There are limits, or there should be. . .

@GardenGerty (100474)
United States
December 10, 2012 9:29am CST
I really like the limits or traditions my daughter and son in law are using with my grand children. The parents get them for Christmas: a toy or fun thing, a book, and an article of clothing. Same for their birthdays. They always talk about the meaning of each of those days. "Christmas is not about us getting lots of gifts, and Santa Claus, Christmas is about God loving us so much that He gave us the really big gift of Jesus." For their birthday, the same routine, except, "Your birthday is not about all the gifts people give you. We celebrate your birthday because we are so thankful that God gave you to us for a gift." I am sure those are not exact and perfect quotes, but that is the whole idea. Of course, if you are not Christian, you may not agree with either of those statements, but perhaps you do have limits and have reasons for having them. I think we would all benefit from being thankful for everything we have been given and knowing that people are thankful for us. I think we could all appreciate the gifts we have if we did not always get such an overwhelming number of them.
11 people like this
23 responses
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
10 Dec 12
SOunds nice to me altho We havent ever put it that way. We do try to teach grnd daughter that its Jesus birthday tat we are celibrating SHe dont seem to get excited un till the day then she cant wait to open presents and the family getting here for dinner . I really think she like the company the best and she always knows what she gets from me and thats clothes as Mommy and daddy cant afford a bunch of clothes at one time so I do it specially when I can get them on sale th etoys come from somewhere else an she still has ever one she ever got. and pulls some out that she got way back when to play with so we never know how to clean every thing out of there. And when she out grows things I take them up to my necies and newphews to share thru the kids younger than 8. NOw I got all the way off track I still think your kids have a great idea!
4 people like this
@GardenGerty (100474)
• United States
10 Dec 12
Really, you are right on track. Your grand daughter appreciates what she is given, and shows it by keeping all her toys. She also sees you share, when you pass down her outgrown clothing. It really does seem that having the family around is a real blessing for the holidays.
2 people like this
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
10 Dec 12
yup goo dto have family around!
3 people like this
• United States
10 Dec 12
That sounds like such a good idea! I admit-my parents did purchase more than that for Christmas each year, but what was funny was how my mother would go to the extra trouble to purchase the same number for the same value and create pretty similarly sized piles of gifts each year! I had just one daughter, and I admit, there were years that I spoiled her terribly. Add to that two sets of doting grandparents (she was my parents only grandchild), doting aunts and uncles and a great-grandmother and, well, you're starting to get the picture. My daughter was spoiled, but she also knew how difficult it was the year I was laid off with no warning and no severance-on December 1st, no less! She still did get some presents from me, but not nearly as much as she was used to. She understood the reasons why, and she dealt with it quite well. I think that it didn't bother her as much because she knew how I worked hard to find just the right gifts for her each year-and I do think that makes a difference. My ex buys her expensive gifts that he really can't afford-and then can't pay the rent on time. But he's the better 'Christian' than me (according to his rules). And as a result, she's come to rely on daddy to buy her a new iPod every six months, or a new digital camera. She's still using the same laptop 5 years later that I bought her for school-when it stopped working, I took it to the shop and had upgrades done so that it would work (he dad would have tossed it and bought another one). I purchased an iPhone 3Gs (when the 4 came out) after she demonstrated that she could handle having one and the phone her father got her kept breaking. I think that if I could do it again, I would, and quite differently. It IS hard to break the habit of overindulgence during the holidays, especially when it's what you're used to. Congratulations to your daughter and son-in-law for raising your grandchildren with good values!
3 people like this
• United States
10 Dec 12
I don't think my daughter ever really appreciated me. I was diagnosed with MS on her 5th birthday, and it tended to overshadow her birthday.I haven't heard from her in about 6 months, and that does make me quite sad. I constantly send her messages through email or Facebook, I try to send her cards but nothing back. I think her father has brain washed her, like he tried to do to me when we were first married.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (100474)
• United States
11 Dec 12
I am so sorry for that. She has no idea what she is missing.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Dec 12
I had forwarded the electronic notification of my uncle's passing to my daughter-she or someone with access to her email opened it, but I still haven't heard from her. I am quite sad that she hasn't contacted me-there has to be a really good reason; that's part of why I think her father brainwashed her. How terrible that adults use their children to hurt former spouses!
1 person likes this
@bostonphil (4402)
• United States
10 Dec 12
I like what your daughter and son-in-law are doing. It sounds to me like they are giving your grandchildren some strong and healthy values. I am not a Christian but I celebrate the spirit of the holiday. I do go to a non-secretarian open house on Xmas day. I am troubled by how most persons celebrate Xmas with the over indulgent holiday parties and the buy, buy, buy and spend, spend, spend. I wonder what Jesus would say or do if he came back to earth and saw how people celebrate his birthday. I do not think it would please him as a whole but I do think that he would like how your children and grandchildren celebrate the day of his birth.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (100474)
• United States
10 Dec 12
I know, so many people, religious or not, turn the time between Halloween and the New Years of Valentine's day as a time to overindulge in so many ways. It seems that goes across the board, many religions and practices forget that their holidays were originally Holy Days with deeper meanings than consumption.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (100474)
• United States
10 Dec 12
That should read New Years or Valentine's Day.
1 person likes this
@telmesh (1793)
10 Dec 12
I like the Thai idea of birthday treats when the person whose birthday it is buys their guests a present. It might be a Budhist thing I'm not sure but I sure do like being invited. It is a good idea to impose limits instead of trying to keep up with others ideas of must haves.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (100474)
• United States
10 Dec 12
I am not sure either. I know of adults who will do this when they have all the things they need, they give to others and I have even known of children to do this. In fact it is often the custom to make a gift bag to send home with each child. I also know of Native American customs that require gifting people who attend. I makes things much more fun in my opinion to have limits and appreciate what we have.
2 people like this
@telmesh (1793)
19 Dec 12
Oh Gerty what have you done. You've got me thinking now where did this start, it is now the done thing that at children's parties guests are sent home with a party gift bag, in fact they are sold in shops but some people buy the pretty bags and make them up themselves.
1 person likes this
@ANTIQUELADY (36488)
• United States
10 Dec 12
Loved your discusion, gg. I know we all forget the reson for the season at times & we shouldn't. I bet there are not many parents that do as well wtheir kids. I bet some children are never told it is the birthday of jesus. U are a good lady, gg & seems as if u have raised some good kids. I hope u & your family have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (100474)
• United States
10 Dec 12
Thanks for all the kind words. I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season. We all love our kids so much and it is easy to forget that buying stuff is not always love.
1 person likes this
@carmelanirel (20979)
• United States
10 Dec 12
I think that is why I like Hanukkah, my son only gets one gift a night and sometimes that gift is nothing more than a little 2.00 toy or now that he is older, some "health and beauty" items like a package of shower items of shampoo and soap. Of course he gets the bigger gift on the eighth day..:)
@GardenGerty (100474)
• United States
10 Dec 12
You also have eight days to celebrate the deeper meanings of the holiday and the miracle. My daughter appreciates her mother in law supplying them all with health and beauty aids like tooth paste and toothbrushes as stocking gifts. I always wanted to do "socks for their stockings". I am so pleased that my kids seem to not have a spirit of greed.
2 people like this
@dragon54u (31615)
• United States
10 Dec 12
It's really sad that such a wonderful holiday meant to spread love and goodwill has been reduced to a day of excess and greed. Your daughter and SIL do the same as I did when my kids were growing up. I had Santa come each year with one gift and they got one from me and their dad. Santa was the embodiment of compassion and generosity, a modern name for St. Nicholas and the kids knew that when I told them about Santa. Birthdays I expressed the same sentiment as your daughter and SIL and I still tell them that, that they are the greatest gifts I've ever received other than the love of God and the gift of Christ. I also baked a birthday cake each Christmas Eve that they helped decorate for Jesus and we sang Happy Birthday to Him. That helped combat the message of greed that they saw everywhere. I'm glad your grandchildren are getting an upbringing that gives them the gift of faith and love and shows them that material goods do not bring them real and lasting happiness.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (100474)
• United States
10 Dec 12
My kids birthdays were at Thanksgiving so we had big family celebrations and I think that helped take the focus off of me me me. They would always receive money gifts, and the one from Great Grandma, who was a librarian, was spent on a book. They also got to use part of their money to buy a gift for Toys for Tots. I really appreciate both of my kids, but my son is currently not married and has no children of his own.
2 people like this
@subhojit10 (7382)
• India
10 Dec 12
Thanks a ton for sharing this discussion. Yes u are definitely correct, limits should always be there and we should always stay within that limit. I am glad to know that children are being made aware about the importance of each other and it is not that we should be attached to any day materialistically. Each and every day has its importance and we have to realize and understand it and value them. We have to make our children understand such small things which have much high value. What say?
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (100474)
• United States
10 Dec 12
Yes, subhojit, each day is actually a gift to us, and we should have thankful hearts. The things and attitudes we develop in our young children go with them all of their life.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Dec 12
Hi, this is really phenomenal. Many of us do the Santa thing and Easter and so forth, but few of us do talk about the true meaning of Christmas for example. Too many of us focus on presents and fun and not so much on Jesus and traditions and miracles and the true meaning of Christmas or Easter or any other holiday or important time. Steve
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (100474)
• United States
10 Dec 12
HI, we have not seen you around in ages, are you doing okay? Yes, we forget what the meanings are around holidays. My daughter amazes me, and I am so proud of her. I really appreciate her husband as well.
1 person likes this
@katsmeow1213 (29047)
• United States
10 Dec 12
That's great! I think with things like that you need to start young. Unfortunately when my kids were young all I wanted to do was give them everything I never had.. now I'm having trouble keeping up with that and they expect a lot from me. I've sat my older 3 down and told them I can't do much for Christmas. My oldest looks at me and says "That's ok, I just want some clothes, like Hollister clothes".. which cost like $50 for a pair of jeans! My daughter said "That's ok, all I want is an iPod".. $200. My middle son only wants a couple guys to go with his Skylander game he just got for his birthday, and each of the guys are around $10 a piece.. so at least that is doable. He even said if he gets a few more guys, he'll give one that he has to his younger brother. So at least one of my kids is being understanding.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (100474)
• United States
11 Dec 12
Oh, I can see this happening so easily, and I am sorry that your kids are at that stage. I can understand you wanting to over do it when you were young. I wanted to, but had a good anchor to prevent it, my husband. As for the Hollister clothes, I know that they are the status item, but I always had a problem with the idea of advertizing for a company by wearing their name, and then paying out the backside for the privilege of doing so. I have heard of parents saying "Here, you have this much money for clothes, you can buy $50 jeans and get one pair or less expensive and get more things. My kid would have searched out what they wanted at the thrift shop. . . including name brand. I made my kids save their allowance to buy their own electronics. This must be very stressful for you.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Dec 12
My son is not opposed to used clothing and I do get him a lot of his name brand stuff at thrift stores and garage sales. I've also gone on Craigslist to see if I can find him some of the clothes he wants a bit cheaper.. but I'm sure that's what a lot of people are doing this time of year. I understand his feelings though. I grew up poor as well.. and had a terrible fashion sense. When I was his age I couldn't tell you what brands were popular, I just didn't know. I did all my back to school shopping at thrift stores and picked out the ugliest things, and ended up being picked on for it. My son oddly has a good sense of what's popular. When we were doing our back to school shopping he picked out a pair of green Nike sneakers, and he says everyone compliments him on them. I just think it's weird because he'll wear the green shoes with a blue shirt! LOL. My husband isn't much of an anchor.. he feels the same way I did. He grew up middle class, sort of, and remembers having great holidays, and wanted the same thing for our kids. And my kids don't get an allowance.. can't afford it. But we are working on trying to get the oldest a job. He'll be 16 in the spring.
1 person likes this
@chrystalia (1209)
• Tucson, Arizona
10 Dec 12
Those are excellent principals to teach any child, religious or not--they could be modified is someone wasn't religious. According to my kids, that was the biggest difference between their dad and I--he would max out the credit cards (since I would get stuck with half the bill, per the divorce agreement) and I would buy them each one or two things (because I believed in limits--AND I was broke). Last year I was looking at the infamous family Christmas videos--and there were huge piles of stuff from DAD everywhere, and 2 or 3 small things from me. I felt awful when I saw that, actually--but my boys told me not to. He seemed so petty to me--either he was trying to buy the kids, or trying to make me look bad, or both. I still wonder how I ever married such an idiot...nobody will tell me.
@GardenGerty (100474)
• United States
11 Dec 12
I have commented twice and got glitched both times. think I must have timed out on Yahoo. I think you loved him, and love does truly blind us to the faults of those we love, especially when it is a young or new love. I am glad your boys can see the difference. . . do they understand it as well? I think the aliens stole my son. He used to be a real spend thrift, before his first marriage and even after marriage he and his wife were just all over the place, and she still always appealed to all charities for gift baskets, etc. Now he is older, divorced, engaged and they are talking budgets and he is talking 401K and investing.Not only that, he puts his money where his mouth is. He still has expensive electronic tastes, but keeps them in check pretty well. Pays cash for stuff.
1 person likes this
• Tucson, Arizona
11 Dec 12
My older son is very financially irresponsible--he grew up with Dad. The younger son is very financially responsible--he grew up with me. Ryan (the older) is always saying he is going to get better, and he has asked me to help him manage his money more than once, but it never sticks. Dillon, the younger has never had an issue--bought his first car for cash, keeps 6 months expenses in the bank, never misses a bill, though now that he can't work and got booted out of the Army (long story, that) he is frantic because his savings are beginning to disappear--and he can't get the medical care he needs to get back to work. I don't know what's going to happen with him. Both of them know that people are more important than things, so to speak, and both of them know that holidays aren't about packages--but I think Dillon understands it more than Ryan does.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Dec 12
It is good for children to learn from an early age that life is not all about accumulating more and more "stuff." My boyfriend and I are more interested in quality of life than quantity of stuff accumulated. When we do have children, I plan for us to observe each holiday as a family and to do things to remind them of their Jewish identity. I am glad that there isn't the same pressure with the Jewish holidays to buy a bunch of stuff. I grew up Christian, so I know what that was like--especially with Christmas.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (100474)
• United States
11 Dec 12
I found Christmas, when spent with extended family, to be a big let down most of the time. Hopes were high, and everything my brother and I wanted, our cousin got. Mom always said to feel sorry for her because "she does not have a dad" as her parents divorced. I loved the things my dad's mom got, but I am sure my mom hated them. Looking back they were actually more child appropriate and educational than what I received on the other side. She gave us things that made noise and made messes and required movement. Not the fancy popular stuff, but rather things that drove my mother nuts.
1 person likes this
@celticeagle (118649)
• Boise, Idaho
11 Dec 12
I think that setting limits and having traditions are very important. I used to recieve alot of clothing and books for Christmas as well as toys. I am not christian and I don't necessarily agree with the statements you made but I do see where they are good to teach a child not to be selfish or self serving. Kids don't need to get a overwhelming number of gifts.
@GardenGerty (100474)
• United States
11 Dec 12
I think we all walk different paths, but sadly we seem in this modern world to make many of the same mistakes, regardless of our beliefs. We give more of the material, and less of the emotional and spiritual. We spend money, but we do not spend time in thinking about what we are giving.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Dec 12
I think that all parents should be doing the same thing. It seems almost obnoxious to see the little ones opening so many presents that they become exhausted in the process. I never got caught up into the commercialization of Christmas with my two and I am glad that they are not expecting more than I can easily provide for them. Families that go into debt to purchase things for the kids at Chrismas struggle for months to make the payments.
@GardenGerty (100474)
• United States
11 Dec 12
I had many friends that did this all the time, in all areas of their spending. I never had much to spend, so I do not get very careless. I think I can see the idea of being creful trickling down from early generations. I wish more people did think about the struggle to pay for that one big bash on Christmas. I rather like the idea of a gift a day like and advent calendar or even a Hannukah celebration. I think it helps savor the joy.
1 person likes this
@wolfie34 (26793)
• United Kingdom
10 Dec 12
I am a firm believer of it's not the price of the gift, it's the thought that has gone into choosing the gift, anyone can go out and splash hundreds of dollars on a gift, and yet it's the gifts that are hand-made that are unique, or even a smaller gift where the person has obviously thought about what you'd really like. The reason why I don't like Christmas as much is because it's all about Commercialism, the real true meaning of Christmas has been lost, so it's quite refreshing to hear that the true spirit of Christmas and what it stands for is alive.
@GardenGerty (100474)
• United States
11 Dec 12
Yes, I appreciate the well thought out gift so much. It means the person knows me, or wants to know me well enough to get that perfect gift.
1 person likes this
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
10 Dec 12
Mine never got an overbundance of gifts on either occasion really. The twins go to a private Christian school and so they already know the Christmas story in addition to what they have been told at home. Yesterday they cleaned out their toys and books that they have read and these doantions I will take to my Church a little later. They really were happy to be able to give and this pleased me. The same happens to clothes that they may outgrow too. Wonderful parenting skills displayed by your daughter and son in law. Truly wonderful.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (100474)
• United States
11 Dec 12
It is amazing how much young people enjoy giving. I wish it could always stay that way. I will say that both of my adult children have helping personalities. Part of the reason we buy so many things is the money and things purchased represent power in a way. Having enough things that you can give away and not hoard is so great for the twins. They have a lot of good in them.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
12 Dec 12
You're right. Christmas is the time of giving love to each other. It's not about having many presents, it's how you became a whole family once in a year.
1 person likes this
• China
12 Dec 12
I approve of what your daughter and son in law have done.They let children get a traditional education during holiday and birthday and sow the seeds of virtue in their children.Over here,when we celebrate children's birthday,we would tell them that their birthdays are the time when their mothers had a hard time of it then and they must show filial respect to their mothers.
1 person likes this
@shaggin (37032)
• United States
11 Dec 12
I think that is really wonderful what your daughter and son are teaching their children. It makes the day more special to them to not expect a ton of gifts but to cherish the ones they get. My sister gives her kids so many presents for Christmas that they get bored halfway through opening them. My kids get a lot but not nearly that many. My neice told my daughter that Santa gets you anything you ask for but I told her thats not how it works because my kids only get two things from santa.
1 person likes this
@savypat (20246)
• United States
11 Dec 12
I think limits will become more and more important to children being born now and in the future. As we face a world with more and more people in it, limits will become a very important part of life. We use to call this restrictions, or just plain rules. Then in the last few years we became captured by life with no rules even now we wreap the rewards of unrestrained freedom. Only the future will tell.