I read a news story today that said half of Americans fear they can't afford Christmas. That's sad and unfortunate. We are still living in tough economic times, despite reports of stellar Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. But on the other hand, the top gift requested by children aged 6 to 12 is an iPad. Maybe I'm being old-fashioned, but I also find that sad and unfortunate.
|Let's be clear: This is MY toy|
Why would the Peanut, or any child who is not at least in high school, need an iPad of their own? Peanut has a folder full of apps, games, and books on mine. She plays with it regularly. However, she knows it's MINE. She ASKS to play with it every time. In fact, she even asks, "Daddy may I play with YOUR iPad?" This teaches her sharing, cooperation, responsibility, and respect. Very important lessons for any child, especially an only child.
A childless friend of mine scoffed at my anger over this issue. He says this is the age we live in. He's right. We live in an age of entitlement where children expect $600 Apple products under the tree on Christmas morning because they have parents who can't say no, or because one of their classmates has one. This reminds me of the people I ranted about recently who spend tens of thousands of dollars on boutique daycares for their toddlers then complain about it. (You can read that rant here.)
At the risk of turning this into a "true meaning of Christmas" post, how about we just start by lowering expectations? How about we stop handing kids toy store magazines and asking them to tell us what they want, then being surprised when they bookmark everything on every page? How about we try thinking of what our kids might like, shopping for them, and teaching them to appreciate what they get?
Last time I checked, Santa only comes to your house and leaves you presents if you're nice. Expecting, demanding, and coveting isn't nice.
|Peanut got this tent one year,|
even though she didn't ask for it.
Half of Americans say they can't afford Christmas. And while I'm sure a lot of them are really struggling in what is still a down economy, I wonder how many are setting the bar too high. Or trying to keep the bar high.
My wife and I keep saying we haven't thought of a signature gift for the Peanut yet. You know, "the big one." But why do we need a big gift? We budget. We save. We spend what we want on whom we choose.
And on Christmas morning, I am sure the Peanut is going to be excited to see whatever she gets. No matter how big the box, or which logo is on it. She'd better.