At the beginning of the school year, Drew attended a birthday party where the guest of honor requested that presents come in the form of a donation. I was mortified that the child would miss out on the opportunity to experience the thrill of opening birthday presents. I’m starting to rethink that stance.
Before I continue any further I want to state, for the record, our friends and family were incredibly, beyond generous with the gifts that they gave my children. It was given to them out of love and desire to make my kids happy with toys, clothes and sporting goods that they would love. That being said, we are swimming in gifts about now.
Although there was an abundance of gifts in honor of their birthdays, some of the issue is that there is never a shortage of gifts year round. I may be to blame in the fact that I manipulate Target outings to conclude in the dollar area where they are entitled to pick something out if they have good behavior. There are also times that I see that they have a strong affinity towards something in particular and I get it for them. For the most part though, their insane materialism and greed comes from none other than, sorry to call you out guys, their grandparents and great grandparents.
As much as I cringe when one of their devoted family members walk in the door and my children instantly berate them for presents, everyone knows that my kids will warm up to them much faster if they come gift in hand. Do I outlaw it since they are monsters about it? Or do I just accept that grandparents’ and great grandparents’ job is to spoil their grandkids?
And now that there is a very good reason to have a sea of gifts, how do I get them to actually experience gratitude? I tried suggesting that they each donate a new gift (perhaps one that they don’t like as much) to a charity for kids that don’t get a new toy practically every day of their lives. Needless to say I was practically stoned for that suggestion. I tried doing roll outs of opening the presents so that they could digest what they were receiving. I can only say that that was not received well.
What is a mom to do? We live in an affluent community where issues of poverty and struggle are hidden from us. Rather, we are left thinking we are struggling because we aren’t living an incredibly extravagant life. Isn’t there someway to give your children all you got, without spoiling them rotten? Isn’t there a way to have a birthday, receive gifts and celebrate the generosity of each and every gift? What is my role as a parent when I see the greed growing with each gift?