Posts Tagged ‘gift giving’

Managing Expectations Around Gifts

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Managing expectations around giftsAh, the holidays are upon us. There are the classic songs, colorful décor, and tasty treats. Let us not forget the coupon cutting, sale searching, and line waiting. We buy a handful of gifts for our kiddos. Hubby and I discuss a budget and gift ideas, which I try to follow through with before Thanksgiving comes so gifts are not on my mind during the holiday season. We live in a smaller home. I say that not to say we don’t have enough space but simply that we do not crave many toys in our home. We live somewhat simply, by choice.

When I was young, I enjoyed people asking me what I wanted for Christmas. I even flat out made a list and sent it to the man in red, without request. Now I anticipate the inevitable question from a variety of spots (grandmas, aunts, and more!) for my young kiddos. I went through phases. First I felt like I shouldn’t be giving ideas, almost telling people, what to get for my children. It felt selfish. Then I was annoyed that some people felt such need to buy, even when I knew they didn’t have a lot to spend. We’ve settled this last year on what we think is a more realistic, respectful way of balancing other people’s wants for our children and what we hope for them as well.

Keep Perspective

You can’t make other people give gifts the way you want. Everyone understands giving and chooses to do so in different ways. Share how you gift if you’d like, but don’t expect people to suddenly change years of their own beliefs around traditions, giving, and the holidays.

Recognize what you can and can’t control

You can control what you say to your children about gifts and giving. If grandma goes overboard for your children, consider encouraging them to share with others by giving some away or storing some toys away to take out throughout the year. If you receive inexpensive, easily breakable toys with a million small pieces because auntie doesn’t share your love for local, wooden toys, play with them until they break and then throw them away without guilt or donate them to begin with, encouraging a child’s giving heart. If you don’t want grandpa’s extravagant gift to upstage your smaller, hard-earned gift, focus on your giving heart and remind your child that money comes to different people in different ways and amounts. Money does not equal love. Recognize time may teach them this lesson once they grow up and reflect back on childhood, understanding it with an adult’s perspective.

Choose a different centerpiece

Don’t let gifts become the center point. If you stress so much about what others are gifting that it keeps you up at night, figure out what is underneath such a strong attachment to gifting for you. For example, if your concern is keeping up with what other families are providing for their families, remember that love is a far more valuable commodity than a bin full of toys. Perhaps you want children to focus on other aspects of the holiday season or the importance of giving, not money. Know that one day of gifts will not overshadow the other 364 days of the year that you guide them in life.

Lynette shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 2 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.