Back in the days when a typical family had anywhere between 5 to 7 children, the discussion what toys a child would receive for Christmas wasn't even an issue, because quite simply, there wasn't enough money to worry about such things. If each child received a gift, they considered themselves pretty darn lucky. The emphasis was on the meaning and tradition, so when it comes to gift ideas Christmas was more important than the presents.
These days, the size of most families has diminished noticeably. If a family has one or two children that's considered a "normal sized family". But with fewer children comes more disposable income. And that often means more toys for Christmas. Not always, but certainly there is more income to spend on Christmas gifts when there is only one child, than if there were five or six.
Now is this a good thing? What is the effect of all these toys on the child? And more important perhaps, what effect does all this exaggerated gift-giving of toys have on the more profound meanings of Christmas? There are plenty of parents who are going "retro" and feel when it comes to gift ideas Christmas is more important than the presents.
It's easy to feel that a young child can't fully appreciate the meanings of Christmas, nor has to at such an early age. But who's to say they can't learn the gift of giving has to do with "giving' and not the gift? Most psychologists agree that the type and size of the gift muddles the actual act. And the toys given to a child creates a precedence that is hard to break in subsequent years. That's why for many parents, when it comes to gift ideas Christmas is becoming more important than the actual gift.
For example, say one year the gifts a children find in their Christmas bags includes a state-of-the-art video game system. The next year, their Christmas bags only contain a pair of shoes. The natural response? The child wants to know what they "only" got such and such a gift, when in fact last year they received something much more impressive. Of course the flip side is that because they received a state-of-the-art video game system one year, the next year the search is on for the parents to find something even more impressive.
In terms of toys for Christmas, it's obvious that children are influenced by their friends and what they see on television. Books and dolls have given way to video games and computers. Colored pencils, water colors and paper have been replaced by digital cameras and cells phones. Naturally, mass media markets to lowest common denominator and that just happens to be children. And oh, don't worry about the price. The easy payment plan will allow you to absorb the cost in 12 easy installments. Many people are fed up with the commercial aspects of the holidays, and feel when it comes to gift ideas Christmas should be more important than the actual presents.
This is not a situation that involves only children. It includes adults as well but the stakes are a lot higher. Many times, adult toys for Christmas start out at the high end of finance automatically. Diamonds one year, bracelets the next. Gold silver, silver and pearls. And how often can all this be worn anyway? For many couples as well, when it comes to gift ideas Christmas as a tradition and a feeling is becoming more important than the presents involved.
Well it's easy to see that the habit of gift-giving and its associated meaning for children starts with the parents. The parents dictate the pace. They should create a Christmas list that prioritizes what the gifts should be and the price for each. It's not a secret that if at an early age the parents take the time to explain the importance of the gift instead of the actual gift, the child will learn to appreciate it more. A Christmas list is a sensible way to monitor spending and put a little more emphasis on the meaning of Christmas than on the presents. It's only normal that a child wants to dream and wish of all the great things he or she might receive on Christmas day. And that's normal. But parents can do well by tempering this enthusiasm with a little common sense that's grounded in reality.