Is There Such A Thing As Too Many Gifts?

Is there such a thing as too many gifts? As a child I would have laughed in your face and said no way, but as a parent I feel differently.

It surprises me a bit to feel like this, but I do. I think sometimes relatives go overboard with the gifts and my kids get more than they need. The children deserve the moon and I am frustrated because right now I simply can’t give them gifts as I would like to, but that doesn’t mean they go without.

They don’t.

They get and they receive and they give back so good things are happening.

In the grand scheme of things my concern about too many gifts is a good problem to have. It is far better than what we could face and I am grateful for that. I know from experience how things can go a different direction.

Maybe that is part of the issue. Maybe it is because this week I spoke the siblings of a friend we lost long ago. Maybe that is why I feel the weight.

Yet there is so much joy now too. When we lit the candles last night it was impossible not to smile and be excited. The look on their faces and the smiles that we saw were amazing.

Real hugs. They stopped fighting and worked together.

They are normal siblings. Don’t fight or argue more than any other set, but sometimes you forget.

All I want to do is raise kids who will grow up to be productive members of society and who understand there is more to life than gifts.


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  1. Lessons Of A Dad December 10, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Too many gifts? Maybe. That’s why I hit that I’d prefer my kids to receive gifts of educational and/or spiritual value. Board games are good too.

  2. Tim Bonner December 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Hey Jack

    My kids certainly get a lot more gifts than I ever did and while I can’t just blame that on the power of advertising, it does have a lot to do with it.

    To a certain extent, I think in the past giving more gifts was a consequence of my wife and I working long hours. Now I’m at home, giving gifts has certainly slackened off and we have so much more time to play with the kids, keeping their attention on one thing at a time.

    • Jack December 11, 2012 at 12:29 am

      Hi Tim,

      The kids are growing up in a different world than we did. I don’t intend for that to sound negative because different doesn’t have to be better or worse, just different.

      And it is fun to spoil them, it just gets a bit difficult because it is harder to keep them grounded and appreciative of what they have got.

      Yours are at a great age, so much fun. Of course I’ll tell you that every age is my favorite so… 😉

  3. Betsy Cross December 10, 2012 at 3:55 am

    My sister was a gift-giver. She made the holidays and birthdays fun for the kids and a nightmare for me and my husband We figured they were being spoiled. But in the end the only thing that was spoiled was my children’s relationship with Kathy. She gave to get love. She didn’t know how else to get it. And she trained my children to expect things from her. I loved that she was generous. Don’t get me wrong. She saved me in my lean years when we had so little to give. But it was so hard to see her sad when the kids didn’t reciprocate. She thought that that was how it was supposed to work. I believe it’s up to the giver to ask themselves how they want to be known. Balance gifts with playing and listening. Because when the well runs dry there will be disappointment whe expectations aren’t met.
    I love that commercial where the child walks into the gift-lade livingroom and a voice says, “Aghh! The power of cheese!” We’re all kids at heart and love to get lot in the magic that gifts bring.
    Double-edged sword sometimes.

    • Jack December 11, 2012 at 12:25 am

      Hi Betsy,

      I know the story you are telling because I see it happening in one branch of my family. There is a relative who showers the kids with gifts and when they come empty handed the children are disappointed.

      Their parents have spoken with them about being more gracious, but kids aren’t always known for their poker faces.

      But I have to say there is a distinction between generosity and trying to buy affection. It sounds like Kathy was generous and that is a wonderful quality.

  4. Gina December 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    I struggle with the holidays because of all the gifts and the money we spend, everyone spends. They have enough and too much. The important thing is the last line. Contributing and happy and kind.

  5. Anna Hettick December 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I too wonder if my kids get too many gifts. We are able to give them a lot and so are their grandparents and aunt/uncle. But still I just wonder sometimes if we should limit it a bit more. 🙂

    • Jack December 10, 2012 at 12:21 am

      It’s not always an easy thing to measure. I think we want to give our children anything and everything but trying to find the right amount is sometimes challenging.

  6. Kenya G. Johnson December 9, 2012 at 9:47 am

    With your last two lines, I think you probably already have a head start. Good job dad!

  7. Hajra December 9, 2012 at 8:57 am

    As an adult I feel there is nothing as too many gifts, maybe if and when I have kids I might change my mind and talk about not spoiling them and all things parent like! 🙂

    • Jack December 10, 2012 at 12:17 am

      I don’t mean to be of obnoxious, but it’s a whole different world once you become a parent.

      There is an ongoing battle to make sure the kids are raised properly call of the well worth fighting.

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