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Christmas Values related to Gift Giving

  1. #1
    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
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    Christmas Values related to Gift Giving

    Hi

    We have a 4 year old who seems to think that money grows on trees. We've started instilling values to ensure that he understands otherwise e.g. budget for treats/toys in the form an allowance. But with Christmas round the corner, his wish list seems to be growing and his expectations seems to be quite high as we've told him that expensive toys are only for birthdays and Christmases.

    What do you budget for gifts for each child at Christmas? Do you go all out or do you simply get a simple gift for each child from both parents? Or does each parent give a gift?

    We're thinking about one gift from each parent worth no more than double his allowance for each gift or one big gift. He currently gets $40HKD a week (which is more or less $180 a month. We've followed the rule "Age x 10".

    Is this fair or are we being to much of a Scrooge?
    “If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat.” Richard Jenkins in Eat Pray Love

  2. #2
    Portia is offline Registered User
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    It's not easy to decide what to do with a 4 year old. I don't think mine knows the difference between expensive or cheap. He'd probably rather get several cheap presents than one expensive present because I don't think expensive has any real meaning for him!

  3. #3
    AmyH is offline Registered User
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    My son has just turned 6 and since he was 4 we have been giving him $40 pocket money per week, dependant on his behaviour. Since then, he is aware that we buy his food and clothes and he buys his toys (apart from birthday and Christmas). We also set him up a bank account and give him the choice to save hs pocket money or spend t. If he chooses to put it in the bank we add another $20 (to encourage him to save!)
    For Christmas he still believes in father christmas so he will get a gift from him, a small gift from his baby sister and one gift from mum and dad together. The gift from us is usually puzzles, board games or books and then he gets the big gift from father Christmas. last year he got a Wii from father Christmas and his sister gave him one game to play on it! He ised hiis pocket money throughout the year to save for other games and he now has 4 games to play on it.
    This year he has asked for a Nintendo DSi from father Christmas and they cost in the region of $800.

  4. #4
    snagito is offline Registered User
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    We just say everything is from Santa as easier that way! Usually just a few little things as they don't actually 'get it' yet in terms of knowing what's expensive or not (I have a nearly 5 year old and a 2.5 year old) - I've noticed that my two children fight over the cheapest things (like a piece of purple string!) rather than their more valuable possessions! Could you tell your son that Santa can either bring one big thing or a few smaller things and get him to write a letter to Santa asking very nicely for whichever one? You could say that they won't all fit on the sleigh etc!

  5. #5
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    The first thing I thought about when I read your post is "Why?" I guess my philosophy for a lot of things related to parenting is when we identify a problem (i.e. "my son seems to think that money grows on trees") then usually the best place to start looking for where that idea/concept/problem came from is in the mirror. Now, some kids will probably just have expensive tastes as its part of their personality but at 4-years-old how discerning can a child actually be about cost? Don't they just want the thing that has more lights and bells and is more flashy (which just happens to be more expensive)?

    So, what is your own personal philosophy about giving gifts? Do you reward your son with store-bought gifts throughout the year? Some parents use gifts to pacify their children or because their childrens' friends have expensive gifts and they feel like they need to compete. I'm not saying that this is you but as I said, I think it's important to understand our own ideas and philosophies about material things before we can decide how we're going to teach our children.

    Christmas is a great time to teach children about giving. It's a great time to have your children take part in things like Operation Christmas Child. I think that if we give to others as a family it helps instill the right attitude about what gifts are really for--that there is a difference between need and want and that those things have very little to do with the price tag on an item.

    As far as what we give our son at Christmas--last year I think we gave him three presents. But, actually, since his birthday is only 3 weeks before Christmas, we found that giving him gifts was a little too overwhelming. Actually, the third gift we had prepared, we didn't even give to him but kept until about 6 months later and then one day just surprised him with it. He was just too overstimulated by all the new toys he received for birthday and then Christmas. This year, we may only give him one gift. When considering a gift, of course we have a budget and that is usually under $500 HKD but the main other considerations are: 1) What benefit does this gift really give to him? Is it educational? Will he be able to use it for some time? Is he really interested in it? 2) What is the quality--I'd rather spend $500 HKD or even $1000 HKD on one high quality gift that my son will use often and enjoy and that I may be able to use for our next child or pass on to another child later--than to buy a bunch of cheaper toys that may break easily. Also, it's a good idea to remember that cost doesn't always reflect value as value is in the eye of the beholder--my son can be just as satisfied (or even more satisfied) with a cheap $10 HKD toy from the street market that is fun to play with as he would be with an battery-operated toy that costs 100 times as much.

    I think we just need to teach children to be satisfied with what they receive and to have a heart of thankfulness--by modeling it ourselves and also not tolerating bad attitudes. When I was young, if I complained about a gift I was given because it wasn't as nice or perfect as what I wanted my parents always reminded me that taking the gift back was always an option.

  6. #6
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    we don't have a set limit. it all depends on our current financial situation (both hubby and i are self-employed, so this can vary tremendously from year to year).

    i usually go to the big mattel sale and stock up on gifts. i use these gifts for birthday presents when my kids are invited to a party as well as for my own kids if the need arises (i took one gift for each of my kids to play with on the plane during a 15 hour flight). last year, my daughter only got toys from this "present box" as well as a second hand kitchen. my son got a couple of things from there and one larger present. we try to get the same types of things for each of our kids so there isn't any, 'but mummy, xx got more than i did.' it isn't always possible, so when i inevitably hear that, i gently remind that child that there are a lot of children that didn't get any gifts and maybe we should donate their gifts to these children... that stops the complaint virtually mid-sentence. it helps that we DO donate our used toys to charity about once per year (we've just gathered all of the old ones again last week) around xmas time.

    i do know that my kids are as happy with the "el cheapo" toys in the xmas crackers as they are with the other gifts they get. i also always wrap everything separately as i believe that it is the opening of the presents that the kids enjoy the most.

  7. #7
    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
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    Thank you ladies!

    @Portia - He does understand the concept of expensive (at least we think he does) as we have started teaching him about dollars and cents. But he is also at that phase where he's started talking about what his friends have/do and asks why he can't have/do it too. He's started to talk to us about it too about how something seems so expensive (when the numbers are bigger).

    @Thanka2 - It was definitely much easier when he was younger. When he was 2, we got a top quality pushbike from the US. It was $1500HK and today, he still uses it and we can use it for our second too when she's old enough. We are however, sometimes guilty when it comes to buying little gifts throughout the year. This has stopped.

    @Cara, I'll be trying what you've done. I have been trying to tell him that lots of children don't have clothes or even food to eat (he wastes a lot of food too). Only thing is, I wished that there was somewhere we could take him for him to see this and realise how lucky he is.

    I also like the idea of buying lots of small gifts to place under the Christmas tree so that he gets to open more instead of just buying him one big gift. Or, one big (cheapish) gift and lots of little small ones.

    @AmyH - Great idea to include a gift from the bub! I think he'll be pleased and we're going to get him to organise something for his sister too.

    @Snagito - We have issues with the Santa thing as we're still unsure of how much to promote it. We actually teach him about St. Nic (along the lines of the Catholic ways) and his good work. So gifts come from us and he knows that. But I think it's a good idea to include a gift from St. Nic. Thanks for that!
    “If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat.” Richard Jenkins in Eat Pray Love

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