|the kiddos 'n me|
I was driving to work yesterday and while flipping through the radio stations, caught the middle of a conversation I maybe should not have finished listening to. Granted, I am not 100% on everything that was said prior to my stopping on that station, but this is what I gathered:
1. The issue was between sisters.
2. Sister 1 was unemployed.
3. Sister 2 has children (plural, although the exact number was not given)
4. Sister 2 told Sister 1 she MUST buy her children Christmas gifts.
Granted, the idea of the children feeling entitled in this situation is completely assumed; however, if Sister 2 is demanding her unemployed sister to BUY gifts for all of her children, it almost seems as if it is because both she and her children are expecting it - or if anything, Sister 2 is teaching her children to expect it.
Sister 1 was upset that she didn't have the money to do it and was looking for advise.
Obviously - my "go to" answer would be to tell Sister 2 to go stuff it where the sun doesn't shine. Unemployed or not, its my money. If the kids are brats, good luck getting something from me. Of course, if they truly are good children and you care for them, then Sister 1 could either make something for each, give them each $5 in a card, make them cookies, buy something from the Dollar Store, or even just watch for great sales at big stores and buy smart.
OK - problem solved, right?
One of the callers was practically siding with Sister 2 saying there was an obligation to buy these children gifts, and the Dollar Store isn't a good option because the kids in her family would feel like they were junky presents because they aren't like everyone else's - they weren't name brand toys/items. That an item for a kid really isn't good unless the kid knows you spent money on it. In fact, she named 50$ as the acceptable price limit.
When did children (obviously not ALL kids) get this sense of the value of an item equates the value of love and appreciation?
What happened to just being happy that you got something from someone? It doesn't seem like it was that way when I was a kid - my family was very poor and what we got we genuinely appreciated. One of the best Christmases I remember was one where my brother and I went out and found the absolute best (in our minds) tree and the few presents we did get were all hand made. Has this sense of "price=love" just appeared somewhere or has it always been this way, I was just too naive or blind to see it?
I am seeing this migration towards "hand made is best" as far as general merchandise in my city. I am assuming it is a national direction - such as I see teenagers wanting to learn to knit and crochet, more and more people are taking sewing classes - I'd have to say that scrapbooking is at an all time high.... so why wouldn't this translate into the holidays?
A handmade scarf for a 60 year old aunt but an xbox for Billy, age 8? How does this make sense?
I would like to say that I am raising my children differently. Sometimes, I admit, I second guess their opinions on what they feel they are entitled too as far as gifts and money; however, they actually are not that bad - especially when stacked up against people like Sister 2. My children actually get a bit bummed out if they forget a quarter or a dollar when we go to a store with a Salvation Army Bell Ringer. Every year, provided we can afford it, we select a child or two from the giving tree and make sure to buy them gifts first. My children enjoy buying for other kids they know are less fortunate. I cannot complain that my children are not compassionate, giving children.
|Plum doing some beading|
Growing up and into my adult years, until some of my aunt's moved away from the area, our family had a tradition of everyone drawing someone's name and making them a gift. You could buy a gift for anyone, including the name of the person you drew, but that person would definitely get a good handmade gift from you (unless Uncle Doug got your name, then expect something completely hilarious and possibly rude & offensive HA! I loved Uncle Doug's gifts... when other people got them). We had a large family and it was a way to keep the holiday season humble. We were, in fact, there to celebrate the birth of our Lord Savior Jesus Christ - the gifts were just a way to remember to keep it simple and show those you love how much you love them with taking your time to really think about them and craft for them.
So this year, I had an opportunity to take this tradition into our small, immediate family. The four of us put our names on a slip of paper and we each drew a name.
I didn't think the children would be as excited as they were, but WOW - they are really into this hand made gift giving. Everyone is sneaking around to get their supplies - I know my daughter is done with her gift. The Man is working on his gift. I am working on mine and my son has asked me for help to craft his. The thought and enjoyment going into this activity is going to turn it into a true holiday tradition for our family. And I love it.
So... if you have made it this far, Reader, thank you - and I hope you have put some thought into the status of our world. What do you think? Do you think this is a newer phenomenon of feelings of entitlement or was I really just that blind to what others were doing because I enjoyed our "homemade holiday" so much? What do you do in your households as traditions to keep the holiday season humble and focused?
And even if you don't have any answers to the questions - I do thank you for reading.