2/20/09

A look at Presents.....and Gift Wish Lists


I know we are now a hop and skip away from Christmas and focusing on Spring coming, yet I need to address an issue that's been bothering me. Presents.   Presents are supposed to be an expression of care or love from one person to another and given on special occasions such as the holidays or birthdays. 
It's been a few years now that I have heard parents tell me about their kids' Christmas lists and stressing out majorly about fulfilling each itch and scratch on that sacred list. How did this process ever get this intense and specific.  As a person who hates to waste and buy things for the sheer motion of spending, I am literally appalled at the idea of kids making these lists of numerous toys they just must have and then expecting them to be fulfilled to the letter. Where is the spirit of Christmas in this process?

I know to some that are wedded to this letter-writing process like water to fish, questioning this concept can seem very extreme.  Yet, when you look at the reasonings behind the actions, writing a letter asking for what you want is completely incongruent with the true message of Christmas. It encourages children to be more greedy, needy and self-centered. 

I intend fully in raising my two kids thinking about and buying gifts for others on this day and learn how to make others happy through their giving nature. What lessons are we really teaching our kids if they are taught from the start that all their needs must be met or else the world falls apart. Isn't this more teaching kids that they SHOULD always get what they want or else you will be miserable. This feeling of entitlement will only hit a harsh life lesson sooner or later. 

To be perfectly honest I do not ever care what is on someone's wish list for it sets up a self-centered focus of which I want no part of. My gift is a part of me and my world, carefully chosen with you in mind. I place a lot of thought into my gifts. You might claim that through my plan the gift might go unnoticed or unused or un-thanked because of its incongruence with the personality of the receiver of the gift. Yet, what you do with that gift says more about you than me. You might not appreciate it now, or much later.  But at one point in life the receiver will appreciate the individualized thought that went into the choice before them. 

Last, I believe in gift courtesy all the way. Verbal or handwritten thank-yous matter in gift giving. As I said, no one is entitled to getting anything and everything they want. If you get it and no matter your thought on it, be thankful. 

3 comments:

  1. I have present issues too - I understand the nature of giving but lets get real, so often it is a hassle to remember to buy something (and drop it off) and, for the most part, it is just 'stuff' that the recipient doesn't really NEED. Why not send a card, or make something (cooking, crafty or whatever) or just tell them how much they mean to you. Seriously, that can mean as much as anything else. For the most part it is the "thought" we should be wanting, not the actual "stuff".

    Now I have been the recipent of some great gifts over the years (a recipe book holder is one of my most recent highlights) so I am not saying they should never be given. But a present should be given when the giver wants to and not just because it is someone's birthday ot Christmas or whatever when we start feeling obliged to hand over brightly wrapped items.

    An, for the record, all Christmas presents in our family were cancelled for te second year runnign. The first year we pooled together some money and supported an international charity. This year we each gave our "Christmas Present fund" to a local community group.

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  2. Well, as I know, children write letters to Santa Claus to reassure themselves that the man with pinky cheeks from the distant, cold North Pole does really exist. That's a great way of communication between the old man from Lapland and every kid. Moreover, that's the perfect way to find out your kid's inner wishes, thoughts, unreveled ideas, desires or even things that bother him/her and you have no idea about them. That's another piece of the parent-child relationship.
    Every kid knows that Santa brings gifts to obedient children. And there is no wonder that your child wants to write a letter to the kind man he/she usually sees in cartoons, tell him about his/her efforts, successes, fiascoes, goals, feelings and then ask him to bring a thing he/she dreams about every night. Maybe he needs more love, attention, harmony within the family, better marks or a simple touch. That's amazing to make your child's wishes come true.

    Yes, they know what will be there, in that red glittering box near the tree... Santa has promised. But they have been waiting for this gift for so long time. They were motivated to get it. And just imagine how happy they are when they receive something they really want, need for that moment.
    Frankly, I don't see in here a problem. That's my opinion.
    Yes, when it comes to adults, that's another situation.

    BR. Xenia

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  3. Thanks MountainGirl and XoXo for your very thoughtful comments. Most kids I meet, and I work with hundreds of them, only want a Wii, or commercial items they think they want. I say "think" b/c as soon as they get some of this stuff it just sits around. My son, for example, would be just as happy getting a dozen long sticks from the forest...no one believes me, but it's absolutely. true. I don't have a problem with writing letters to santa as long as there is 1-2 items on it....but a long list...come on! Mountaingirl , what a great idea.....will try that with my family......

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