Loving Your Children’s Gifts – Why It’s Important

Children that are excited about participating in gift giving occasions put their all in whatever they’ve picked out or made for you. Yeah some kids act like what they picked out is no big deal, but they stood in that aisle deciding what best represented you or at least represented something they really wanted and decided it’d be your gift.

The best example comes from Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gift ideas. Moms get homemade flowers, pictures, paper jewelry, chore tickets, and more. While Dad gets a tie, socks, pictures, crafts, and sometimes just a big hug. Most parents groan and gripe about their overused, not-that-great gifts they receive, but they smile for their child and accept it graciously. When your baby is an infant, toddler, pre-schooler and into elementary age, it’s important that they know how much you truly love what they’ve given you. Whether it’s for your birthday, Christmas, or some made-up holiday just because they wanted a reason to give you a gift. My husband’s little brother – there’s a fourteen-year age gap – is constantly making up “Brother’s Day” and giving out gifts to both of his brother’s and has now included me as his sister-in-law for the big day. This year’s gift consisted of one sea shell drink coaster. Admittedly, I almost purposefully left it on the dining table not to bring it home. It wasn’t until my husband picked it up for me reminding me that I had forgotten it that I realized I was falling into the funk early – too early.
Mid-school age kids is when it begins and when it’s the most impressionable. It’s something about kids hitting those double digits that changes the way gifts are perceived. No longer are they welcomed with great enthusiasm, but explicitly criticized and put away never to be thought of again. Trust me this is no method to get a child to appreciate receiving gifts or enjoy giving them. They won’t give more thought into the gifts that they are giving. They’ll begin to resent such times and won’t know how to accept gifts in the future. You think you’re brought them that perfect gift and it will never be good enough. For your gamer son you got him those lol accounts that he always talks about it – but is it enough?
Think about it. Time after time you’ve only heard negative things about the gifts you receive the magic slowly slips away and you’ve got an entire generation of people who constantly give awful gifts and never have a good word about gifts or anything really. It’s bitter, and it’s happening.
Parents have no problems gushing over the macaroni necklace they receive for their birthdays or the over-cooked Pop-Tart for their special breakfast in bed when the kids are smaller. As they grow and are on the heels of puberty and a social life they could never prepare for, parents want to hold them closer and keep them little forever. It’s a conflict with trying to prepare them for the harsh realities of the real world. There’s no real happy medium here and tough lessons are learned.

FAKE YOUR LOVE FOR EVERY GIFT!

Tweens that hear too often that what they gave you wasn’t thoughtful, what you wanted, or just plain awful will give you a half-smile with hesitation and go about their day or become defensive. You’re modelling negative behaviors and establishing a prime that they won’t be able to shake. Here’s what will happen:

  • They’ll be adults that hate surprises
  • No gift will be exactly what they wanted – even if it’s exactly what they wanted
  • Thoughtful gifts won’t be well received if they don’t like them
  • They’ll spend a significant amount of time talking about and practicing a fake appreciation when it comes to Christmas and birthdays
Now, here is the one thing that makes my skin crawl when you’ve given someone a gift, even now. I’ve spent years trying to re-love gifts and surprises, but this giftee faux pas is unacceptable.
ALWAYS OPEN YOUR GIFTS!
I think back to a few years ago. My husband gave his parents, who love watching television shows and movies, a DVD box-set of their favorite shows gift basket with candy and popcorn. He took the time to deliver a great presentation, and they seemed excited when they received the gift. But, the gift basket sat in their laundry room for the longest time unopened, untouched for the next year or so.
Sure you can do whatever you want with your gifts, but when you’re going to leave it untouched don’t let that be in your laundry room that is open to the entry hallway to your home. It will be seen. It can hurt even adult children and makes you wish you wouldn’t have spent that much money.
If I remember correctly, my husband took one of the box-sets out of the basket one day so that we could watch it. Coincidentally, it was one of our favorite shows too. They never mentioned it or even realized that we’d borrowed it.
Bite your tongue Mom and Dad. You’ll be wearing ugly, ill-fitting jewelry that is nothing like the watches you had in mind from this site, clothing that was knitted by a color blind grandma, ties, and socks, while proudly displaying some of the most awful artwork and crafts you’ve even seen. You might prefer getting something like these wine gifts, but you should be happy with the present you get instead. Do it with pride and admiration that the little person you created took his or her time to make that just for you. They’re proud of it and proud to have you as a parent. You’re their biggest fan. Remind them of that. They’ll be better people because of it one day.
Just for fun! What’s the worst gift your child has even given you?
Leave a comment below so we can laugh and warm each other’s hearts.

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