How do I deal with giving gifts while trying to teach my kid that "stuff" doesn't matter?
Again, amazing question, I have some thoughts.
When OTHERS are the gift givers:
Other people spoil my kids. On my side of the family my kids are the only grandkids. On my husbands side of the family our kids are the youngest by far ( all the other grands are 14+) so people enjoy buying gifts. Valentines, Easter, Birthdays, and of course Christmas.
There are a few things you can do to help further your cure of "stuff-itis" when dealing with others that want to give to your children. What a blessing to have people in our life that want to give tokens to your children. I see a few options to dealing with the grandma that gives 15 toys or spends hundreds of dollars on your child.
1. Just let them. Yes you can just let them. Teach your child to be VERY thankful, ( I'm talking hand written thank you notes here) and to really be grateful for the gifts.
2. When someone asks what your child wants for Christmas (or birthday or whatever) you can tell them some things that my be nice. Typically this is what I do. I'll say, they really enjoyed the ( insert gift) you got them last year, this year they are really wanting to go to the zoo more. Perhaps you could buy a pass to the zoo. Or Museum, Or a play, or etc. etc. etc. Ask for an experience for your child. A pottery class. A music lesson. A tour of the cheese factory... Not typical gifts for your child but allow them to understand the value of memories and experiences. Things that will last. Not a $15 plastic doll they will look at once then shove under their bed. Perhaps grandma could take them to their favorite yogurt treat. Just them. I know for my oldest daughter who was once the only one "big enough" to go fishing with my father, she know feels such joy when he takes her BY HERSELF fishing. What a memory.
3. Request No gifts- WHAT?? Did I just say that. Oh yes... I did. It is perfectly okay on an invitation to party to request gifts for a charity. I've went to parties that requested items that the birthday girl wanted to donate items to the local Humane Society. We went with a bag of dog food and pack of kitty litter and were so touched by the generosity of the birthday girl. We've been to "birth celebrations" of a family having 3 or 4 children that request a celebration of welcoming their new baby into the world and wanted to share that with family, but requested diapers only that were to be donated to a local crisis pregnancy center. We've been to parties that requested can goods instead of gifts. Wow how humble we felt.
4. You can do a combination of the things listed above. Find what works for your families and your values and make new traditions.
One of the favorite things we do now at Christmas is go Christmas caroling. The girls love it. We bundled up the baby last year and he went to. He didn't know what was going on but the sweet little old ladies light up when they see a cute little baby on their porch.....
Until Next time
Happy Homsteading ya'll
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