daughter. It was $700 and she got it for $280. I nearly fell over. Her friend was working there and it was only $100 more than a thinner one thanks to her friends 60% off discount.
Quite a few of the conversations revealed the amounts people had spent on Christmas and all I noticed was that the kids just kept expecting more and more and bigger and better. I actually noticed this a few years ago at another Christmas thing on my husband’s side. My nieces got presents like Guitar Hero, Hannah Montana Malibu Beach House, Wii games and more. The mum had spent something like $2,000 on the gifts.
On the day they literally got ripped open “Oh, wow” then thrown on the floor “Where’s my next one?” No appreciation, just demands for more then disappointed when the gifts run out.
I get that kids like gifts, heck, everyone does. But there is a difference between them receiving and appreciating the gifts to EXPECTING large gifts and lots of them.
This year I was so proud to have spent less than $100 total on my kids but they had over $400 RRP of stuff, a train set, a scooter, brand name clothes, Tupperware lunch box and more. They LOVED them and were happy with what they got and have played with them.
My husband and I decided back when we saw Guitar Hero get thrown on the floor that we just would not spend and excessive amount on gifts.
We want to raise our kids to appreciate gifts and not to expect them. We want them to see the value in things and to know the true spirit of Christmas. It is not all about how much you can get.
My kids are only young so things will probably change with time, but I am sure if we can teach them to value and take care of their things they will treasure what they receive.
It scares me actually how much is spent each year at Christmas and how much goes to landfill. We spend thousands on 1 day when we could spend much less and put the rest towards debt or donating it to those that actually need things like clean water and food.
I discussed with my sister last month giving those gifts where you buy a goat or something. One of my favourites is www.kiva.org where you donate $25 through PayPal and it is used as a loan for people in business. They are usually in less well of countries and you can pick who you donate to. They then pay it back and you can reuse that $25 to help someone else. Obviously you can donate more if you wish. I just really like it because it is a gift that can keep giving and help communities. I am really thinking 2011 gifts will be more along these lines.
What are your thoughts? Has it gotten out of hand? Will you be scaling back or do you already?