Why We Don't Buy Our Children Gifts

Why We Don't Buy Our Children Gifts

Gary and I don't buy each other gifts anymore - and that has translated to our parenting style with our three sons. Parents, to help take some pressure off of you, I thought I'd share our approach to gift giving - and why we don't buy our children gifts anymore.
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A month or so back, I posted a story on Instagram mentioning that Gary and I don’t give our kids gifts anymore - and I wasn’t totally surprised when it sort of blew up in a discussion online. I’ve shared enough of my life to know that there’s usually some (a lot) of opinions when it comes to our relationship and lives as parents! That's actually part of why I like sharing this kind of thing - so you and I can connect on it and I can share why we do certain things as partners and parents. 

Cut to this past weekend at our oldest son Jake’s ninth birthday party. We didn’t go crazy with wild gifts, food or anything. We had a low-key picnic outside for his friends with a bouncy castle. Parents, let me tell you, it made no difference to the kids that it wasn't this massive themed birthday party with presents. They had fun because they were together - there’s no need for this big impressive traditional kid’s birthday party every single year. I thought I’d write down and share our philosophy (if you want to call it that); it's really just our opinion on gift giving for your children and what makes sense for ours. Hopefully this takes some pressure off of the expectations you have for your own approach to birthdays!

 

Okay time for some background; Gary and I don’t give gifts to each other anymore. “Gift giving” isn’t either one of our love languages, and it feels unnecessary. The idea of Gary giving me a gift now just feels a bit orchestrated, and when it comes to birthdays or anniversaries, it feels like a checkmark we have to complete.

We didn’t just wake up and decide this one day - it happened naturally. Gary is a generous person by nature, and earlier in our relationship, he used to shower me with gifts because that’s just what he thought I needed and what I expected of him. Personally, I’ve learned that I’m not a material person. I know, I work in fashion and that has to be, in some capacity, materialistic in itself. But in my personal life I don’t place value on objects. The gifts he was giving me were lovely but they lacked true meaning for both of us. I prefer buying things for myself, and when it comes to our marriage, I choose quality time, experiences, and memorable moments rover an item that just sits on a shelf. 

So fast forward to having three sons. When it comes to gifts, honestly they just do not care. Maybe they’ve learned this from us, but they don’t care for it. On Ben’s last birthday, we did another picnic-style event here in Miami and a ton of people showed up and gave him presents (because that’s usually expected at a kid’s birthday party), and literally every gift sat wrapped, in a room, for months. We had to tell him to “go open something!” Our children just are not into that type of thing. They, like us, prefer an activity or adventure. 


Specifically, our boys are into things that mimic adulthood. Like if Gary and I are getting ready for grown-up dinners and they see us getting dressed up, they want to come with us. So we create “gifts” in the form of quality time and outings to look forward to. Like after their jiu-jitsu classes, Gary takes them for pizza, and they look forward to it for days. The gift to them is going to a restaurant, ordering food, asking the server questions, being allowed to take the credit card and pay with it - that kind of thing. 

 

So all this to say, if your kids love presents - obviously that’s fun and great. But if you feel pressure to spend money every year on their birthday, and are constantly feeling like you can’t do everything perfectly and get the right gift - take that pressure off yourself. In my experience, kids are excited about what you put excitement and adrenaline into. An outdoor picnic with friends, an experience, a pizza night - your kids will find it exciting if you do! 


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5 comments

Keera Henderson

I love this! I feel too often everything is overdone, has to be out done the following year etc. too much emphasis on material things in today’s society. This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

I love this! I feel too often everything is overdone, has to be out done the following year etc. too much emphasis on material things in today’s society. This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

Franceska Barton

I totally get this… Gifting is a nice gesture, but it can easily become meaningless when it’s overdone. For example, I’ve noticed since I moved to the USA how people have all this excuses to gift kids unnecessary things for holidays like Easter, Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s day and Christmas… This almost makes the holidays just kind of meaningless if everything is about buying and gifting instead of spending quality time together.

I totally get this… Gifting is a nice gesture, but it can easily become meaningless when it’s overdone. For example, I’ve noticed since I moved to the USA how people have all this excuses to gift kids unnecessary things for holidays like Easter, Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s day and Christmas… This almost makes the holidays just kind of meaningless if everything is about buying and gifting instead of spending quality time together.

Raffay Shifa

I totally agree with this such a beautiful thing and m also gonna start this
Love u Valeria you are so amazing n wise person very positive
Stay blessed always
Regards
Shifa Raffay

I totally agree with this such a beautiful thing and m also gonna start this
Love u Valeria you are so amazing n wise person very positive
Stay blessed always
Regards
Shifa Raffay

ykaiser

I love how you’ve not ‘imposed’ your choice on anyone. Yes birthdays have absolutely (much like weddings’ have become an expectation. Parents spend too much money on big themed parties and honestly sometimes it ends up being more for them than the kids. If your kids value outdoor experiences or any experiences in general then definitely prefer that! Also, even if you’re gifting someone, gifting an experience (like a ticket to somewhere or an activity voucher) would be tons better and memorable for all. But well to each their own I guess. Good article!

I love how you’ve not ‘imposed’ your choice on anyone. Yes birthdays have absolutely (much like weddings’ have become an expectation. Parents spend too much money on big themed parties and honestly sometimes it ends up being more for them than the kids. If your kids value outdoor experiences or any experiences in general then definitely prefer that! Also, even if you’re gifting someone, gifting an experience (like a ticket to somewhere or an activity voucher) would be tons better and memorable for all. But well to each their own I guess. Good article!

Katey Teekasingh

I love this so much!! What I get from this is your children are growing to appreciate spending time with others and making memories. The gift isn’t a a physical object but it’s the ability to connect, experience and build relationships with those around them that they love. It sounds like you all appreciate navigating the journey of life together rather than the items along the way. I don’t think it’s bad to like or want nice things or materialistic items, but I do agree there is a lot of value in learning to appreciate the bond you build with those you love and I think it teaches them to build that within themselves as well. Showing someone you love and value them doesn’t have to have a price tag on it or be attached to an item and this is a message I got reading this! Thank you for sharing!

I love this so much!! What I get from this is your children are growing to appreciate spending time with others and making memories. The gift isn’t a a physical object but it’s the ability to connect, experience and build relationships with those around them that they love. It sounds like you all appreciate navigating the journey of life together rather than the items along the way. I don’t think it’s bad to like or want nice things or materialistic items, but I do agree there is a lot of value in learning to appreciate the bond you build with those you love and I think it teaches them to build that within themselves as well. Showing someone you love and value them doesn’t have to have a price tag on it or be attached to an item and this is a message I got reading this! Thank you for sharing!

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