Monday Musing: Gifts

What does Christmas mean to you? That is what today's musing is all about. I confess, I do celebrate Christian holidays. It's the way I was raised, and my family is centred about them. I believe most of them are Christian, though I'm not sure that they actually go to church... anyways, I digress.

Christmas, to me, is about family. It's about spending time with loved ones and sharing a meal. Full of meaningful discussion, yes. Occasional personal attacks that were not intentioned to be hurtful, absolutely. That is only part of what makes my family so exceptional.

There is one thing that I don't agree with them on, at least as it relates to the Christmas-gift-giving-ness. That is, children under 18 get gifts no matter what. Teens/adults/etc above 18 get something if something happens to catch someone's eye.

Why do I not agree with this? Kids get enough crap. That's why. Children and tweens and teens almost always get more crap/stuff/junk/paraphernalia than they will ever have use for. Most of which is fad-based or advertisement-based.

I will let you in on a secret... I didn't buy any of my younger cousins any gifts this year. I bought a little something for each adult though. Why? Because they are just as important as their children, and yet they are left out year after year in lieu of garbage gifts for their children. (Disclaimer: if any of my family members reads this, not all of the gifts are garbage... but some of them are)

When kids get everything they ask for, and other assorted advertised big name junk... they expect it next time. They don't respect the meaning behind the gifts, or the thought that goes into them.

Now, I may be making my cousins sound like spoiled little brats. They aren't, at least not all the time. Every kid acts like a brat sometimes, and I was no exception. But feeding that attitude will only make it worse. So when you're buying for younger children, you don't have to skimp or give them gifts they won't enjoy just because they're 'eco-friendly'.

But buy something that they will enjoy, something that will force them to want to use their brain but keep them interested at the same time. If you're not sure what that is, talk to them. Ask them what they like. Then ask why they like it, or what kinds of games they can play with it. If it's a doll, ask them how they see that doll and what kinds of scenes can they imagine the doll in.

Dig deeper and you will provide more meaningful gifts.

Handmade cards with thoughtful words in them always help. Cards just get chucked the week after Christmas by most people anyways, put some thought into them and at least the thought will be remembered.

Peace and serenity

Simply Me

Enjoy the Monday Musing series? Here's the rest of the posts:
Happy thoughts
Automatic negative reactions
Sustainable eating
Crutch or reason?


Ottawa Gardener said...

It's hard changing tradition. We don't do xmas gifts in our family except to send gifts to some family members that just would not understand why and would think we didn't like them anymore. My kids (ages 7 and 5) find this hard to swallow as everything around them is telling them that the Xmas season is all about the gifting. We also sadly don't have any family near us so we miss out in the gathering aspect which was always my favourite. We are therefore in the situation of creating tradition. Merry Xmas!

goodnufranch said...

Over the past few years, we have slowly stopped buying gifts for our siblings and parents. All of us are well into our 40's, 50's and my mother is in her 70's. She mainly out of all of us, doesn't need any more 'stuff'. I now have grandchildren that do not live near me, but I find that I buy them toys for Christmas. This Christmas hasn't even come yet, and I already have a list for homemade gifts that I would like to make for next Christmas. I made a few this year for my two older daughters. They are 27 & 25. The girl that is still at home she is 19, I crochet her a pair of mitts. When I do buy gifts for the kids (not grandkids) I try to find out what they need or what their hobby is and try to get those kinds of things.

Simply Green said...

@Ottawa Gardener: It is very hard to change peoples beliefs, which is why I don't try. I show, through my actions, why the way I do things is better to me. Not living around at least a few members of my family would be too hard for me to bear, I hope that you visit your family frequently. Replacing bought gifts with handmade or upcycled gifts for those members that you do buy for may cause them to realize that money does not signify relationships. Good luck and Merry Christmas to you as well :)

@goodnufranch: There is nothing wrong with buying toys as long as you feel that they are worth something. You seem to put a lot of thought into your gifts, and that is what counts. Kudos to you for that, and keep spreading the handmade love! Merry Christmas!