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[P]
Are we less grateful?

By AgentGray in Op-Ed
Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 05:06:34 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

After the wrapping paper has all been trashed and the egg nog has all been sipped up, are we thankful for what we have received?


To some people Christmas is just another day, to others it is a great event that is to be remembered, and to some (mainly children) it is the best day of the year that involves gift getting.

However, the more and more the seasons pass it seems as if we are becoming less grateful for what we have received. I don't feel that way, but I see it in others. It is not in everybody, but in an alarming number of people.

I witnessed two children this last weekend open over twenty presents each. It seemed as if they didn't care. Some gifts were not even completely unwrapped before they got to the next one. Some I even saw tossed over their shoulder as they reached for other gifts. When that was done, they preceded to open gifts that were not theirs all in the name of "helping you open it." It was truly a shame.

However, it gets better (or worse). When I give a gift I want it to be from the heart, a gift that means something. I don't want it to be just a gift. The oldest child was a boy of seven, almost eight. Earlier in the year we had a great couple of days playing with my set of LEGOs. I thought it would be a great gift for him to receive his very own bucket. Total playing time: sixty seconds. Some of the LEGOs he didn't even open out of the bag. I feel lucky because he at least got all the paper off my gift. Some of them lying around were still half-wrapped thrown over in the corner. I think they received too much. Not even thirty minutes after the "feeding frenzy" I heard an exclamation of, "I'm bored!" I don't know about everyone else, but as a child I was never bored around Christmas, especially after. I was tempted to take the LEGOs back. I don't think they would have been missed. Next year, he gets a five dollar bill to be given to his father to be put in a bank account.

I rephrase my topic into a question. Have we fallen so low in commercialism and materialism that our wants will never be satisfied or that we will never be truly grateful?

Most of us get things all year. We see something we want and we buy it. I'm guilty of it. My mother and wife always tease my father and I every year saying that it's hard to buy gifts for us. I had to agree with them. We go out and buy what we want throughout the year. We can afford to buy it, but we cannot afford to wait for it. Are most of us out there the same way?

Finally, this is one of the better holiday seasons I've ever had. Last night I had to ask myself why. I didn't receive much, but I did receive things I needed. (Buy a house. You'll need lots of things.) I gave a lot though. Due to a physical problem, my wife and I have to wait a while before having a baby. I worked a couple of extra days and bought her a puppy. I think the puppy might help ease the pain brought about by not being able to have children now. The joy it brings her was well worth it. Besides, they potty train better...

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Did you have a good Christmas?
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Are we less grateful? | 62 comments (59 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
Bah (4.38 / 13) (#1)
by zantispam on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 10:44:25 AM EST

Kids these days...</geezer>

I think that the problem you see is rooted in two seperate but related issues. First, the economy is doing so well now (and has been for years) that there's nothing outside the realm of the possible. Does your kid want a PSX2? No problem, I'll go drop $1000 USD on ebay. Does your kid want Pokemon? Cool, here's $400 for the entire card set. There's so much money flying around so fast that people have forgotten what it's like to really be poor.

The second point is that parents don't want their children to go through what they went through growing up. They want to give their kids the stars. Children of middle class parents get more loot now than they ever did (unsubstantiated, I know, but this has been my observation). Why? See point 1. As a result, kids get what they want, when they want it.

There's another point I didn't consider at first - why do parents allow this to happen? Why do they let their kids act like greedy little brats? Why do they not at least instill a sense of appreciation in those who receive the most? I'll leave speculation on this up to the reader, as I don't have time to go into it more thouroghly.

Finally, I think that this problem is solvable, but only by a downturn in the economy. If people have less money, they'll buy fewer gifts, and kids will have to figure out appreciation for themselves (the parents obviously won't help out much). It's a shame that we can't seem to have both a good economy and an appreciation of what we have.

ObNotes: Yes, I've made several generalizations. They are just that. I've also chosen to focus on children as I've not much experience with adults acting this way over Christmas. To those of you out there who are parents and who will take offense with cries of "I'm not like that" or "I'll get my kids what I damn well please", chill. This wasn't for you. Finally, if you think I'm just being an old grump, know that I'm 23. The last time I exhibited ungrateful behaviour, I was severly (by my standards as a lad of 6 or 7) beaten and not allowed to open anything else. Needless to say, I soon learned to be grateful for what I received. With age and experience, I learned *why* I was grateful.


Free Duxup!
On a related note. (3.50 / 2) (#5)
by DeadBaby on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 11:38:08 AM EST

I think the parents need to smother their kids in cheaply made goods is directly related to the fact most parents today never grew up themselves. They're all trying to live through their kids.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
Parents these days. Sheesh! (4.66 / 15) (#2)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 10:59:14 AM EST

Who on earth would buy 20+ presents for their child? My wife and I bought our two daughters (one age 7, the other age 3) three presents, two of which cost less than $20 each (the third being an electronic project kit cost a bit more but is educational in nature). They have to share those three presents.

Know what my children had the most fun with? When Dad sat down with them at the table and helped them make bracelets and necklaces with their brand new beaded jewelry making kit.

Children don't need heaps and heaps of toys. They just need some attention, some love and parents willing to make sure that the children know how to entertain themselves without needing the latest, greatest battery operated gizmos, bells and whistles.

The bottom line is that if one saturates a child with items that compete for his or her attention, he or she will be able to pay attention to very few of them. Keep it simple. Let the children open the gifts and then be content to watch them play with the boxes for the next five hours. ;)

It's not just the parents. (4.00 / 3) (#7)
by AgentGray on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 11:49:29 AM EST

I forgot to mention we were at grandma's. Remind you, this was only on one side of the family.

I am guilty of it as well for getting them a present. Maybe my once a year companionship should be enough? I thought a gift that we could do together would be sufficient, even when he stated he liked the LEGOs the last time we were together.

I liked my wife's idea (this is her side of the family): give him the LEGOs, but they stay at our house for when he comes to visit...

[ Parent ]

Encourage your family to draw names (4.50 / 4) (#10)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 12:36:36 PM EST

At our family holiday get-togethers we draw names. Usually we seperate the adults (defines as post high school aged) from the non-adults. Each person draws one name and purchases one gift for that person. This way everybody gets one gift. This year we added a rule where gifts to adults had to be hand made. It was interesting. Many people got cookies. I took out the mobo from an old Mac Classic II and turned it into a clock for my techno-geek brother-in-law whose name I had drawn.

[ Parent ]
Great idea! (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by AgentGray on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 01:19:39 PM EST

All said and done, that is exactly what we decided. We draw names at Thanksgiving.

However, the hand made part is even better...



[ Parent ]
Different Ways of Giving Gifts (4.66 / 3) (#36)
by skeller on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 06:29:33 PM EST

My extended family has tried something similar to this on a few occasions, and I must say it works out quite well. Instead of drawing names we make a game out of it: everyone brings one generic present with a value of no more than like $10 or $20. Then they're all put in a big pile. Somebody starts by opening a gift of his/her choice. The next person that goes can either open a new gift or take the gift from the first person (in which case the first person chooses a new gift). It works well to make a rule like after a present has been "stolen" twice it's then out of play or something.

This is pretty cool for a few reasons. First off, it really reduces the cost of having to buy a separate gift for a ton of people. Secondly, it's often tough to know what to buy certain people, especially if you see them only once a year. Finally, it lasts longer than the generic gift-giving and provides a fun way for everyone to interact.

If it's wrong to eat puppies, why did God make them so tasty?
[ Parent ]

Extended Family Contributes to Greedy Kids (4.20 / 5) (#9)
by ignatiusst on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 12:33:38 PM EST

My wife and I, too, decided to limit the gift-giving to my 3 year-old son. Unfortunately, my mom and dad saw no reason not to give him a multitude of presents. Then there are the two aunts.. and three great uncles.. and cousins..

arrrgh!

Most of it, of course, is being packed up and sent to Goodwill. I've even stopped lying about it: "Oh, he just loves the new box of crayons!" Hell, no. Now its: "Yeah, he has enough crayons, but we'll make sure someone who doesn't have any gets these.. thanks!"


When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. -- Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

My wife and I handled this one by not going. (5.00 / 4) (#11)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 12:40:34 PM EST

By the time our oldest daughter was 3, my wife and I had repeatedly warned Grandparents that the level of gifts they were buying was inappropriate. When the deluge didn't stop, we stopped going to Grandma and Grandpa's for the holidays. It took two years of not seeing Grandchildren at Christmastime for my wife's parents to cave in and see things our way. The first year they didn't think we were serious about not coming. The second year they figured that we thought our point had been proven so we'd show up anyway. Now we are free to go and get a sane level of presents.

[ Parent ]
Presents don't need to be toys... (3.00 / 1) (#56)
by forgey on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 02:23:48 PM EST

How about useful presents; things like clothes, sports equipment or educational stuff.

We get more then 3 presents at Christmas. Generally my parents buy us one 'main' present (this year mine was a nice 'Taylor Made' golf club) and roughly 4 other gifts. One is usually chocolate (we are all chocoholics) and the rest are generally clothes, books or the like. In our stockings we get stuff like razors, deodourant, lego, magazines, books, chocolate or other small but useful type things.

Is that really that bad? Not preticularly. Do I have more presents than I can use/pay attention to all at once on Christmas morning? Yep. I will be able to enjoy and pay attention to all of my gifts over the course of the next year though.

I agree you shouldn't shower your kids with nothing but toys and more toys, but you shouldn't limit yourself to 3 inexpensive gifts just because. I buy my gifts based on my budget and who i am giving the gift to. If I can afford to give by girlfriend a pair of skis so we can go skiing al winter, I think that's a very good gift.

forge

[ Parent ]
Gratefulness (4.45 / 11) (#3)
by StrontiumDog on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 11:00:44 AM EST

We go out and buy what we want throughout the year. We can afford to buy it, but we cannot afford to wait for it. Are most of us out there the same way?

I think this is the nub of the matter. When I was a kid (and wore rags and had to walk miles barefoot to school, etc. etc.) Christmas and birthdays were the main occasions we recieved non-utilitarian gifts. Pocket money, and the range of merchandise it could buy, was very limited: sweets, comic books, later on the occasional Playboy (for the educational value).

But now I look around me, and the 90's has produced a huge number of conspicuously wealthy little brats around me. It sometimes seems like the average 11 year old has more spending power than I do. Clothes, movies, game consoles, mobile phones -- these snotty monkeys have 'em all. They are not only getting more pocket money in one week than I ever did during my whole miserable life, but thanks to the overheated labour market there are more, better paid after-school jobs available than ever before.

Looked at this way, I think it's getting harder and harder for kids to psych themselves up for Christmas. It's difficult to whip up a frenzy for presents, when you've been getting stuff all year. I think this is a trend that's been going on for some decades now. During my parents' youth, for instance, a home-knitted sweater was a perfectly acceptable Christmas present. In my youth that was already considered cheapo. Try giving that to a kid nowadays, and be prepared to spend some time afterwards pulling it out of your rectum. The only thing that is going to reverse this trend is a major depression.

Finally, this is one of the better holiday seasons I've ever had. Last night I had to ask myself why.

Same here. Last years' Christmas I spent working in a dot com hell. This year's been a lot quieter. At home, with friends and family. At my age (grandpa said, reaching unsteadily for his walking stick) you begin to appreciate these things.

Knowing Value (none / 0) (#57)
by HypoLuxa on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 04:28:37 PM EST

I have had a similar experience in the past several years. When I was a kid, we would always host these huge christmas dinners with uncles, aunts, grandparents and a whole raft of family friends (with their uncles, aunts, grandparents, et alia). I don't think I really appreciated this until the past few years. By this time, both of my mother's parents had died, and both of my father's parents had died. Relatives and family friends were pretty well strewn about the world, and for the past little bit we had always been travelling to south Georgia to visit with my ailing grandmother. This produced a string of Christmases that were spend with three or four people, just my immediate family. After my sister got married, she wasn't at xmas any more either.

And then there was this year. We were all together. Family was all in the house; my sister came with not only her husband, but his family as well. The friends that had been everywhere on xmas were all here in the city. We had a huge dinner, despite the turkey catching on fire, and we had enough food to feed a small army. It was really great. After dinner, the younger generation went out to see even more friends and spend more time with people we don't see enough.

When we were out getting a beer that night, a friend asked me what I got as gifts. I told him that I didn't know yet. We spent all of our time laughing and talking with family and friends, and left the presents under the tree for another day.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]

Simply put... (3.50 / 4) (#4)
by DeadBaby on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 11:33:18 AM EST

Yes.

The holiday means nothing except big sales for retailers. It's a joke. I don't buy xmas gifts for people. I buy them gifts that might actually mean something to them.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
Retailers are hurting this christmas (3.00 / 1) (#13)
by weirdling on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 01:01:07 PM EST

Seems we didn't go out and buy as much as we should have. I heard commercials insisting that anyone who didn't get into the spirit of christmas was a grinch so often it became odious.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Potty Training. (2.85 / 7) (#6)
by Dolgan on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 11:49:05 AM EST

You think puppies potty train better?

You're in for a surprise. :) Babies poop and pee in their pants... puppies poop and pee on your couch, floor, and bedding.

We were lucky (3.50 / 2) (#8)
by AgentGray on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 11:53:55 AM EST

This puppy came paper trained...but we're prepared for accidents. :)

[ Parent ]
At my old age (21). (4.00 / 6) (#12)
by Luke Scharf on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 12:54:22 PM EST

At my old age of 21 years, I enjoy seeing family and relitaves the most. I find the gift giving and especially the gift recieving to be draining.

Of course, seeing the relitaves doesn't have to happen on a particular calendar day - I came home from my university one weekend and everything just happened to feel like a holliday for everyone involved. My stepmom cooked up a very good smelling storm, and a bunch of relitaves came by. A great day!

Of course, there's a workaholic trait that runs in my family - I practically live in one of my university's labs, my dad travels a lot, and my stepmom puts in 12 hour days where she works. When a holliday comes around, we have some family time.

So, I'd almost rather see the holliday gift budget spent on plane tickets and big family meals. Don't get me wrong - I really appreciate the clothing and toys I've received, but, you know. :-)



I agree whole-heartedly (2.50 / 2) (#14)
by AgentGray on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 01:17:32 PM EST

ditto.

[ Parent ]
Bad Parents==Bad Kids (3.57 / 7) (#16)
by Innismir on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 01:37:50 PM EST

I was a middle class suburban computer geek, still am. My mom [ran,runs] a home-based day care, my dad [is,was] middle management for a bread delivery company. I was by no means spoiled and I know I wasn't receving the bottom of the barrel either. I usually got one 'big something' and about 10-15 smaller gifts from my parents, and 1 or two small gifts from my relatives. I was (relatively) nice about gifts, and I enjoyed them, yet there was always the J Random Brat down the street who had it all and had the gall to /complain/ about their gifts, this was unheard of in my family. I think that this has been going for a while, its just that a new generation is noticing it. Raise your kids right and you won't see this behavior, spoil them rotten and you get whiny brats. I think that people should just set limits on what your kids expect and what they get. I also believe that these people that don't want their kids to recieve gifts is a bunch of hogwash. Kids should be kids, let them be spoiled to a point.

In God we trust, all others must have a valid PGP key....
For the sake of argument (3.00 / 3) (#20)
by spacejack on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 03:40:17 PM EST

First off let me say that I sympathize with your sentiments, and that over-spoiled kids annoy the hell out of me. OTOH, I think you are overreacting. The economy is good, people will spoil themselves and their kids. So perhaps these "gross indulgences" will seem prevalent for the time being.

But I thought I'd raise a lateral point that I find kind of disturbing, yet can't really ignore: I wonder if this kind of attitude won't actually help these kids in future. By giving kids 20+ expensive, flashy gifts I wonder if it teaches these kids how to take. How to grab what they want out of this world. I've seen both the haves and the have-nots grow up around me. Many of the have-nots have never really learned how to "take". Sometimes I wonder if they are simply oppressing themselves via their distaste for excess. Those who acquire a taste for excess may be socialized to live their lives so that they may continue taking (i.e., make lots of money, buy lots of toys, etc.)

A vicious cycle perhaps, but I wonder..

Somebody prove me wrong! I don't like this thought but I have no counter-argument :/

Good counter-argument. (3.00 / 2) (#28)
by AgentGray on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 04:37:50 PM EST

I too have seen it, but I think that's the thing that scares me about it all. What will they be like when they are in their twenties?

[ Parent ]
"Getting", not "taking"... (3.33 / 3) (#32)
by StrontiumDog on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 05:11:06 PM EST

But I thought I'd raise a lateral point that I find kind of disturbing, yet can't really ignore: I wonder if this kind of attitude won't actually help these kids in future. By giving kids 20+ expensive, flashy gifts I wonder if it teaches these kids how to take. How to grab what they want out of this world. I've seen both the haves and the have-nots grow up around me. Many of the have-nots have never really learned how to "take".

Disturbing thought .. I never really looked at it that way, but you do raise an interesting point here. I think comfort may be taken from the fact that kids who get snowed under presents don't really "take" anything, they "get" things. There's a difference between going out there and taking something, and having it handed to you on a platter.

That said, I find time to be a great equalizer as far as social behaviour goes. Most of my childhood friends are now between 25 and 30, and I've seen them all more or less lose their individual quirks and assume the uniform social veneer that most people seem to carry around with them in public after college.

[ Parent ]

The exact opposite observation... (3.00 / 2) (#35)
by enthalpyX on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 06:17:33 PM EST

Very interesting suggestion.

However, I often see the selfish/incredibly worldly "have" people taking for granted all their posessions. This frequently results in college dropouts, failures in business -- all because they just *expect* things to go their way. They don't have contingency plans if things go wrong.

But besides that, the child doesn't have to initiate any action to "take." They don't link "work" or "deception" with "ME GET STUFF." Hence, there is some hope... :)



[ Parent ]
My first dot-christmas (4.42 / 7) (#21)
by Miniluv on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 03:41:28 PM EST

It's interesting, seeing this perspective on Christmas, as it's one I've fortunately never had to experience first hand. When I was a kid my folks were pretty well off, dad was upper-middle management at WD, and thus brought home a quite good paycheck, mom was a housewife. Part of our Christmas tradition involved me never making a list, instead receiving things my parents thought I'd like and enjoy. They watched all year, sometimes buying things in February when it was fresh in their mind, looking forward to seeing my face on Christmas morning when I unwrapped something I'd forgotten wanting but experiencing that incredible rush when all the desire for it comes flooding back and I truly love what I got.

This year was what I call my "dot-christmas" as I'm making more than I ever thought I would, and was able to go out and buy whatever I wanted for everyone on my gift giving list. I really, finally, learned the meaning of the phrase "it's more fun to give than to receive" because when done right it truly is. I spent three days wandering the mall waiting for things to leap out at me to buy for specific people, and eventually things did for every single giftee.

The best had to be seeing my mom break into tears, my girlfriend do the same, and seeing my dad/step-mom/their family absolutely amazed at the stuff I found for them. Sure I got some great gifts, who doesn't want a new TV, and I really love 'em, but the true joy came in giving. Perhaps that's what these kids are missing, the appreciation that comes in receiving a cool gift after you have the perspective on trying to find said cool gift for someone else.

I'm also a hard to buy for person, I don't like letting other people get me things, and so when I have the resources I go get what I want. In a way though, this makes me more fun to buy for, or so I'm told, because it takes real work to find the things I'll like, but I like them so much more than just another pile of cd's, books and computer stuff.

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'

Same environment. (4.00 / 3) (#24)
by harb on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 03:49:02 PM EST

My parents did basically the same thing.. They'd listen to what I'd been talking about for the year or so, and then get me something that I'd been talking about. Of course, by that point, I'd completely forgotten I'd wanted it, and it was quite a nice surprise to get it. Case in point, this year: a digital camera. Something I'd probably never buy for myself, but will get lots of fun out of.

The other point, just 'something they think you'd enjoy', my dad bought everyone some RC trucks, which make for about three hours of good fun, and will make for more later, if he can remember to remind people to bring them all back when we get together.

I'm pretty sure I didn't get anyone 'bath stuff', re: random smelly stuff because you don't want to bother thinking about what to actually buy.

If I did, I hope they beat me up for being a thoughtless jerk. :)

harb.

bda.
[ Parent ]

Bath stuff (3.00 / 1) (#26)
by Miniluv on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 04:03:47 PM EST

Actually, I got person or two bath stuff this year, but they were people for whom I knew this to be a truly appreciable gift. Yeah, it's all cliched and people do it thoughtlessly, but it doesn't have to be a thoughtless gift.

The RC trucks sound like a kick-ass idea to me. Puts me in mind of all those great childhood areas when I and the neighbor kids would all have our RC vehicles out and racing and stuff. Radio controlled stuff has to be one of the coolest all ages entertainment forms available.

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

RC stuff. (2.50 / 2) (#33)
by harb on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 05:42:28 PM EST

My dad also got my aunt's boyfriend (They're both in their middle 70s -- life is weird :) one.. he sat on the back porch playing with it for a couple of hours. Heh. So yeah, it's definite all-age entertainment :)

harb.

bda.
[ Parent ]

Cool RC stuff... (3.00 / 1) (#44)
by Miniluv on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 09:55:45 PM EST

What I wanna get to play with are RC boats and airplanes and helicopters. All three look incredibly fun, especially the RC choppers and planes. I had a built it yourself rc airplane kit for a prop driven plane, but never had the time to assemble it properly.

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]
You're just getting old (2.71 / 7) (#22)
by boxed on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 03:42:12 PM EST

This is just a sign that you're getting old. People have always viewed the youth as ungrateful, rude and with poor language. Plato himself complained about this! Humans are humans and the good old days weren't better at all.

Haha! (3.00 / 2) (#27)
by AgentGray on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 04:35:20 PM EST

I actually thought this before posting the story. I'm at the ripe old age of twenty-three.

Holy cow! Why are my pants up to my pecs and what's with the dang government.

It's actually pretty humorous because I thought I woold never be that way (if that's the case).



[ Parent ]
yea, it's scary (3.00 / 1) (#39)
by boxed on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 08:33:45 PM EST

More or less all of us will end up like our parents. Whether we like it or not history does repeat itself and there is most likely a good reason for us to become like our parent though we swore not to.

[ Parent ]
Eh, not too scary (none / 0) (#58)
by SoVLF on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 09:40:01 AM EST

There is a good reason we turn out like our parents (in general... people with lousy parents hopefully turn out better...) It takes time to figure out the important stuff in life. Getting presents ain't it. I was rather bored with the "xmas as present-fest" ten years ago (I'm 29). I think I got more out of visiting my brother's family, and spending an evening with college friends than from any presents I got.

Not that I didn't get presents. I'm rather psyched to have gotten a Jerry Garcia tie and a copy of John Linnel's "State Songs".... :)

Now if I could just convince everyone to skip Christmas and celebrate Solstice instead.... dare to dream.



[ Parent ]

Grateful or knowing of sacrifice? (3.50 / 4) (#23)
by turtleshadow on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 03:45:27 PM EST

I'll just refer you to an earlier comment as background. Here's gratefulness in 3 easy steps of sacrifice my parents taught me
  • Have you taken such kids along when you've performed volunteer work?
  • Have you insisted such kids to perform volunteer work?
  • Have you asked such kids to pick their favorite toy prior to Chrismas AND then proceeded to buy it, only then to very publicly donate it? Mom & Dad do secretly buy a 2nd for presentation by them to the kid on Christmass day.
Its twisted but is something you never forget and always think about.

Regards,
Turtleshadow


Twisted, yes (3.42 / 7) (#25)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 04:01:05 PM EST

Number 2 isn't volunteer work, it's just unpaid work. You've taught them, not to give, but to allow things to be taken from them.

Number 3 is just cruel and dishonest. Did it bother your parents that they lied to you?

As to the original article, I have to say that kids on Christmas morning often behave in a very atypical way. I'd be careful reading too much into the behaviour of a child who is typically tired and stressed. See how he is today, with a full night's sleep, and you might find that you have your friend back.

(And yay for puppy! Congratulations.)

[ Parent ]

Yes, true. (4.50 / 6) (#29)
by AgentGray on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 04:48:22 PM EST

However, this was typical of this kid throughout Thanksgiving and even somewhat this morning (a day after).

I was a kid once as well, but I at least remember being grateful.

My dad's hero is Sandy Koufax. I wanted to repay him one year and show my love and gratefulness for being my father. If you know Koufax (and not many people do) he doesn't sign much or do any public appearances. I had to use my best abilities months ahead of time to find him an autographed ball. It was what I wanted for Christmas, for him to have that ball. I was finally able to get in touch with his contact and have him sign a ball. It cost a pretty penny. The cool thing was Koufax didn't want any money (shows you the kind or guy/player he was - the best). I made the check out to charity. Remind you, I didn't have a job and my mom had to write the check. (It was worth thirty-nine lawn mowings around the neighborhood.)

I don't remember what I got for Christmas that year, but seeing my father cry in tears of joy and then hug me was the best gift I could ever have.

It was the BEST Christmas ever. The ball sits in his office and we always talk about it...something from his hero for mine.



[ Parent ]
Same Here (3.33 / 3) (#42)
by KFK2 on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 09:19:04 PM EST

That's the same thing that happend to me, except it was for my mom, and it wasn't a baseball, it was china.. my mom has been wanting China dishes for about 20 years now.. and seeing the look on her face when she opened them (she had not clue about the present.. even though she was in a store near where they were bought, when they were bought.. just seeing the tears come to her eyes when she opened the first box put the meaning in it's better to give then to recieve for me.. now as for me.. i usually got one big present and a few small ones.. most of the presents get used.. or displayed.. and are not through around.. eg. i used to get lego a lot, and they were played with about once a month.. if not more (me and my 2 younger brothers own about 8 boxes (2'x1'x1') full of legos.. now as for this year i got a 80 gig maxtor hard drive.. (which i got about 4 weeks before Christmas cause it was shipped to my dorm room... didn't want to chance not getting it cause i live in Japan.. just thought i add my comment..

Kenny

[ Parent ]
Never said that (4.33 / 3) (#41)
by turtleshadow on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 08:43:59 PM EST

The leap from what I posted to what you concluded requires a substantial leap for me to understand your logic.
Volunteerism being equated to unpaid work or even exploitation?
If your saying all work must be for fiscal gain I really dispute that, especially for children. No child really gets paid "money" to clean their room, wash up, show up on time and behave. Its worse when children are bribed to give. Its all about associating positive reward with sought after activity. Volunteerism tends to expand their worldview, meet new people and friends, go places, understand the world isn't just like home rather than say play let them zombie on PS2 all weekend.
These early lessons are done, so children will continue to do good things because they have transfered any tangible reward to hopefully something more internal like, waking up with a clean conscience or light heart.

As for my parents lying to me that is also a severe conclusion based on not even a paragraph.
You imply that its close to childabuse. This was a far removed as Pluto in my case. I perhaps could have been more explict by quoting,
Mom: Turtleshadow what is the big toy this year for boys your age?
Turtle: The AT-ST, Its sooo cool it walks & stomps & shoots
Mom: Very good I need to get a gift for the "Charity." I think that will work great for some boy that will get nothing else this Christmass.
Turtle: Mouth agape..... Mom!

As for kids acting atypical for that special day. Indeed they are highly subjectable to the hype that surrounds such days.
By your prior posts seem to counteract your claim it can classified as "oh its just the tired stressed out effect of Christmass on him."
.... I send you back to your own quote. And ask again "Is aberant behavior at any age acceptable when proper behavior has been demonstrated?"

The way I read your prior statement that age appropriate behavior is what is expected, period. Is social relapse granted 1 day a year just for little kids?
Turtleshadow


[ Parent ]
Volunteer? (3.00 / 2) (#50)
by davidduncanscott on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 09:39:22 AM EST

The dictionary's downstairs, but my understanding of "volunteer" involves willing participation, and parents "insisting" upon it doesn't sound terribly willing. Yes, in fact I would equate it to a chore, and I would expect it to be as uplifting as taking out the trash.

As for #3, no, I certainly didn't mean to imply "child abuse", merely deception. It sounded to me like you were saying that they deliberately raised your expectations only to then give the toy to someone else (and then give you another one just like it -- I did get that part). This may be an enlightening act of manipulation, but it is manipulation none the less. I make it a point not to lie to my kids, and if I wanted them to help me choose a gift for someone else I would ask them to help me choose a gift for someone else. (For that matter, if a gift would be out of reach, which is often the case, I'll tell them it's out of reach -- Daddy's not very successful, but he's straight with them about it.)

My comment about drinking included, "old enough to be engaged". Maybe I missed something, but I gathered we were talking about a child here, and children behave childishly. They are not just little adults, and I apply different standards to them just as I do to puppies and goldfish. I'm not at all sure that what was described was "abberant behaviour" under the circumstances.

In fact, as I read

I thought it would be a great gift for him to receive his very own bucket. Total playing time: sixty seconds. Some of the LEGOs he didn't even open out of the bag.
I have to wonder who was looking for "instant gratification" here -- the child, or AgentGray? (As a matter of fact, I suspect that if AgentGray had listened closely, he would have heard the kid's parents saying, "No dear, let's not open all those until we get home, because Grandmother doesn't want 352 Legos on her living room floor in the middle of a party." I think Legos are a terrific gift, but they need room).

I just wouldn't read too much into the behaviour of an eight-year old. He's an individual kid, not EveryKid, much less SymbolOfCrassMaterialisticSociety. Maybe he had a headache, maybe he hadn't slept much the night before, maybe he doesn't much like his family. Two kids and a house full of adults? Probably not his dream date either.

[ Parent ]

Ooookay.... (3.50 / 4) (#40)
by The Welcome Rain on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 08:39:57 PM EST

Have you asked such kids to pick their favorite toy prior to Chrismas AND then proceeded to buy it, only then to very publicly donate it? Mom & Dad do secretly buy a 2nd for presentation by them to the kid on Christmass day.

Uh, don't take this the wrong way, but if you ever do that to a child, I hope they learn the true lesson: My Parents Are The Enemy. I also hope they can get to that big sharp knife in the kitchen.

[ Parent ]

We've been this way for a while now (4.00 / 5) (#30)
by RangerBob on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 04:59:21 PM EST

I went to my wife's family's get-together on Sunday and saw a lot of this. Her nephew is a prime example. He's spoiled, has so many toys that he looses interest, and is so used to getting presents that he throws a tantrum every time he doesn't get what he wants. They try to bribe him into being good by buying him things.

This was in contrast to another young one in her family. Her family doesn't have a lot, so they can't give her much. She appreciated every present she got and thanked everyone who gave her something. I'll probably get her something again next year, but not him.

What's different about these two? The parents. Yeah, we've been over-commercializing every holiday for a long time now, but parents can decide whether or not they're going to mirror that with their kids. Parents these days don't seem to want to take that responsibility. They blame everything and everyone but themselves. The sad thing is that these people will be the ones on tv whining about how their kids are felons or what not because society made them that way. They won't say "You know, I really was a rotten parent who shouldn't have viewed them as a matter of convenience."

Agreed. (4.00 / 1) (#31)
by AgentGray on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 05:09:17 PM EST

It helps my wife and I put things in perspective when we have our children. We now have a clear example of how not to raise children. Plus, our own parent's example was good enough as well.

Let's hope we don't make the same mistakes as her sister and brother-in-law.



[ Parent ]
I am.. (1.25 / 8) (#34)
by k5er on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 05:49:59 PM EST

I am definitely thankful, my parents but me a 20,000 dollar car.
Long live k5, down with CNN.
Many problems at Christmas... (3.00 / 2) (#37)
by Colin Winters on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 06:36:26 PM EST

My grandparents live in Champaign, IL, and I've always had Christmas there. We have a large family, with 5 of my aunts and uncles living in the area. My family always went down Christmas Eve, and stayed a few days, then came back. When I was a kid, I was told Santa could come a few days early or something to that effect. However, for the first time, my parents hosted the Christmas party here-about 3 hours away from Champaign. Half of the people wouldn't come-they said their children needed to be home Christmas Eve/day. The other half drove back that night so they could be home Christmas. This really bugged me-my relatives only wanted to do Christmas if it was easy for them. It seems like this attitude is prevailing everywhere now-people don't care much about Christmas, with getting together with relatives-they just care about the ritual of opening gifts and getting stuff. Just a thought.

On another note-I see a lot of posts here about how the best present is spending time with children. I'm of the opinion that many parents buy huge amounts of toys due to residual guilt about not being around enough. They're hoping that their child can keep himself entertained with his new toys while mom and dad work late nights.

Colin Winters

it's all perspective... (4.16 / 6) (#38)
by ellF on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 07:22:22 PM EST

this christmas was a strange one for me. being recently back from college, no one really expected me to be able to do much for them when it came to presents, but thanks to my higher-than-average (for an 18 year old) job, i had some cash stowed away. i went to a number of bookstores, found exactly what i thought was fitting for each of the people on my list (excluding an infant), and wrote an explanatory note in each.

it was amazing. this was the second year where i felt that i could afford to buy what i wanted to for people, and the first where i went for what i thought would be truly personal gifts. i've come to realize, thanks to the experience, that what makes something valuable is not a sticker but sentiment. unfortunately, it seems as if - witness the various "show her how much you care: buy her a <insert overpriced shiny object>" advertisments - we as a society are losing track of that.

of course, there's nothing wrong with spending a few hundred/thousand/whatever dollars on a gift, but the money should not substitute for the consideration of whether or not the gift suits the person who will receive it. one of the guys i work with, who's probably in his mid-twenties, and is making a good amount of cash - raised the notion to me over the summer, whilst i was going through a period of introspection, that money is but a tool. having a lot of it is simply like wielding a large, heavy hammer. great for hammering railroad spikes, completely wrong for tacking up a painting. IMHO, if a kid/person realizes such, they'll be in a far better place to understand how to receive something than if they're overly concerned with the cost or size or quantity of what they're getting.



I don't follow.. (1.66 / 3) (#43)
by Rainy on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 09:26:14 PM EST

Yeah, we knew that.. if you don't have anything, even a solid red wooden cube is wondeful. If you have 3 pools and 2 yachts, you'll need something more substantial to get excited. What's the problem?
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
Incoherant Ramblings From A Dark and Bitter Weasel (3.00 / 2) (#45)
by squeakyweasel on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 02:59:45 AM EST

I'm glad someone finally posted something about this, it's been bugging me for several years now. I'm only 18, but you can ask anyone that knows me that I'm very grateful if I recieve a gift and I feel bad if I don't give something back. I have observed the same behavior you're describing though. I think it mainly has to do with how the kid was raised. No, I'm not saying that rich people are spoiled brats. I have several friends that have plenty of money and they are some of the most humble people I know. Personally, I think it's how the person sees Christmas through their eyes. If they see it as a day that comes around before New Year's where you get whatever you wanted and even some new things, then the meaning is ruined and this behavior tends to come in to play. If the person sees it as a special day where you get things that neither you nor anyone else deserves (which is how most people think, I believe), then the true meaning is out and people tend not act like you described. I haven't gotten anything for Christmas for the past few years until last year I got a really cool metal wolf figure from my best friend, which still rests on my desk in memory of him. Well, I could ramble on, but it would just be ramble and wouldn't get me anywhere (like I'm doing right now).

--Weasel

Not the usual stuff... (3.50 / 2) (#46)
by lastwolf on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 05:21:38 AM EST

Well,
first I'll say that most of the people in Holland don't celebrate Christmas, but "Sinterklaas", which is around December 5th. It's then I see the same symptons as many of you've described. Some kids even get presents with Christmas too!

But, what I've got for Christmas is something different. Too bad, but I've got this feeling I am almost unique in receiving these way more valuable 'gifts'. I've got to spent a few pleasant hours with my family. We had a few nice discussions, I've been given somewhat more insight in this thing called life. I've got more respect for my father and uncle, which had some interesting political ideas, which I'd never thought they had. After all, I had a nice time. Ain't that more worth then yet another present?

LastWOLF
"Take your wings, go out and fly.
Learn, read and soar the sky."


'Christmas' has been takenfar out of context (2.50 / 2) (#47)
by ryancooley on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 07:52:26 AM EST

It really sickens me to see the Commercialization of a religious holiday. Jesus was born, so how does this bull-shit of love-thy-neighbor come from? It's all Christian religious observations but everyone wether they follow any of the other teachings will be a Christian for 1 week of the year. All this decoration of hourses to the point the the power company has a crisis... Is there a reason for it? Has the entire world become the LOUD halleuah shouting, hollier than thou, Sunday christian everyone despises?

christmas is a fabricated christian holiday (none / 0) (#53)
by ChannelX on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 01:36:49 PM EST

There is enough research out there to successfully argue (in my mind anyway) that it has nothing to do with Christ's birth and a lot more to do with borrowed traditions when the Roman's started practicing Christianity. Lots of good stuff out there about it.

[ Parent ]
So are most Christian holidays (none / 0) (#55)
by pianoman113 on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 01:51:30 PM EST

You really should read a little more. If you had any knowledge of the Bible, you would know there is no mention of Christmas or Easter or any other Christian holiday throughout the year. Most of them were taken from the non-christian cultures and Christianized to make the pagan holidays acceptable.
The point, nowadays, is not the origin rather it is the actual act of worship. There is no biblical mandate to celebrate Christ's birth or resurection, it was initially done out of worship. Often today it is done out of tradition, but why should that cheapen my worship?
The bible gives us an historical account of the birth of christ, but not an exact date. While a better one could probably be estimated, by using the details described in the Gosples, who really cares? It's not about when, it's about whom.

A recent survey of universities nation-wide yeilded astounding results: when asked which was worse, ignorance or apathy, 36% responeded "I don't know," and 24% responeded "I don't care." The remaining 40% just wanted the free pen.
[ Parent ]
yes I have read the bible (none / 0) (#59)
by ChannelX on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 03:03:00 PM EST

and yes I realize there is no direct mentioning of Christmas or Easter. That of course has absolutely nothing to do with my point.

As to the historical accuracy of the Bible I place the New Testament on about the same accuracy scale as I do Norse mythology. I'd do the same for a good portion of the Old Testament.

[ Parent ]

I am.. (1.00 / 6) (#48)
by k5er on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 08:06:15 AM EST

I am definitely thankful, my parents but me a 20,000 dollar car.
Long live k5, down with CNN.
Grateful? (4.00 / 3) (#49)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 08:20:07 AM EST

Being nonreligious, I've got no real loyalty to Christmas. Last year I'd become so sickened by the commercialized brainwashing that I abstained, and I abstained again this year. I'll probably abstain next year.

I got a total of 3 "presents" a number I'd hoped to reduce to zero. In addition I recieved a hug which was worth far more to me than any pile of presents ever would.

It's things like this that cause me to live in the moment. This could have happened any day of the year...

farq will not be coming back
this is what I plan to do (none / 0) (#52)
by ChannelX on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 01:35:01 PM EST

and totally abstain next year. No trips to the relatives, no parties, no giving presents, no nothing. After having a rather large anxiexty attack on Christmas Eve I determined next year would be different ;) I *did* decide though that for those who decide they just have to give me a present that they can give money to a list of charities I will provide. Better the money go to use that way then me getting more shit to store.

[ Parent ]
I think (4.00 / 3) (#51)
by tokage on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 10:16:44 AM EST

It depends on what family you're from. When you say are 'we', is that us as a society, Americans, the world, what? I know when I much younger, growing up in a household without much money, I was happy with every gift I received. It sounds like you're talking about children who are spoiled, for whatever reason. If you took a child from a 'developing' country and brought him to America for christmas, he'd be overwhelmed just by the amount of food availible, not to mention the presents.:P I think that "we" as a culture of increasingly well off people(or so the statistics say) are definetly less grateful for things we receive. I think children are kind of an indicator of the state of a household or family structure is in. Children are neither inherently evil, nor particularly good. I think those traits are instilled by environment, parents, etc. The fact that they are less appreciative of their gifts means they are getting more gifts, have more posessions etc. Children don't understand when you say "there are children who aren't getting -anything- for xmas", they only know what they're exposed to, getting whatever they want. If you want to blame someone for that, blame yourselves, and the advertising companies that market these toys specifically at kids, driving them into a frenzy of desire or the latest and greatest:P

As far as I go, I'm with everyone who doesn't really like and/or celebrate christmas. Not particularly close with my family for various reasons..I did meet the most incredible girl 3 years ago(hard to believe, time's speeding up) on xmas day, we hit it off right away, went to get 'coffee' and ended up making out in my truck for a few hours:) Sadly, we're pretty far grown apart, kept in touch for a while, almost had something cool going on. Watch out for those tall, dark haired girls:P

killall -9 boring_sentimentality_no_one_cares_about

Here are a few more reasons I dislike Christmas, just throwing them out there for ya'll. All standard reasons such as: dislike of the blatant commercialism, the hypocrisy of celebrating jesus's birth by buying a bunch of dumb shit(he advocated eschewing material possessions, no?), the constant annoying advertising themes trying to play on xmas..the feeling that this is the time of the year you have to be giving, fuck the rest of the year. You name it, it's probably a reason I don't care about Christmas.

I always play / Russian roulette in my head / It's 17 black, or 29 red

Yes, the answer is. (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by goosedaemon on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 01:41:43 PM EST

We're too complacent and satiated, which breeds stagnation. As an illustration, I'm often frustrated when my little brother complains that he's bored, and yet he has lots of stuff around him. I think computers perhaps helped this; he and my sister have this odd notion that the only satisfying stimulus is one that involves the computer or TV.

I'm probably on the extreme opposite end of the spectrum, but I'm satisfied to just give someone a range of numbers, have them guess which one I'm thinking of in that range, and always think of 4. But only my mom likes being at the other end. I've tried to instill something into my brother to find other things to amuse himself with, like reading or sleeping, but... Speaking of which, most people don't get enough sleep, but you already knew that.

A related subject is sex--so much "comedy" has the mistaken idea that in order to be funny you have to make liberal use of sex, often in disgusting ways. And while it can be kind of funny... Meanwhile I think it's funny when I invariably give the number as being four.

Or you could be occupied with still other things, even when you're infirm. Something to do, when you're sick and have nasal problems, is to see how long a string of snot you get hanging out of your nose without breaking. Don't let it touch your skin though, it's really sticky.

And as for my Christmas, on the day after thanksgiving I made my list and left it on the board, because I thought that was pretty funny making it the day after thanksgiving. It had six items, one of which was truckload of horse manure for my garden-to-be (to be honest I also asked for it so that when my peers asked me what i got for christmas i could say "horseshit". hehheh. ). Sadly I didn't get it before Christmas (though I probably will later ), but I did get some expensive chocolate and a microphone. All in all no one got many presents. :)

(oh, and on that last note about being unable to have kids due to a physical problem--you've been given a wonderful opportunity to adopt.
)

anecdotal (none / 0) (#60)
by rsmith on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 04:33:05 PM EST

I don't want to diminish your story, but I think it is anecdotal. I've also seen examp[es of the contrary. And maybe the children are just plain spoiled (which I agree is a Bad Thing).

Besides, I think that we all yearn for the things we don't have. It's only natural, the grass on the neighbour's patch is greener and all that.

If you object to the commercialisation of christmas and other holidays, then don't take part in it.

My personal view is that it's not about receiving gifts but about giving them. Why? Because it makes both you and the recipient feel good! (and it doesn't have to be christmas to do that either).

Roland



Why do we want to forget common sense? (none / 0) (#61)
by Steeltoe on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 06:29:25 AM EST

For some reason it seems we want to put ancient common sense on the shelf and come up with stupid equations like: The amount of happiness and fun extracted from gifts are proportional to the sum of their individual values. In the same spirit: The more gifts received, the higher likelihood of happiness and fun.

Since we ourselves didn't always get what we want as kids, we as parents now want to give these THINGS to our kids. And most of all we EXPECT their gratitude for it. We EXPECT them to be happy about it, and teach them that this is "happiness". We EXPECT them to be our lost inner child that finally got his/her present. The shallow displays of gratitude we receieve, is just a way for the universe to tell us that something's amiss.

Whenever you EXPECT something in this life, you'll mostly be disappointed. Any surprises will probably be negative, and whenever we get what we expected we just say: "So what? I deserve it!", and start longing for the next goal. You've lost the beautiful moment -- the only place and time you can truly be happy.

We've completely forgotten our sense of gratitude in this modern society, and we're teaching our kids the same. Teaching them to say "Thank you" is worthless without the emotion behind it. We can't teach them that by being such terrible examples and living the way we do ourselves. By giving them all sorts of things they point at, we're teaching them to expect to get everything they want. They will never be happy for it, they'll always crave the next fad.

The reason for this is because we are as a society seeking EASY and DULL answers. We avoid surprises and follow eachother in herds. We think we can satisfy this and that, and get it all overwith. We create technologies so that we don't have to get out of the couch, walk/bicycle to work or right down to it: live! We create medias that are designed to make us sleepy and psychologically drugged, so we don't have to face life. We might as well roll over and die if we want to continue this trend.

After this rant, let me just point out that this is not the end of all. However, if you expect a revolution, don't EXPECT it anywhere besides within yourself. You cannot help anybody if you cannot help yourself.

- Steeltoe
Explore the Art of Living

The upper limits of consumerism (none / 0) (#62)
by Gameboy70 on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 03:08:59 AM EST

Material gratification can only go so far, as you pointed out in speculating that the children received too much. The more people have, the more they take it for granted; and the more they take it for granted, the more they want. It's a classic cycle of addiction. The dosage has to be gradually increased to get the same hit. Erich Fromm really exposes the fraud of materialist culture in To Have Or to Be?, which is great reading.

You don't need to be a Marxist to see the dehumanizing aspects of capitalism, as evidenced by the deep cuts in US social spending over the last decade. I found it interesting that films like American Beauty and Fight Club, both highly critical of consumerism, were released at the peak of the our (US) Cinderella economy (not unlike the timing of Wall Street in the eighties).

Instead of using holiday rituals to socialize children into the "if I only had X, I'd be happy" mindset, maybe we should give them more important things than toys, like our time and affection. Have them participate in decorating the Christmas tree, cooking the dinner, making Christmas cards (imagine getting a Christmas card created by your best friend's child -- beats Hallmark), etc.

One other thing: just because a gift has some personal meaning to the giver doesn't necessarily mean that it will have personal meaning to the receiver. It doesn't matter if it's a LEGO set or that latest PDA that us geeks lust after. Maybe the child would've been happier with a football, a wristwatch or a storybook.

Maybe we should try an experiment next year: instead of the usual holiday shopping spree, let's invite our friends and family to a no-gifts-allowed Christmas dinner and just be with each other.

Are we less grateful? | 62 comments (59 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
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