the psychology of christmas present/gifts

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saied45
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the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by saied45 »

hello members of community. im really looking for your responses on what you think about my dilemma that i been thinking about. a little about me. i do not celebrate christmas and my parents never brought me up in a way that they would give me gifts/ prizes for occasions(ex birthdays). my question to many of you who specially celebrate either holidays that promote gift given is that do you think this will condition our kids to become lazy and receive gifts for no reason at all. please share your opinion on wheather you think needless gift given will spoil our kids or not.
i really appreciate your response.
retiredjg
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by retiredjg »

I think that most young people who receive everything too easily will grow up to be lazy and unappreciative. It has nothing to do with Christmas (or any other holiday) - that's just one day a year.

But what happens at Christmas (or any other holiday, including birthdays) can be a good indicator of what is happening on the other 364 days of the year.
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by bb »

Kids need new clothes every year - what's the big deal about calling it a Christmas present?
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by mhc »

I think most people received gifts as children beyond just birthdays, and I don' think that makes them lazy. Our culture has given gifts many days of the year during my lifetime, and I think we still rank rather high as a nation for productivity.

I received birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, and maybe a chocolate bunny for Easter. I don't think anyone would classify me as lazy.

There is a lot more that goes into teaching someone to be lazy or not than just gifts.
phenom34
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by phenom34 »

I always got what I wanted for xmas growing up but I am a super motivated extremely productive person, id say the same for siblings. I might be an exception, but... in my mind doesnt seem like xmas ruined me. OTOH a lot was expected out of us so maybe it was a work hard play hard thing.
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by cheese_breath »

I can understand how some people might rebel over the commercialization of the holidays, but I doubt giving your child a few gifts is going to harm him.
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SP-diceman
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by SP-diceman »

Sounds like a cop out.
Kids don’t have jobs or anything, so basically everything is a gift.

There’s a difference between receiving a gift for a special occasion and
being given 10,000 meaningless toys anytime you want one.



Thanks
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

saied45 wrote:hello members of community. im really looking for your responses on what you think about my dilemma that i been thinking about. a little about me. i do not celebrate christmas and my parents never brought me up in a way that they would give me gifts/ prizes for occasions(ex birthdays). my question to many of you who specially celebrate either holidays that promote gift given is that do you think this will condition our kids to become lazy and receive gifts for no reason at all. please share your opinion on wheather you think needless gift given will spoil our kids or not.
i really appreciate your response.
The symbolism of a Christmas gift dates back to ancient times when the 3 kings brought gifts for Jesus (proclaimed savior and new born king). The giving of gifts at holidays for those who practice is rich in meaning. The commercialization of holidays by merchants is only symbolic of one thing - profits. It all comes down to a value system that each household instills in their offspring - as with anything else, too much of something usually leads to conditioning of expected over indulgence or opulence. It is up to you to decide what is or isn't the right thing to do.

My son received an Easter basket - it contained a little toy car, a chocolate bunny and colored hard-boiled eggs. He ate the eggs (over time), plays with the car and the chocolate bunny remains in the box, as too many sweets is not healthy at one sitting. He was appreciative of the gift, and he knows it comes but once a year. What my child does not receive is gifts - every day, every week or every month - only on special occasions.
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by Random Musings »

saied45 wrote:hello members of community. im really looking for your responses on what you think about my dilemma that i been thinking about. a little about me. i do not celebrate christmas and my parents never brought me up in a way that they would give me gifts/ prizes for occasions(ex birthdays). my question to many of you who specially celebrate either holidays that promote gift given is that do you think this will condition our kids to become lazy and receive gifts for no reason at all. please share your opinion on wheather you think needless gift given will spoil our kids or not.
i really appreciate your response.
Very odd way to put it. You want us to share our opinions on "needless gift giving" when we may think that is not the case.

Anyway, my kids do receive gifts and I don't consider them lazy. In fact, they use proper punctuation and capitalize when necessary. Poor grammar; now that's what I consider lazy.

RM
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by White Coat Investor »

What about unusual underlining? :happy
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by nisiprius »

saied45 wrote:whether you think needless gift given will spoil our kids or not.
Nothing done out of kindness or love will spoil them.

Don't worry about spoiling them. Not only the world, but you as parents, will be giving them enough knocks to eliminate any danger of their being soft.

One of the innocent pleasures of parenthood is that there is a brief period of time when you do seem to have the (limited) ability to make another human feel secure by hugging them, so enjoy it. I am sure everyone is sensible enough now to ignore the (dead serious) advice John Watson gave in the 1930s, "Never hug and kiss them, never let them sit on your lap."

And there is a period when one can make them happy by giving them things, so enjoy it. The harm comes when parents don't give their kids enough attention and try to make it up to them by giving them stuff instead of something else.

There are difficult decisions to be made and parents muff plenty of them. One big one is what to do about your own family's standards and customs being different from that of your kids' friends. There's no easy answer. Teaching them your own values is important, but allowing them to "fit in" is important. We tried to enforce a "no toy guns" rule and it was a mistake. We eventually realized that the message we were sending was not "violence is bad," but "anger is bad" and "your friends are bad" and "you are bad for wanting to play with toy guns." Oops. After we realized the amount of creative energy our son was putting into make Lego guns, cardboard guns, Tinkertoy guns, we wisely decided to cave.

I am sorry to say this, it is very scary, but whether your kids are lazy is going to have mostly to do with whether you are lazy, not whether you give them presents.

If this is a specifically a Christmas thing do your best. You don't have to match what your kids' friends' families do, but make sure your own kids don't feel unloved. Be kind. Be inconsistent.

I feel compelled to quote a not-too-well-known Robert Louis Stevenson poem, from "A Child's Garden of Verses," which I think is one of the most amazingly accurate evocation of a child's point of view--I love the last line. I'm not quite sure of the relevance but it has something to say about gifts and childhood, anyway:
MY TREASURES.

These nuts, that I keep in the back of the nest
Where all my lead soldiers are lying at rest,
Were gathered in autumn by nursie and me
In a wood with a well by the side of the sea.

This whistle was made (and how clearly it sounds!)
By the side of a field at the end of the grounds.
Of a branch of a plane, with a knife of my own—
It was nursie who made it, and nursie alone!

The stone, with the white and the yellow and grey,
We discovered I cannot tell how far away;
And I carried it back although weary and cold,
For though father denies it, I'm sure it is gold.

But of all of my treasures the last is the king,
For there's very few children possess such a thing;
And that is a chisel, both handle and blade,
Which a man who was really a carpenter made.
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saied45
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by saied45 »

hmm perhaps me using the term Christmas was not the right choice. i see a few have taken this as perhaps a religious attack but unfortunately at the i did not think ahead. my apologies if some were offended by my misuses of words. perhaps the title should have read needless gift giving or so.
if i may share a story so you can perhaps understand me better. i had a neighbor for a couple of years. the family was very nice and had 3 kids. when the financial meltdown happened the husband and wife both lost his their jobs. however during Christmas time the father bought his kids new laptops/ipods and other expensive presents. needless to say they lost their house to foreclosure and had to move out. many times i think about why the parents would be so irresponsible that they would do this. a few years later most of the kids became drug addicts and thats all i know about them.

also me making this thread was really fueled by this reddit post here
http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comme ... d_herself/
i have always wanted to find out what makes kids/teens/adults spoiled. my theory has always been that its needless "expensive gift given". but perhaps i have been wrong and maybe those have kids could contribute on why they think kids become spoiled i be very grateful.

ps. i do not think giving essential stuff as gifts during birthday/holiday is needless. what i meant earlier was very expensive gifts.
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by JDCPAEsq »

Random Musings wrote:In fact, they use proper punctuation and capitalize when necessary. Poor grammar; now that's what I consider lazy.

RM
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by BogleBrit »

nisiprius: That was a GREAT post !!
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saied45
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by saied45 »

Random Musings wrote:
saied45 wrote:hello members of community. im really looking for your responses on what you think about my dilemma that i been thinking about. a little about me. i do not celebrate christmas and my parents never brought me up in a way that they would give me gifts/ prizes for occasions(ex birthdays). my question to many of you who specially celebrate either holidays that promote gift given is that do you think this will condition our kids to become lazy and receive gifts for no reason at all. please share your opinion on wheather you think needless gift given will spoil our kids or not.
i really appreciate your response.
Very odd way to put it. You want us to share our opinions on "needless gift giving" when we may think that is not the case.

Anyway, my kids do receive gifts and I don't consider them lazy. In fact, they use proper punctuation and capitalize when necessary. Poor grammar; now that's what I consider lazy.

RM
unfortunately Im using my tablet which for some reason never capitalize anything automatically. also it was late at night and had to get up for work and did not double check my grammar/spelling. My apologies :oops:
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by LazyNihilist »

So where are all the presents that turned me Lazy? :wink:
The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must -Thucydides
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by 555 »

We provide for our children. We don't give them gifts.
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by Mrs.Feeley »

What a wonderful post, Nisiprius! Thank you for typing in the "Children's Garden of Verses" poem, I had not read it before.

I don't remember a single Christmas present from my parents, although I know there were many. But all the time I spent with them is still special to me, and the things I learned from them have followed me everyday.
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by bottlecap »

I've always wondered what was causing generations of children to grow up feeling entitled. I guess the culprit has been under our noses for 2,000 years!

Actually, I think it's quite the opposite. I only remember getting gifts on special occasions like Christmas (although I'm sure that I probably got things on non-occasions, too, just not frequently), which taught me that money didn't grow on trees and conditioned me for delayed gratification ("No, you can't have that now. Maybe Santa will bring it to you at Christmas time.")

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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by KyleAAA »

No. Indeed, reciprocity is a deeply ingrained human characteristic. We are conditioned to give when we receive and vice versa. It was supposedly quite important to early human societies. Society doesn't seem to have become any lazier over the past few thousand years, so that would tend to reject the hypothesis.
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by Rodc »

condition our kids to become lazy and receive gifts for no reason at all.
Well you start with the reasons, Christmas, birthdays then ask about no reason at all.

:confused

At some level ALL gifts are not needed by definition.

What a cold world with no gifts.

Once in an antique store I saw a ring my girl friend liked, just a comment from her in passing. I bought it on the spur of the moment. It was fun for us both, a little spontaneous show of love (awwww... :) ) (She is now my wife). Once in a while I will buy a gift for one of my children even if not a birthday or some holiday, puts a smile on both our faces.

Over the years I have given and received gifts from family and friends and it make us all a little happier.

Now can it be over done? Sure. But it sounds like you under do it, IMHO.
Last edited by Rodc on Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by Rodc »

BogleBrit wrote:nisiprius: That was a GREAT post !!
Yes indeed.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by epilnk »

saied45 wrote: i have always wanted to find out what makes kids/teens/adults spoiled. my theory has always been that its needless "expensive gift given". but perhaps i have been wrong and maybe those have kids could contribute on why they think kids become spoiled i be very grateful.
No. Absolutely not. You can spoil a child without spending money or having any discretionary income to lavish on him. And you can raise an upstanding citizen with every privilege.

It is every parent's responsibility to teach, nurture, and model values. Innate character plays a large role, but the giving or withholding of gifts in and of itself does not mold character. It is far, far more complicated than that.

The gift giving impulse is linked to warmth and generosity, and generally reflective of good values. My children must buy all of their own candy and most of their toys out of their allowance. When a friend has a birthday I supply the present, with a dollar limit, but my elder son will add a small toy or package of skittles of his own, because it makes him happy to do so. If he plans to buy himself candy but passes a homeless person near the store, he gives away his money and informs me that he does not need the candy bar (nor do I buy it for him to reward his generosity). He gives gifts with no expectation of reciprocity, and he receives gifts with pleasure and gratitude, with no sense of entitlement. We are relatively affluent, but I do not think it is possible to spoil this child with gifts.
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by englishgirl »

saied45 wrote:hmm perhaps me using the term Christmas was not the right choice. i see a few have taken this as perhaps a religious attack but unfortunately at the i did not think ahead. my apologies if some were offended by my misuses of words. perhaps the title should have read needless gift giving or so.
if i may share a story so you can perhaps understand me better. i had a neighbor for a couple of years. the family was very nice and had 3 kids. when the financial meltdown happened the husband and wife both lost his their jobs. however during Christmas time the father bought his kids new laptops/ipods and other expensive presents. needless to say they lost their house to foreclosure and had to move out. many times i think about why the parents would be so irresponsible that they would do this. a few years later most of the kids became drug addicts and thats all i know about them.

also me making this thread was really fueled by this reddit post here
http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comme ... d_herself/
i have always wanted to find out what makes kids/teens/adults spoiled. my theory has always been that its needless "expensive gift given". but perhaps i have been wrong and maybe those have kids could contribute on why they think kids become spoiled i be very grateful.

ps. i do not think giving essential stuff as gifts during birthday/holiday is needless. what i meant earlier was very expensive gifts.
Your neighbor could have easily seen the writing on the wall as far as foreclosure/bankruptcy and may have bought the laptops/ipods on credit while he still could, and could then have discharged the debt. He may have been being very smart, yet perhaps not doing the morally right thing. Or he may have thought that his kids needed such things to fit in with their peers, and bought them while he still could, to lessen their shame over suddenly becoming poor. The kids may not have been spoiled - maybe they are perfectly nice but ended up taking drugs because of the trauma of going through foreclosure?

Then again, there IS a sense of unreality as to what the average person should feel entitled to. A friend of mine recently went through foreclosure, job loss, occasional work, more job loss and a whole downward spiral. But the minute she got some money, all she could think of was treating herself as she'd been depriving herself for so long, or buying things she thought she needed, like an iPhone. Now, yes, if I'd been down to my last few nickels, you bet I'd treat myself with my first paycheck. But I'd treat myself to a low cost jar of moisturizer, not a laptop or an iPhone as she did. Then again, I'd have been trying harder than she did to get a job, any job - she was holding out for something that made use of her skills and which paid a decent wage. Anyway, I don't know, was she spoiled as a child? Was it due to Christmas presents? I don't believe she was spoiled. I believe she just didn't have a clue about fiscal responsibility.
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saied45
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by saied45 »

englishgirl wrote:
saied45 wrote:hmm perhaps me using the term Christmas was not the right choice. i see a few have taken this as perhaps a religious attack but unfortunately at the i did not think ahead. my apologies if some were offended by my misuses of words. perhaps the title should have read needless gift giving or so.
if i may share a story so you can perhaps understand me better. i had a neighbor for a couple of years. the family was very nice and had 3 kids. when the financial meltdown happened the husband and wife both lost his their jobs. however during Christmas time the father bought his kids new laptops/ipods and other expensive presents. needless to say they lost their house to foreclosure and had to move out. many times i think about why the parents would be so irresponsible that they would do this. a few years later most of the kids became drug addicts and thats all i know about them.

also me making this thread was really fueled by this reddit post here
http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comme ... d_herself/
i have always wanted to find out what makes kids/teens/adults spoiled. my theory has always been that its needless "expensive gift given". but perhaps i have been wrong and maybe those have kids could contribute on why they think kids become spoiled i be very grateful.

ps. i do not think giving essential stuff as gifts during birthday/holiday is needless. what i meant earlier was very expensive gifts.
Your neighbor could have easily seen the writing on the wall as far as foreclosure/bankruptcy and may have bought the laptops/ipods on credit while he still could, and could then have discharged the debt. He may have been being very smart, yet perhaps not doing the morally right thing. Or he may have thought that his kids needed such things to fit in with their peers, and bought them while he still could, to lessen their shame over suddenly becoming poor. The kids may not have been spoiled - maybe they are perfectly nice but ended up taking drugs because of the trauma of going through foreclosure?

Then again, there IS a sense of unreality as to what the average person should feel entitled to. A friend of mine recently went through foreclosure, job loss, occasional work, more job loss and a whole downward spiral. But the minute she got some money, all she could think of was treating herself as she'd been depriving herself for so long, or buying things she thought she needed, like an iPhone. Now, yes, if I'd been down to my last few nickels, you bet I'd treat myself with my first paycheck. But I'd treat myself to a low cost jar of moisturizer, not a laptop or an iPhone as she did. Then again, I'd have been trying harder than she did to get a job, any job - she was holding out for something that made use of her skills and which paid a decent wage. Anyway, I don't know, was she spoiled as a child? Was it due to Christmas presents? I don't believe she was spoiled. I believe she just didn't have a clue about fiscal responsibility.
thats a great point and i never stopped to think that way. thank you
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by Dandy »

for younger children there is a lot of magic and joy in getting gifts for holidays. Santa the Easter Bunny even the Tooth Fairy. Don't deprive them of joy because you don't want them to be spoiled. Getting a few toys, clothes etc won't spoil them if you instill values in them during the year. Most of the gifts are things they would get get anyhow without joy.

Now as they get older you need to guage the degree of entitlement they may feel and how they are doing as far as being spoiled. No need to give expensive gifts just to win their affection. Often is the parents not the kids that go overboard and try to smother their children with presents. If you give the child a gift and instead of saying thank you he/she pouts and says I really wanted ... then you have a problem and it is time to have a talk.
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by stoptothink »

saied45 wrote:i had a neighbor for a couple of years. the family was very nice and had 3 kids. when the financial meltdown happened the husband and wife both lost his their jobs. however during Christmas time the father bought his kids new laptops/ipods and other expensive presents. needless to say they lost their house to foreclosure and had to move out. many times i think about why the parents would be so irresponsible that they would do this. a few years later most of the kids became drug addicts and thats all i know about them.
Christmas '10 my (ex)wife's brother decided that the entire extended family was going to spend the entire Christmas break(12 days) in Florida at Disneyworld/Universal. I did not like the idea as we were both full-time graduate students who had no kids, the trip was going to cost close to $4k in total, and who wants to spend 2wks in Orlando? I could have taken my wife to Europe for half the cost for the honeymoon we never had. It was important to her so I agreed to go. Between the time the plans were made and Christmas, 2 of her siblings had foreclosed on their homes and a third filed for bankruptcy. 2 of them(both over 35) were now living with their spouse and children in my in-laws home. But cancelling the trip never was never even considered. Come Christmas morning, I sat and watched as my nieces and nephews(none older than 13) all got Ipads, Iphones, video games systems; literally thousands of dollars in Christmas presents each. Not only was I in shock, but I felt like a complete loser because I could only afford to buy my wife a few small gifts. Without making any kind of scene I took my wife outside and told her I couldn't stay the rest of the week, seeing this made me sick to my stomach, she could come with me or stay. I got a flight out the next morning and she stayed. When she returned we separated.
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by 555 »

I'm appalled by the message that not lying to your children is depriving them of joy. (The rest of your comment is okay though).
Dandy wrote:for younger children there is a lot of magic and joy in getting gifts for holidays. Santa the Easter Bunny even the Tooth Fairy. Don't deprive them of joy because you don't want them to be spoiled. Getting a few toys, clothes etc won't spoil them if you instill values in them during the year. Most of the gifts are things they would get get anyhow without joy.

Now as they get older you need to guage the degree of entitlement they may feel and how they are doing as far as being spoiled. No need to give expensive gifts just to win their affection. Often is the parents not the kids that go overboard and try to smother their children with presents. If you give the child a gift and instead of saying thank you he/she pouts and says I really wanted ... then you have a problem and it is time to have a talk.
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by Dandy »

While we "lied" to our children about Santa and the Easter Bunny with no harm to them -as do/did millions of other parents for many generations - my point was directed to providing some joy to children especially young children. If you feel strongly about not envoking Santa or the Easter Bunny then maybe find another reason e.g. Thanksgiving?

I get the concern about lying. In fact I felt very betrayed when I found out Santa wasn't real - you know all these adults conspiring with the same bogus story. I got over it. I also get that Christmas has for many turned into commercialized focus on gifts instead of a religious day. However, I feel strongly that fairy tales, Santa the Easter Bunny etc if done in a reasonable manner provide such joy to young children that I would suggest that it is important. Reality and life's struggles hit you in the face soon enough - maybe a few early years of magic will help them face life with some fond memories.
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by sscritic »

nisiprius wrote: One of the innocent pleasures of parenthood is that there is a brief period of time when you do seem to have the (limited) ability to make another human feel secure by hugging them, so enjoy it.
I was in line for Ariel's ride at California Adventure yesterday with my 3 year old granddaughter. The family in front of us had a baby I judged to be three months old. I waved at her and smiled, and she instantly smiled back. I talked a bit with her parents and smiled at her again. She smiled right back. It was very clear that this was a baby that got lots of smiles in her life. There might be bad things ahead for her, but she is clearly loved and knows it as only a 3 month old can.
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by Lone-star »

saied45 wrote:hello members of community. im really looking for your responses on what you think about my dilemma that i been thinking about. a little about me. i do not celebrate christmas and my parents never brought me up in a way that they would give me gifts/ prizes for occasions(ex birthdays). my question to many of you who specially celebrate either holidays that promote gift given is that do you think this will condition our kids to become lazy and receive gifts for no reason at all. please share your opinion on wheather you think needless gift given will spoil our kids or not.
i really appreciate your response.
Rather one sided view of the tradition don't you think? Why do you ignore/discount the lessons it teaches about generosity and giving to others? For most, it is just as much if not more so about the giving, not the receiving.

If you dont emphasize the altruistic aspects of gift giving, is that a shortcoming of the tradition or of your parenting skills?
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by epilnk »

stoptothink wrote:Christmas '10 my (ex)wife's brother decided that the entire extended family was going to spend the entire Christmas break(12 days) in Florida at Disneyworld/Universal. I did not like the idea as we were both full-time graduate students who had no kids, the trip was going to cost close to $4k in total, and who wants to spend 2wks in Orlando? I could have taken my wife to Europe for half the cost for the honeymoon we never had. It was important to her so I agreed to go. Between the time the plans were made and Christmas, 2 of her siblings had foreclosed on their homes and a third filed for bankruptcy. 2 of them(both over 35) were now living with their spouse and children in my in-laws home. But cancelling the trip never was never even considered. Come Christmas morning, I sat and watched as my nieces and nephews(none older than 13) all got Ipads, Iphones, video games systems; literally thousands of dollars in Christmas presents each. Not only was I in shock, but I felt like a complete loser because I could only afford to buy my wife a few small gifts. Without making any kind of scene I took my wife outside and told her I couldn't stay the rest of the week, seeing this made me sick to my stomach, she could come with me or stay. I got a flight out the next morning and she stayed. When she returned we separated.
Wow. I suppose you are to be congratulated on escaping this family. But I suspect the excessive gifts were a symptom of advanced disease, not the cause.

Your post stuck in my head all day as I was shopping for my son's 11th birthday party. I was raised on the insecure end of working class, and my husband is the child of comfortable but not exactly overpaid academics. Now we have (by my standards) lots of money, so I've been very conscious of the need to guard my children against affluenza.

We don't usually buy birthday gifts for our children; friends bring more than enough, so we just host the party. But I made an exception this year. I remembered a pair of signal flags at the thrift shop he'd coveted for playing capture the flag (he'd passed them up because he's saving his allowance to buy a used X-box 360). I wasn't cheaping out, either - it actually took far more time and effort than they were worth to track down those grubby flags, which had gotten separated in the jumble of the thrift shop bins. But the value was more than monetary - I knew he'd be delighted that I'd done this, and he was. His brother was equally excited about the little combo flashlight/compass/fm radio I'd picked up off the clearance table and gave him on his brother's birthday for no reason at all.

Our children have everything they need along with the security of knowing that they are well provided for. And we also occasionally splurge on expensive gifts. But we did observe that after we bought the little guy the lego pirate ship of his dreams for christmas - $120, it is his most treasured possession and he plays with it daily - he started fantasizing about the $200+ multilevel pirate ship with more cannons. Interesting.

I don't think the answer is to avoid gifts, or even expensive gifts. Gifts are a source of great pleasure. And it is not the gifts that spoil the child, it is the parents who spoil the child. But with the ability to spend money on indulgences comes the responsibility to do so carefully. When my children are grown and on their own they will not have the means to satisfy their every whim. I need to raise them now to be the adults I hope they will be.
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saied45
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by saied45 »

i dont want to brag yet this post seams liks its getting alot of attention. im liking it because were getting different answers from different people with different beliefs. very interesting answer and thanks for your responses.
to clarify some stuff IMHO i dont think giving small gifts is a problem. the underlying problem i see is that when parents do not have enough money during Christmas time yet they feel obligated to buy their kids expensive items that in no way shape or form They really need. a few of you have said that gifts do not spoil kids but their parents. can you please elaborate on this.
THanks
imagardener
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by imagardener »

I and my siblings (now 50-somethings) spent hours and hours with the Sears Toy catalog, making extremely long lists. It must have horrified our parents who were always short of money. TV commercials commencing in October made us voracious consumers and Christmas was the only hope we had of getting toys. Were we disappointed with what we got? I remember no disappointment, there were always lots of boxes to open but some were clothes and books.

Children today are more plugged in to having the latest electronic "necessity" to maintain their peer status. December may be the peak of purchasing but the buying goes on all year long.

You get to decide how your family will participate in whatever holidays you observe. Just make it a positive plan as in "The way we celebrate is by _____" instead of "You don't need that." Kids need everything and immediately or they will die, lol. Have you ever watched a baby bird making it's parents feed it constantly? Powerful lesson.
stoptothink
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by stoptothink »

saied45 wrote:the underlying problem i see is that when parents do not have enough money during Christmas time yet they feel obligated to buy their kids expensive items that in no way shape or form They really need.
This is exactly what upset me so much during my Christmas experience. Disney World, smart phones, tablets, and video games (for pre-teens) were prioritized over shelter/food/clothing. I knew they thought much differently than I about financial responsibility, but I had no clue as it was my first Christmas spending with them. My wife and I had spent the first 3yrs of our marriage 1500 miles away from her family, I was just getting to know them. It's hard to even think about because that event effectively marked the end of my marriage. I had a very difficult time just being in the room watching it occur and it made me realize that I could not spend the rest of my life or fathom raising my own future family around it.

It's one thing if you can afford it, but if you are an adult with a family and living with your parents and in complete financial ruins, the Christmas dreams are just going to have to wait. At least that is how I was raised.
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tetractys
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by tetractys »

The outcome depends purely on how gifts are given and received. Generosity without strings and graciousness beget each other, and the kids won't become spoiled. -- Tet
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Mrs.Feeley
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by Mrs.Feeley »

saied45 wrote: i had a neighbor for a couple of years. the family was very nice and had 3 kids. when the financial meltdown happened the husband and wife both lost his their jobs. however during Christmas time the father bought his kids new laptops/ipods and other expensive presents. needless to say they lost their house to foreclosure and had to move out. many times i think about why the parents would be so irresponsible that they would do this. a few years later most of the kids became drug addicts and thats all i know about them.
They may have put it all on credit cards with the knowledge that they would soon be filing for bankruptcy. A lot of people do that.
epilnk
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by epilnk »

saied45 wrote:i dont want to brag yet this post seams liks its getting alot of attention. im liking it because were getting different answers from different people with different beliefs. very interesting answer and thanks for your responses.
to clarify some stuff IMHO i dont think giving small gifts is a problem. the underlying problem i see is that when parents do not have enough money during Christmas time yet they feel obligated to buy their kids expensive items that in no way shape or form They really need. a few of you have said that gifts do not spoil kids but their parents. can you please elaborate on this.
THanks
Do you have children?
sscritic
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by sscritic »

tetractys wrote:The outcome depends purely on how gifts are given and received. Generosity without strings and graciousness beget each other, and the kids won't become spoiled. -- Tet
I take my granddaughters to Disneyland. They love the Princesses and they love to look in the souvenir shops, but they know that Grandpa has rules. They get a souvenir on special occasions like a birthday, but they don't get one on every trip. Even the three year old doesn't bother to ask me to buy her anything, unless it's her birthday, and then she remembers the other half of Grandpa's rule. Kids can deal with consistency, in fact I think they prefer it. Actually, I tend to give them gifts (books and dresses) at times other than their birthdays, as they get so many things at those times. It's really a selfish act on my part, thinking that I will stand out with my un-birthday presents. [Isn't that the best way to train animals (er, I mean children), with random rewards?]

Now that I have opened the discussion of competitive gift giving, how do you get your gift to stand out without spending a lot of money?
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tetractys
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by tetractys »

sscritic wrote:
tetractys wrote:The outcome depends purely on how gifts are given and received. Generosity without strings and graciousness beget each other, and the kids won't become spoiled. -- Tet
I take my granddaughters to Disneyland. They love the Princesses and they love to look in the souvenir shops, but they know that Grandpa has rules. They get a souvenir on special occasions like a birthday, but they don't get one on every trip. Even the three year old doesn't bother to ask me to buy her anything, unless it's her birthday, and then she remembers the other half of Grandpa's rule. Kids can deal with consistency, in fact I think they prefer it. Actually, I tend to give them gifts (books and dresses) at times other than their birthdays, as they get so many things at those times. It's really a selfish act on my part, thinking that I will stand out with my un-birthday presents. [Isn't that the best way to train animals (er, I mean children), with random rewards?]

Now that I have opened the discussion of competitive gift giving, how do you get your gift to stand out without spending a lot of money?
Obviously your a King and not a Hermit. A lucky King too, Grandpa.

The only gifts I can remember from either of my Grandpas was letting me put coins in his piggy bank (a very large piggy bank) while he smoked his pipe, and from my other, reading the comics to me always with a big distinctive laugh. Wow, now that I think about it, really good gifts! -- Tet
sscritic
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by sscritic »

tetractys wrote: The only gifts I can remember from either of my Grandpas was letting me put coins in his piggy bank (a very large piggy bank) while he smoked his pipe, and from my other, reading the comics to me always with a big distinctive laugh. Wow, now that I think about it, really good gifts! -- Tet
It's funny you mention the pipe. One grandpa smoked a pipe, and the other smoked cigars. I don't smoke at all, but the smell of either pipe smoke or cigar smoke brings back good memories.
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saied45
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Re: the psychology of christmas present/gifts

Post by saied45 »

epilnk wrote:
saied45 wrote:i dont want to brag yet this post seams liks its getting alot of attention. im liking it because were getting different answers from different people with different beliefs. very interesting answer and thanks for your responses.
to clarify some stuff IMHO i dont think giving small gifts is a problem. the underlying problem i see is that when parents do not have enough money during Christmas time yet they feel obligated to buy their kids expensive items that in no way shape or form They really need. a few of you have said that gifts do not spoil kids but their parents. can you please elaborate on this.
THanks
Do you have children?
i dont. but i love psychology and finding out why people do certain things
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