It may seem like something of a parental cop-out to suggest that gifts can come in the form of life lessons. That may be true too; after all, no one can get particularly excited about the idea of unwrapping the general concept of kindness - though it undoubtedly is a gift of sorts!
Nevertheless, there’s plenty around gifting that could do with a bit more thought. We now live in a world where parents will probably tout the money they have spent on their kids for Christmas (and even Easter) as a banner to be proud of. “Look how much stuff I’ve bought!” is the general message.
Now, that’s not to be too judgmental. It’s impossible to know the motivations that someone might have for doing this. Perhaps they didn’t have much as a child and are now loving the fact they can provide more for their own children. Perhaps they are just wanting to share the excitement of the event with their friends and family. And yes, some will just be doing it purely for the sake of bragging - but this isn’t a competition. Or at least, it shouldn’t be.
Why Do We Give Gifts? The Good Side
In a world where most of us buy without thinking about it, why do we give gifts?
The general consensus is that we give them as a signal of our affection. It’s a sign of: I saw this and thought you would like it, and because you’re important to me, I wanted you to have it. It’s therefore no surprises that parents want to gift to their children.
When Gifting Goes Bad
The sad fact is that, sometimes, gifting can be a problem for parents. No doubt caving to pressure from their kids, some parents make the mistake of giving animals as gifts. We all know about how a puppy is not just for Christmas, but it’s now becoming a fact we have to warn a chick is not just for Easter.
Is there anything inherently wrong with giving an animal as a gift? Of course not! But it has to be about more than the day itself. That puppy that is going to be so adored on Christmas Day is going to grow into an adult dog. That dog is going to need caring for, may incur expensive vet bills, treating with Frontline Plus, walking and every other dog-related activity for around the next 15 years. So if your child is ready for that kind of commitment (and you’re ready to support them), then you’re good to go.
The Ugly Reasons For Giving Gifts
If you find yourself looking for gifts for any of the following reasons, then it might be worth taking a moment to think about what you’re doing:
- You’re buying because you feel you should and because it’s what everyone does.
- Due to the above, you’re no longer giving gifts that you are sure are going to be loved - you’re giving them because you’re stressfully trying to satisfy a quota.
- You’re buying a “must have” gift because gift guides have said it’s the gift every kid wants this year, but you’re not even sure if your own child does.
So the next time you have an approaching birthday or the Christmas ads are starting to appear, think through your purchases - from the day of receipt right down to the next few years of your life. Do it for the right reasons and give your kids the best gift of all: consideration.