Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Gifts for Children... Precedents, Disappointment, and Gratefulness

I heard some mothers talking the other day about how their children were disappointed when they didn't receive a lot of gifts for Christmas.  It saddened me.  I have a word that has guided my gift giving with my children.

Precedents.... What does that word mean to you?

I looked it up on As I was looking for definitions, most were related to law precedents. That tells me it's a pretty strong word. I am most interested in the first definition that the American Heritage Dictionary presented:
"An act or instance that may be used as an example in dealing with subsequent similar instances. "
This is the definition that has been a guiding thought for me. In the past, my family has been much more affluent than we are currently. Nevertheless, I have always thought about the precedents that I am setting with my children when we give gifts for celebrating special days and holidays. For instance, even when we could afford it, and wanted to give my children their first bicycles, I would not buy such a gift for Christmas or a birthday. We don't give many big gifts—we never have.

During the year, I look for gifts that I think they will enjoy. I put them away in a box until their birthdays, Christmas, or an I Love You day. Because I don't give big gifts, they don't expect them. Because I don't give them often, they are thrilled when they receive one.

Does this mean my children are disappointed with their Christmas gifts?  On the contrary, they are happy with what they receive.  Thrilled in fact. 

When we don't set a high precedent of expectation, our children are free to be grateful for the gifts they do receive.  They can truly enjoy their gifts without thought of cost or quantity. 

I love my children.  I am not required to give them gifts.  I want to give them gifts.  They know that.  They are thankful and enjoy the gifts because they know I am giving them out of love.

Just something to think about...

Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage,
Keeping it simple for our Savior

P.S. Avoiding network cartoons helps since they don't see so many commercials.

May I suggest?
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Shared with: Wrapping Up the Holidays


  1. Good point dear. Our children do really enjoy their gifts because they are given out of love.

  2. I read this post the other day and really had to sit and think about it. I've been to countless children's birthday parties where the child tore the gift not even completely open, groaned and moved on to the next one. Or opened the card without reading it and tossed it because there wasn't any cash inside. This makes me incredibly sad but what disappoints me most, is seeing my own children adopt this selfish trait. They know we don't have a lot of money and we are very frugal but it's always, "I didn't get.......!" Instead of thank you so much! It's so sad and they don't seem to learn the value of the thought that counts. All we can do is work harder to teach them and as you may know, we just purchase a house outright so gifts will be small and few this year. This house was their big gift.
    Thanks for this post.

  3. So many children now days expect so much. Most of them want electronic things and just one of them can be so pricey. My children always felt grateful. I am so happy for that! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  4. Huh! I love this but I had never considered it.


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