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How Do You Decide the Right Amount of Gifts to Give?

Parents love to spoil their kids, but how much is too much?

Yesterday, when speaking to a friend, an interesting subject came up. She had been reading updates on Facebook and one of her friends had posed a question that she found a little odd.

It seems that this mom was looking to find out how many gifts other families were leaving under the Christmas tree for their children. Upon reading further she found that a number of people had chimed in and basically given counts on what their kids would be getting for the holiday.

I have to admit that, like her, I found the whole post just a bit disconcerting. Yes, we all like to spoil our children on Christmas. We want to see their faces light up when the open gifts and, often, are just as excited as they are.

What I don’t understand, however, is taking the concept of “keeping
up with the Joneses” to such a degree that we even drag our children into the act? Where have we gone wrong when we start feeling like our children need to compete with the neighbors’ children for an equal number of Christmas gifts?

Number of gifts, of course, doesn’t even account for the difference when gift number one is an iPad vs. a board game. Are we teaching kids to keep a running tally and compare financial earnings with their friends? Is that really what we want Christmas to be for them?

Now, I’ve never met this mom and I truly don’t mean to criticize her. It just seems that, even as we watch the news and hear stores announcing that holiday sales are down, we still see parents competing to give the biggest and best gifts available. Perhaps we have all gotten just a little lost along the way?

I am, without a doubt, not innocent in all of this. As usual, I swore that this year was the one where I’d cut down and, frankly, that hasn’t really happened. I declared the shopping done days ago and, as usual, I found myself doing last minute errands to buy “just a few more things” before the big day.  

Perhaps I, like everyone else, just needed a quick reminder of the simple little things that make a holiday special? Lucky for me I found just that tucked inside my mailbox a few minutes ago. Along with holiday cards and a few catalogs was a very special little package left by my neighbor.

Inside was a fresh batch of homemade reindeer food that will surely make Santa and his reindeers smile when they arrive at my door. The gift was a small simple one that reminded me that Christmas truly doesn’t come from the mall but, instead, should come straight from the heart!


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