Gifts and Selfishness

by doodaddy on January 24, 2008

I have a rich cousin. (Don’t get all excited: he barely knows me — no hitting him up for a loan.) The weird thing about him is that he lets his two kids have one present each at Christmas and one for each birthday.

To heighten the torture, they actually get a lot of presents for each occasion. They can play with their toys for one day, and then everything but the one chosen gift gets boxed up and donated to a needy cause.

Now, I’m all for living lightly, and I hate the "Buy it for me!" kid culture we’ve fomented — but at the same time…


That just seems excessively mean. Anyway, I posted at another blog all about a discovery we made along those lines in our own family over the holiday season: check out the entire post over at GNM Parents.

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tagged as in Blog,parenting ·

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

The Other Dawn January 25, 2008 at 7:50 am

I don’t think it’s a bad idea to limit what you give your kids. But the idea of giving them and taking them away a day later? That, in my mind, is just mean. I’m not sure what that’s meant to teach.


twinbabiesdad January 25, 2008 at 10:01 am

Are the “lots of presents” from other friends and family? Or are they all from “Mom & Dad.” And if they are from others outside the nuclear unit, do the people giving the gift know they are going to be given away instantly? Cause that is just crappy. I’d be way bummed if I gave one of my friend’s kids a gift they wouldn’t have a chance to use (I’m pretty sure anything I gave wouldn’t make the KEEP cut.)

I don’t think it teaches anything positive. It’s disrespectful of the givers, doesn’t teach anything about being gracious in receiving, and makes me sad.

That said, we try not to imbue things with to much import. In fact tomorrow the girls, twinbabiesmom and I are going to be cleaning their room – we just moved them to a new bedroom and are trying to get it straingtened up finally – part of the deal is we’re going to go through the way to giant pile of plastic crap they have (hmm, maybey cousin is on to something. . .)and decide what to give away to kids who don;t have as many toys as they do. It’s going to be hard, but we gotta thin the herd!

p.s. how old are the kids and has this always been the way they do it?

p.p.s. Has the move bummed you out in unexpected ways? You seem to be writing grumpier posts lately.


twinbabiesdad January 25, 2008 at 10:03 am

Sorry about the rotten grammar and spelling in the above comment – should have read it before hitting submit.


doodaddy January 25, 2008 at 11:04 am

The presents are from mom and dad and the grandparents and whatnot, all of whom know of the arrangement (that’s how I found out about it, actually). I don’t know tons more about the practice, although they do have to write thank-you notes. (“Dear grandma, thanks for the toy car. It looked like it would have been really cool…”)


P.S. Me, grumpy? Yeah, probably. Lots of work to do and all that… I better get my ass in gear and write something fun now! Hmmm…. 🙂


Xbox4NappyRash January 25, 2008 at 1:43 pm

I’m not so hot on the taking away of the gifts but if I’m honest I like the idea of one toy.


doodaddy January 25, 2008 at 1:58 pm

I know, huh? I think that if they *started* that way, that would be reasonable. Or, hell, don’t do any presents at Christmas — fine, too! But to give them and then take them away… just seems like a ticket to therapy.

How’s January out there? Chilly and wet? There was just a story here about how the Dutch are starting to allow more flooding in some areas as part of a new water strategy. Made me think of you with your finger in a levee. (That was you, right?)




Avery January 25, 2008 at 6:32 pm

We do something similar with my son, but we don’t torture him by letting him play with the toys, then taking them away. We’ve told our in-laws that they are only allowed to buy him one toy at Christmas and his birthday, and anything beyond that will be donated to charity. We had to do that. They were buying WAY too many toys for him, and we don’t want him to come to expect that all the time. We want him to appreciate what he has.


jessicab January 28, 2008 at 1:55 pm

I do think that we can easily go overboard with the giftgiving but what the hell!! One toy.

Last night I wrapped Lil’ Bum’s birthday presents. Now although they are not huge, karoake machine, cinderella doll, puzzle and toy organizer, she will love them. I can’t imagine letting her have them and then taking 3 away.


doodaddy January 28, 2008 at 2:15 pm

KARAOKE MACHINE! That sounds so rad. Can we party at your house?

:), Dd.


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