Gift giving? To little ones? How many? How many is too much?
I apologize if my topics for the Blogmas posts are a little heavy with thought, but there is so much more about Christmas then teas, coffees, and stores. And when you take into account the type of blog this is, I just could not do that to my readers. [Even if I am enjoying Blogmas posts from other blogs that do cover those things, hidden pleasure there.]
I have a daughter that is being pushed into motherhood. Her future husband has a little one, and she was asking me when she was a child how many gifts did she get. I told her that she usually got her age’s worth. She just wrinkled her forehead and I knew she didn’t understand.
So, I will explain it here. First, who all are giving the gifts? How many households will the child be getting from? Are the grandparents responsible givers? Is there a Dad’s home and a Mom’s home? Which home does the child feel like a visitor to? Is one or both parents living with their parents (grandparents)? Is one parent remarried and have other children with their new spouse?
So, do the parents discuss the gift giving long before the shopping starts? Are the parents playing nice or trying to out do each other? Is the child playing the parents against each other for more loot?
Let us start with the Grandparents. Do they typically ask Mom or Dad what to get the child? Are they asking both if in a split family? Are they trying to outdo the parents? With split homes the parents need to let the grandparents know how many gifts they can give and what gifts not to give. i.e. the gifts from Santa or Mom or Dad. Grandparents should only give one toy, one item of clothing, and one educational gift. I know there are some of you who think that is too little, but if there are 2 sets of grandparents for Mom and then for Dad, that could outshine Santa.
Now let us talk parents. If Mom and Dad are under the same roof, then think “age” of the child. No child should be opening 10 gifts that morning, no matter the age. If you do stockings, I am sure there is a gift in that, not just candy. Then if Santa is still visiting, he will leave presents.
Again, here is where the issue comes in with parents. Mom and Dad try to out do each other. Why do they think Santa should visit each house? The children that have only one home only gets one visit from Santa. Be careful how you go about that gift giving. If you are the parent that rarely gets your child, do you give them gifts each time you pick them up? Our split family/homes children are not being taught how to not be rewarded for just being a child. These children are being bought each time they see some parents. Teach your children at an early age that what is most important is spending time and getting to know each other.
Let us do some math. Here is what I have observed with the split families:
Mom’s side: Grand parents (two sets) = 6 gifts; Mom = 4 gifts; Santa = 4 gifts That is a total of 14 gifts.
Dad’s side: Grandparents (one set) = 3 gifts; Dad = 4 gifts; Santa = 4 gifts. That is a total of 11 gifts.
The child above made out with 25 gifts. If that child was 4 years old don’t you think that is way over board? Even if that child was 8 years old? Much less a teen? It does not matter if some of those gifts are clothing or books. Does it teach the child how to take care of something, so it will last? Heck no, that child has so much in their room they can’t even appreciate what they do have.
If we have grandparents giving up to three, parents giving three, and Santa giving one or two – a child will have a bountiful day.
Here is what I suggested to my daughter. The boy is about 8. They need to make sure that they have two educational, thought provoking, gifts; one with their faith attached. The child should also get something for their closet or room. Then the rest are to be one gift from Dad, the others from Santa. And since she is sharing this Christmas with the child, she should also give him a gift. The child only has one grand parent of his father’s side – so that will be max three gifts from her. Then that 8-year-old will have 11 gifts from Dad’s side of the family. I also advised her to not ever worry about what the mother of the child is doing until after she is married. Let Dad discuss what and how many with Mom. After she is married, then she can help plan the gifts. If there is something she wants the child to have particularly, then she relays that information to Dad. Dad does the dirty work of telling Mom that that will be Step-mom’s gift to give and please do not purchase it.
Let me give you some insight into why you should never give kids more gifts than their age. They go to school and brag! What happens when they are bragging to the little child that was only given a piece of clothing for Christmas. I saw this happen as I volunteered at my children’s schools. It did not hurt my feelings any to tell the braggart that they were being rude. I would also explain why that was uncalled for. So, parents if you like to have the look of lots of presents under the tree; find larger boxes to put the small gifts in. The perception of larger presents makes the tree seem fuller.