You Should Not Feel Bad If Your Kids Hate Their Christmas Presents

Dec 19, 2017

When the holidays roll around, it might be a nice time to take a trip. Unless it is a guilt trip that is. And if you have kids, chances are at some point or another, they have tried to take you on a major guilt trip around the world with their utter disdain for the gifts you have presented to them.

Sure, you might be tempted to dash off to the mall and buy that doll she wanted or yet another LEGO set you will wind up stepping on the pieces of in your dark hallway in the middle of the night, but don’t. You should not feel guilty. Not one bit. Here is why.

You do not have to give your kids everything they want

You do not even have to give them anything that they want either. Gift giving is about choosing something that the recipient will use or enjoy. Whether you choose them new outfits for school, a fun new toy or game, or give them an experience, you may think you have chosen well until that pout comes out. Do not give in to it.

Kids need to know disappointment. They also need to know they can’t always get what they want. I always sang that famed song by The Rolling Stones to my eldest and now she knows that if she tries to complain about something she did not get, what she is going to get is my terrible singing instead.

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Life is full of disappointments

The earlier your kids learn this, the better off they will be. Christmas and any other gift-giving occasion should not be a gimme, gimme, gimme opportunity. It should be about sharing the joy of the time together.

Sure, presents are fun but they are not the only fun thing about the holidays. If your kids continually act like presents are the be-all, end-all, then start building in some more traditions like cookie decorating or singing together (may I suggest The Rolling Stones?) so that they will not just focus on the presents and will instead focus on the present.

Do not even think about going bigger and better either

So now she’s holed up in the bathroom sobbing about how horrible her life is because you bought her a ton of gifts but she wants more or she wants something that you have decided was out of the budget. If you keep buying more and more and doing things bigger and better, then you are just setting yourself up for this kind of fail.

But teach them it is okay to not like a gift

This is especially important when it comes to gifts from other relatives. When the grandparents give a gift like socks, mittens or sweaters, about 90% of children are less than enthused. However, our kids need to know that their feelings are okay. They do not have to like the gift BUT they do need to know how to graciously accept it.

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So if your kids hate all their Christmas gifts, it is not the end of the world. Let them sulk and cry it out if need be. Then fine-tune your gift-giving so you are not trying to outdo yourself every time and try to keep a straight face when the sulking begins.

You can even take steps to prevent it next year by taking them to volunteer at a place where less fortunate people are delighted to get the things they receive. Kids always get the message loud and clear when you gently remind them just how lucky they are.