|Presents bought and waiting for my |
kids' birthday in the next few days
The person I had called to discuss it with (who I know who reads my blog- if he/she wants to out him/herself, he/she can) was saying they don't give birthday gifts in their families-"What's the point," he/she says? "If someone needs something, we buy it for them, if we don't need it, we don't buy it."
"What about toys for the kids, where do you get them stuff?"
"I get them things from swaps and go to as many as I can."
"So you swap gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc... between spouses, but not for your kids?"
"Nope, we don't swap gifts between spouses either. Again, if we need something, we buy it, but don't buy things 'just because'."
"So you do nothing to celebrate your kids' birthdays?"
"We have the required party in pre-school, and then last year, since my kids' birthday and their friend's birthday are around the same time, we made a party- invited a few more kids over to our house, and made pita pizzas together."
"Don't you want to make your kids feel special on their birthday?"
"The pita pizza party makes them feel special."
I was a bit mind blown.
We definitely do gifts in our family. Quality gifts that won't break after a second, but will be useful for a long time (our favorite gifts are knock off Lego sets). This is in addition to the birthday bashes I make for them- very cheap, everything homemade, but still fun.
We usually don't do second hand as gifts, because my kids aren't as excited by second hand things (part of the fun is their opening the package); we do second hand things or made from scratch when they need things, but not as gifts. And we do gifts for birthdays, holidays, etc... in addition to using them for rewards for when my kids do things that are hard for them.
When our kids start asking for something, bugging us that they want something, we may say no, or we may say "maybe we'll get that for your birthday" and if they ask for more than one thing, we ask them "do you prefer this or this, since you can't have both"- we use it as a lesson to teach them the concept of waiting for things you want, prioritizing what's more important to them- since they cant have everything- about the concept of finite amounts of money and using money smartly ("we're not getting that since that costs x dollars, which is a lot of money, but maybe we can get this which costs y dollars since it is x-y cheaper"), but honestly, its also to show our kids that they're important to us, that we take their feelings seriously and don't brush off their desires, etc... So no, I don't think birthday gifts are a waste.
I will give my kids things they need for their birthday as well, as additional presents, if it will make them happy. Like homeschooling books that they like, I will give them for a birthday present, for example. But I do try to have some thing "fun" as a birthday present, and not just needs.
But probably one of the other reasons why I think birthday gifts are important is because we live a very frugal life style, and I don't want my children to resent it. I want my children to grow up and feel that they had everything they needed and some of what they wanted- that they weren't raised feeling deprived. And if that means spending 100 dollars a year on them in presents (altogether from birthdays, holidays, etc...), then it is worth it.
For the record, here's a list of things we've given our kids as presents in the past:
2) A riding toy
3) A scooter
4) A jumping ball
5) Numerous knock off lego sets
6) A zoo pass (requested as a joint gift from grandparents, actually)
All very much appreciated. All worthwhile investments.
P.S. This person's kids are still young- I wonder what his/her method will be when their kids are older.
What about you? Do you do birthday gifts? For your kids? For yourself and your spouse? Why or why not? What types of gifts do you generally do?