Thursday, February 21, 2013

Overcoming the desire to "over-gift"

Stemming from the last several posts I've written about buying clothes, teaching kids about money etc... the point of gift buying has come up.

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

Linked up with Simple Lives Thursdays Monday Homesteading Barn Hop


  1. I like the idea of a donation centered party. It's great. My son's birthday is coming up in a few weeks and all he can talk about is what he wants. He'll be 13. My youngest turned 2 last November and we realized on her birthday, we hadn't a gift for her. I didn't feel that was right, so hubby searched at the nearby store for something. We couldn't find anything "perfect". So, we ended up buying a game for her. She loved it, but it wasn't the perfect gift. Sometimes, we forget that just because the house is full of stuff from all the older kids doesn't mean we skip the joy of opening at least one gift on a birthday. :)

    1. Last year my 7 year old Daughter wanted to go to the local outdoor flea market for her birthday. It is a livestock sale as well, and has all kinds of outdoor food vendors, hand crafted items and then just plain ole' junk. She loves it. We invited my parents , packed a picnic lunch and made a day of it. While we were there she found a book she wanted so we bought her that. Total cost of the trip was about $30. Memories were priceless....

  2. We actually haven't given our son gifts on his birthday or most other holidays because there are gifts coming from so many different directions. My played too rough with a car and bent the wheels so that it doesn't roll fast anymore and my mom was going to buy him one to replace it. I drew the line and said that if he didn't respect the toys that he had, he certainly shouldn't be rewarded with a new one. Everytime he takes that car out of the bin, he says "This one doesn't roll very fast because I bent the wheels." Lesson learned- treat everything well or it won't be there when you want it.

  3. These are all such great ideas! Time spent with someone is my favorite gift of all.

  4. Great ideas! I have a hard time with gifts as this is not my love language so I don't feel like my kids should have that much stuff (I mean look at all those kids in Africa who play with sticks right!?...but you get my point). Over-stimulation is my biggest concern...and that they will take it all for granted.

    A sister-friend of mine has started doing the "experiences." Thinking that I'm going to start doing that more also instead of actual items. Time well-spent with others is the greatest gift of all. :)