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Putting a Stop to Holiday Greed in Children


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Problem: Too Many Gifts from Too Many People
Too many gifts can lead to a holiday meltdown.

Too many gifts can lead to a holiday meltdown.

Ask a child and the notion of too many gifts just doesn't seem possible. It's something I'm completely guilty of myself. I love shopping for kids. The clothes are adorable, the toys awesome -- it's just so hard to resist! But we must. Because I don't know how it is in you house, but in mine, the kids get presents from Santa, from their grandparents, from their aunts and uncles, from their great-grandparents, from their friends, from our friends, from our neighbors -- needless to say it's a lot.

And while too many gifts can certainly cause a logistics problem (where are you going to put them?), there can be some emotional issues as well. Because if every year your child gets a pile of colorful packages that rivals the size of the house, they will come to expect it -- and be ungrateful for what they do receive if they don't. They'll start to judge people by what sorts of gifts they give -- how big and how much.

As someone who has been on the receiving end of a temper tantrum caused by a child who was just completely overwhelmed by dozens of presents, you quickly realize that less is more. And while it's easy enough for you to cut down, how do you convince everyone else in your child's life?

Ask. Talk to relatives and friends about past holiday seasons and explain how you think the gift situation is getting to be a bit over-the-top. Maybe they could each buy one gift for your child, or give a gift in another way -- a trip to the movies or a special day at a museum. This is an area where there is room for compromise for sure. Try to come to an agreement where everyone involved is happy.

If you are still expecting a truckload, you may want to consider doing some cleaning out ahead of time -- donating items that are sill in good condition to your local church or daycare, or even organizing a toy exchange or swap -- you'll get to get rid of unwanted stuff while doing some inexpensive shopping of your own.

And of course, remember, when the holidays are over, make sure your child writes thank-you notes (with help from you of course).

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