Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How To Teach Your Kids Not To Be Materialistic Assholes This Christmas

It happened despite my vigilant attempts to hunt down and eradicate the blasted thing.

My three-year-old found a copy of the (insert expletive/adjective of choice) Target Christmas catalog.

And then he turned into Veruca Salt.


“Well, we'll see what … “

“AND THIS! THIS, TOO! I need ALL of these things!”

Don't care how, I want it NOWWWWWW!
It wasn't his response that bothered me, exactly. I mean, he's a kid. Kids love stuff (especially if that stuff is ridiculously expensive and prone to breakage).


It's my job as his parent to teach him stuff doesn't equal happiness, that the best things in life aren't things. I'm supposed to teach him it's the giving, not the getting, that really matters.

And boy, was I FREAKING OUT about it. Seriously, HOW do I do that? This world is obsessed with stuff. Every time I turn around, someone somewhere is trying to get me to buy something.

After much fretting and the consumption of several hundred jelly beans, I came up with an action plan. And in the spirit of the season, I thought I would share it (just in case your house was also assaulted by Target. And Toys'R'Us. And Walmart. And every other major retailer ever).

1. Don't BE a materialistic asshole.

I love stuff. I love getting it and giving it. But there is no magic number of Vuittons or Louboutins or Corvettes or Harleys or giant TVs or whatever that will make you happy. I've learned this ... kind of. And I'm trying (probably failing) to model this for my kids. Hopefully it will help them avoid the hamster wheel of consumerism.

(Then they'll only need therapy for the 700 other things I'm doing wrong.)

2. Set limits.

I've been using this rule to make my gift list - something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.

(source - Pinterest)

The hard part? Actually thinking about what they'll really love instead of just going down the Amazon list of best selling junk and picking a few things. 

Which leads us to ...

3. Give gifts with meaning.

We've all seen it. The kid tears into the wrapping paper, looks at the present for approximately three seconds, then throws it over their shoulder and demands the next one. Do you think they really care about it? 

Nope. In fact, whatever it is will probably be collecting dust in the bottom of a closet in approximately three weeks.

Instead of buying a bunch of random junk, try to put some thought into your gift-giving. I mean, that's kinda the point anyway, right?

(And if you've wracked your brain and are still coming up blank, give them a whole bunch of empty cardboard boxes. You'll be Parent of the Year.)

4. Refocus.

Christmas is not about presents. Thanksgiving … well actually, yes, Thanksgiving is just about stuffing your face until you literally can't move. #kidding

It's about the “reason for the season”. Family. Friends. Fellowship. Instead of buying “one more thing” to put under the tree, do something together as a family. See a ballet. Go to a museum. Sled. Ice skate. Have a game night. If you live somewhere warm (Ihateyourightnow), go to the beach.

Or just sit down at the dinner table. At the same time. Without screens in front of your faces.

You know, like they used to do in the olden days of 1999.

5. Do something for others.

If you're reading this right now, you're better off than most of the other people on this planet. Find a way to give it back and get your kids involved in the process.

One of my favorite resources for this is Kindness Elves. We started the tradition last year and it is SO GREAT.

G discovering the elves last year.

One of the Kindness Elves "challenges" is to have your kids choose some of their toys to donate (not just the broken ones *ahem*). Another is to go visit an elderly relative or friend who lives alone. Another is to bake something yummy for someone.

Basically, just do something besides camp out in front of Best Buy for 22 days. BECAUSE SERIOUSLY.

To recap (yeah, okay, only because I wanted to make an infographic-type thingy):

Don't raise materialistic assholes. The world has enough of those. Make this season mean something.

There's a 100 percent money back guarantee you'll be glad you did.

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