Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Presents galore

It is Tara's birthday next week (she will be 4 - eeeeek!!) and I wanted to talk about number of presents. Last year I think we gave her 2 presents and Anya gave her 1 present. This year we are giving her 3 presents (a box of Lego, a thrifted yellow handknit cardigan - her favourite colour - and a skipping rope) and Anya is giving her 1 present. She doesn't need anything really (but Lego is always good in this house!) and I really hate going over the top on birthday (or Christmas) gifts. She is having a party for nursery friends the day of her birthday so will get gifts then and we are having a family get together at the weekend so she will get lots of gifts then.

So does the above gift list strike you as stingy? It doesn't to me as she will be getting plenty of other gifts but others (I'm not going to name anyone but for those of you who follow my Twitter you will know I mention a lady* sometimes) think that we are stingy and that we should spoil our children with lots of gifts on birthdays etc. We already have a house filled with enough toys/books/clothes etc to start our own charity shop and I have no particular need or want to add to that pile.

Honestly, what do you think of the list? Would your children be accepting of 3 gifts from their parents? Or are you a believer in spoiling your children? I would appreciate honest opinions too :)

P.S. It's not the cost that bothers me (gifts cost us £35 this year and were about £10 last year - Lego is expensive!)

*I know that this lady is going to quiz Tara next week about what she got for her birthday and will continue asking 'and what else' and 'what else' which winds me up beyond belief but we are not here to talk about my inability to get on with this woman - maybe that's another post!

Photograph taken from Money Saving Expert.


Leanne said...

I don't think it's stingy at all, definitely not for a 4 year old because they're so easily pleased aren't they. Honestly, I could have given Chloe a pile of rocks and a bucket of mud for her birthday and she'd have been the happiest kid in the whole wide world and been able to entertain herself for weeks:)

That mum will rue the day she said that kids should be spoilt when they're screaming that they hate her for buying the crappy £100 trainers instead of the £200 ones "all their friends have!"

I say save the pennies until they're old enough to know what they want and start asking for things.

Daisie said...

I couldn't agree more on the 'less-crap-is-needed' thinking, having four children the less things we have the more room we have to play with them! Nathaniel is three today and we have bought him a train set, he looks longingly at it when we have seen it at the shops for ages and it was on special offer so we bought it and put it away. It's big, it takes up space but he loves it and it's only technically one gift. The others have given him a gift each, a jigsaw, some tools and some stamps and ink. Not much. More than enough. What we need is more people following this thinking, we are restrained at christmas and everyone else goes mental, there is far too much stuff for no reason. Blathering now, will hop off and find Tara a small gift, haha! xxx

Girl_Industries said...

I don't feel I can add too much yet (not due to be a parent for another ten weeks!), but casting my mind back to my own childhood birthdays and Christmases, as long as you are reasonably consistent between the two girls I don't think you can go wrong.

My parents weren't particularly even-handed between me and my sister, and the same goes for at least a couple of my friends, too. And I agree with Daisie, less (stuff cluttering up a house) is more!

Lizzet said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I don't have children but I think that giving lots of presents just because or to match someone else's standards is wrong.
I will never forget one Christmas when we bought LOTS of presents for my youngest sister and after she opened all the presents she went and played with the huge cardboard box where we had kept the presents... and she was the happiest girl on earth!

It is not about money, but it is about teaching them to enjoy other things besides presents, like their party, or being with friends, sharing a cake, etc.

Ruth said...

If you get too many presents how is the child supposed to learn to value any of them? I think a few specially chosen presents are always more special. Also it means that as they become old enough to start requesting things for their birthday they'll have to learn to think carefully about what they really want rather than thinking that they can just have everything.

TopCat76 said...

I don't think it's at all stingy, it's a very healthy attitude to have and more people should be brave enough to adopt it. My daughter's birthday is mid November so we don't go mad at all for her then or Christmas as it would make our house look like a toy shop. I know what my daughter likes, a packet of crayons and colouring book at the moment would be heaven for her!
I suspect that people who think you simply *must* shower your child with oodles of gifts would do better to spend less cash and give them more of their time.

Vixanne said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with giving just 3 gifts. I totally agree with you about having to much "stuff" in the house. My daughter's birthday is the very end of November so we get birthday and Christmas all together. I wish I were able to do the same as you, but I always fall into the trap of feeling that it's not enough, especially when everyone else around us gives her several (4+) presents each. I'm really going to try and be sticter with myself this year. We have a new baby due in October so we're going to be even shorter on space (and my daughter will have a something far more interesting to occupy her!)

Dolly Cool Clare said...

I think your present list is perfect. I was not spoilt as a child (often getting 2nd hand toys, bikes my dad got off the tip etc!)but I didnt care at all - and in this super consumer society where everybody has everything they could ever want, and more, surely its being responsible and teaching your child good ways for the future.
I think the best present your can ever give a child is your time, and as I know you through craft group, and having seen you with Tara and Anya, I can tell they get a lot of your time,and are such happy little girls who want for nothing :)

Petit Filoux said...

i totally agree with you, it's not stingy at all. Spoiling kids doesn't do them any good, but usually just turns them into brats!

dropstitch said...

Less is more, I say. A handful of thoughtful presents will lead to a well adjusted grown up one day :)

CurlyPops said...

That's such a great question! I'm not a mum, but I do believe that most kids are way over-indulged these days. My solution is to only give handmade to family and friends kids (they get enough plastic rubbish without me traipsing to the shops and wasting my money).
I think back to when I was a kid. I only ever received one gift per birthday from my parents and I was happy with that, as it was the normal thing in our house.
If you did want to add to the pressie without adding to the stuff, how about making her a voucher for a family day out in the park with a picnic, or a family visit to her favourite place?

Karen Jinks said...

firstly this other mum should be minding her own business. secondly we buy our kids very few things because all the other stuff they get usually ends up sitting in their room untouched and is a complete waste of money. Good parenting is not about how much you can spend on them but showing them to appreciate the things they have - my two were at their happiest with a cardboard box and a bit of glue and glitter at that age. You're doing a fine job Lynsey, you should be very proud of yourself!

jennyflower said...

Anna will be four a week Saturday and we have bought her a yacht and a pedigree puppy- not really- for goodness sake- she will be getting three presents from us, and Will will make her one. Sometimes Will gets a Lego set between us and two other relatives, hopefully they understand the value of gifts, they certainly don't spend all their time nagging for presents. xx

june at noon said...

I will confess, I tend to go overboard. I have learned that gift-giving is one of my "love languages," and it's hard for me not to get excited about giving great gifts--to everybody, not just my kids.

That being said, I don't think you're being stingy at all, and even I have tried to cut back a little this year. Our kids get so much stuff from everyone else, just like you said, and we have way more than we need.

This year my girl still got a good bit of stuff from me, but all but one thing was something I'd made for her, and that makes me feel a little better. :) We also try to be good about cleaning out unused things and passing them on to someone who could use them better.

I definitely think kids get way too much stuff, but I also think the whole number thing is really up to the individual, and it's more about their heart intentions than the amount, if that makes sense. :)

chidori said...

It's sometimes difficult when you only have a child or two to curb your impulses when it comes to gifts. As my son has gotten older, we have given him fewer gifts, but the gifts have also been less likely to fall out of his favor with the passage of time. A few of the things he has gotten and continues to use are a microscope, a skateboard, and a football.

We've asked family members to limit the gifts, but my son is only one of two grandchildren, so his grandparents do spoil him. I think we spoil him with books, but it's hard to say no to something so worthwhile and which he enjoys immensely.

I think you're very reasonable, and even I would love to have a new jumprope and cardigan!

Nic said...

No, definitly not being stingy. I am also labelled stingy at birthdays and Christmas with school mums but they can whistle, I'm not buying my children with presents that they will never play with. We have lots of friends and family who buy for J and L so they end up with loads of 'stuff' that they don't always play with.
This year I have asked for money for their birthdays so that we can take them to London for a few days sightseeing and going to see 'The Lion King' because they both really want to go. We had a chat and they both said they would rather that than random toys but I know certain people won't be able to resist buying 'stuff' as well as giving money and completely miss the point!

twiggypeasticks said...

Some parents confuse giving gifts with giving time, which I think is the most important thing you can give your children. You do this in spades Lynsey. I know people who throw money at their kids then the nanny collects them from school and grandparents have their children when they go on holiday - what's the point!!
We bought Twiglet my first scalextric for his birthday which was £35 he loves it. His grandparents and aunties spoil him so we didn't want to add to the pile. We used Tesco vouchers to pay for a day at Thomasland instead of a party and he said he had the best birthday ever :)
Twiggy x
PS You've made me want a skipping rope now !!

Anonymous said...

My son is four, and we actually don't buy him gifts at Christmas and for his birthday. Not that we're Adventist, or anything, but so far, we regard taking him to see his grandparents a thousand miles away as his gift from us. And then he gets spoiled rotten by his relatives when we get there. So far, he hasn't really noticed.

Actually, that's not exactly true. We get "car trip gifts." To make the ridiculously long drive more bearable, he gets to unwrap an item for every hour of driving. Some of these are actually toys he already had but hasn't played with in a while, most are little $1 toys (Matchbook cars, perfect for this!), and sometimes there is one "premium" present. I don't think the big present has ever been more than $10.

~~**sKySiE**~~ said...

We normally give a couple of gifts to my son for his birthday ( he just turned 3) normally something he is really into - so he is over the moon, plus he will get gifts from my brother and my parents..

Not only that he gets things all year round, off us, my brother and my parents.

So i dont think your being stingy, we never got massive amounts of presents on our birthdays or at christmas time, so we cherished the toys/goodies and looked after them.

Tip Top said...

Err - I think you are totally right!! I try and limit the number of stuff we get the boys but it usually runs to more as I buy undies and socks. But 3 is fine as she'll be getting family and friends pressies too!!

Michelle said...

I think you have the right idea and wish all parents followed your lead. I love your outlook on life with thrifting and crafting too - you just rock!! :oD If kids get loads of presents, they tend not to appreciate them as much (well I think so anyway) and they usually end up in the back of the cupboard. I believe it's the day that's important and celebrating it by having fun with friends and family is what really counts. The gifts are just added extras :o)

Hope you all have a great day!! :o) xx