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What Are You Giving Your Child For Christmas?

Updated on November 17, 2013
The beach is always fun
The beach is always fun
Girl with cellphone
Girl with cellphone
Christmas parade
Christmas parade
Kids at Disney world
Kids at Disney world

What Your Child Really Wants

Is it the latest iphone or video game? How about a car for your son-just-turned-teenager? Don't get me wrong. Those gifts are fine, if your children do not already have a roomful of them. Not the car, of course. That's another story. Are you giving your children these things because you want to please them, or to keep up with the Joneses? Both? What would it cost you to provide these gifts? Increased credit card debt, longer hours at the office and less time spent with your kids as you struggle to pay off the debt?

Every year at Christmas time parents drive themselves ragged trying to give their children the latest fad advertised on television. Then on Christmas day, the kids lock themselves in their room while Mom and Dad recline in front of the television. Is that what family life is all about?

Maybe what your child really needs this year is more time spent with you. According to a new study by Kaiser Family Foundation, children ages 8 to 18 spend some seven and a half hours a day with some kind of electronic device. Throw in texting, listening to music, talking on the cellphone and surfing the internet and your child could very well be exposed to almost 11 hours of media content, most of which can be counter-productive to your child's physical, moral and educational development. The study found that heavy media use is associated with behavioral problems and poor grades, not to mention obesity.

Do Something Different This Year

This year why not give your child something different? Instead of another Xbox or ipad, why not take a Disney vacation? Shaking Mickey's hand -if he's a toddler - watching the Cinderella parade or sliding down water rapids - if he's a teen - is sure to provide family fun and guaranteed to make your child put away his cellphone.

If you live in Florida where the weather is comfortable at Christmas time you may still be able to take a swim in the ocean, go surfing, scuba diving or even fishing, if your kids are older. These activities are relaxing for you and fun for your kids.

On a budget and can't afford to go out of town? Then have a nice old-fashioned Christmas at home, baking cookies and trimming the tree together. Then sing Christmas carols, reenact your favorite Christmas story or play games together. Many towns have Christmas parades which are always a delight to every age group. My cousin who lives in New York started a tradition where she and her family bundle up on Christmas Eve night and go window shopping. She says the kids look forward to it every year.

Parents, you don't have to break the bank every Christmas trying to give your child things he/she will be bored with in a few days, or discard when the newer version comes out. What your children really want is parents who love them and show them that love by spending quality time with them. This year my son told me he is giving each of his children an iphone 5 because they all made straight As in school. They have never had a cellphone and I think it's good he should reward them this way, but I tell him just as I'm saying here, give them the gadgets if you can afford them, but do not let them take the place of spending time with your children and telling them how much you love them.

Cast your vote

How much do you plan to spend on gifts for your kids this year?

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    • quildon profile image

      Angela Joseph 4 years ago from Florida

      You're so right, Jo. There is a lot of competition among kids to see who gets the most expensive gifts, and they are hitting their parents where it hurts. I think if all -or most-parents put their wallets away and say "no", children, and retailers, will have to back off. Giving crafts is an excellent idea. I'm a craft person myself. Thanks for stopping by.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      This is so very true....some children now equates love with how much money their parents are prepared to spend on gifts, and the parents are obliged to match what their friends are spending, even when they are struggling to pay the bills.

      Wouldn't it be something, if the Christmas gifts we exchange had to be something the individual had taken time to create? :) there are so many craft pages right here on HP. We could start a trend by recreating some of hubbers like Kidscraft's work. However; something tells me the little darlings would not be impressed. Great up and more.

    • quildon profile image

      Angela Joseph 4 years ago from Florida

      Thanks, Dee. I love the idea of the picnic in front of the tree. If parents would think a little, they would come up with some really creative ideas to spend time with their children for the holidays.

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 4 years ago

      Voted up, useful, and awesome. I do wish families would step back and decide to create memories instead of spending lots of money on gifts their kids will tire of quickly. We try really hard to do that and the kids....enjoy their gifts, of course....but what they talk about are the things we do together. My parents did these things....I did with my children...and now the grandkids are enjoying. One of the things we do is 2 or 3 nights every week in December we have a picnic dinner in front of the tree...telling stories, playing games, etc.

      Oh, by the way, I would love to hold hands with Mickey. A Disney Cruise is a dream vacation of mine.....LOL

    • quildon profile image

      Angela Joseph 4 years ago from Florida

      @Faith Reaper thank you so much for your lovely comments. You are right, I found my children and now my grands love playing with the boxes more than toys. My grandson preferred pots and pans so he could make as much as noise as he liked.

      @savvydating, thanks for stopping by. Writing a book about your child is such a lovely gesture. I would cry too if my mom did that for me. Great comment!

    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 4 years ago

      Even my son likes to say, "It's all about the love." One year I didn't have much money, so I wrote a book about him with illustrations. He loved it. In fact, he cried. Later on we prepared our Christmas meal together, with all the fixings, including music in the background and candles on the table. I would have preferred to have given him the book and a whole bunch of presents, but to your point--I couldn't break the bank. You are right in saying that the most important thing to remember is to spend time with our families, whether it's Christmas, Thanksgiving, or just a regular Tuesday evening.

      Lovely article. Up, useful, beautiful.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Excellent points made here. My children are grown, yet I have the grands. I used to think my children needed all that stuff, and you know what they wound up playing with when they were really young ... the boxes! LOL There you go! Yes, time is the greatest gift of all for sure.

      I think we should all step back and really think on these things, as to what is most valuable in this life.

      Up and more and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper