Gift Overload -
Less Is More!

How often do we say that we give our children too many gifts...that we need to scale back on the gift giving during the holidays? We know that giving our children too many gifts isn’t good, but it’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of holiday buying, especially when it comes to our children. The result: our kids end up with way too many gifts and our checkbook -- or credit card -- takes a big hit. Keep reading for five reasons to avoid giving your kids too many gifts this holiday season.

Holiday gifts

While you want your children to experience the excitement of opening holiday presents, putting too many gifts under the tree isn't a good idea. Keep these five reasons not to give too many gifts in mind while you finish up your holiday shopping.

Number 1The economy

The bad economy isn't new, and those affected by it are constantly reminded, but it's important not to push it out of your mind or temporarily forget while you're finishing your holiday shopping. Even though the government insists we're on our way to recovery, many families are still feeling the strain of a bad economy. Adding to your financial stress by purchasing too many gifts for your kids -- gifts you might not be able to afford -- is never a good idea.

While we should usually live by the adage, "We don't care what everyone else is doing," in this case, maybe we should. Even if your family can afford an extravagant holiday, many of your child's friends might not be able to do the same. That doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy the season -- and the gifts -- but it's a good reason to keep the giving in check.

Number 2The reason for the season

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Plain and simple: the holidays are not all about gifts, things, tangible items, toys, consumerism…call it what you want, the point is the same. Remember the reason for the season. Whether your family's reason is religion, connectedness, memories or kindness, don't forget -- the holidays are not about giving or receiving too many gifts. Keep the holidays simple with presents!

Number 3Nobody wants spoiled kids

Start making the holidays about endless gifts when your kids are young and you're setting yourself up for years of expectations. You don't want to feel like you need to match -- or worse, outdo -- last year's gift giving, nor do you want your kids desire – or worse, think they deserve – more and more gifts each year. Do yourself and your kids a favor and don't buy too many gifts.

>>Want to keep it simple? Check out our list of the best holiday gifts for kids.

Number 4Gifts don't equal love

You don't measure your love for your child by the number of boxes wrapped under the tree or gifts presented each day of Hanukkah, and you know that. Still, when you're shopping for your kids, it's easy to think "Oh, she'll love this! It will make her so happy!" as you imagine the joy on your daughter's face as she unwraps yet another "special" toy.

No doubt, the gift will bring her joy, but so will being with her family, sharing memories and cuddling on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate. Gifts make our kids feel good at that moment, and they probably even make them feel gratitude -- and love -- toward us for giving them, but gifts don't replace, or serve as a form of, love.

>>Teach your child to give to give at Christmas It's about more than just receiving.

Number 5Too many gifts are overwhelming

As crazy as might seem, it's possible to overwhelm a child with too many gifts! Young children are especially likely to feel overwhelmed by too many gifts, but so can older kids. This is one of those times where quality, not quantity, matters.

As you're finishing up your holiday shopping, remember what the holidays mean to you. Strive to impart that meaning onto your children, and remember that you can't accomplish that by giving them too many gifts.

Read more about holiday gift-giving

Real Mom's Guide: Keeping the holidays simple with presents
Top 10 holiday gifts for kids
Gift ideas for kids

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Comments

Comments on "Why you shouldn't give your kids too many holiday gifts"

Patti May 11, 2011 | 6:48 PM

We tried to give our kids six gifts each for the holidays - something to read, a game, something musical, something to cuddle, something to encourage physical activity, and something educational. These can be as inexpensive at a second-hand book, a deck of cards, a kazoo, a pillow, a jump rope, and Play dough or as expensive as a Nook, video game system, I-pod,sleeping bag, jet ski, and a lap top computer.

Kristin December 10, 2010 | 11:40 AM

Great article, Laura! So, so true!

Naomi de la Torre December 09, 2010 | 8:06 AM

Love this article! And I agree with all your points, but most esp. that gifts don't equate to love. While we may give them out of love, there are so many other meaningful ways to express those same feelings. This is my favorite line, "No doubt, the gift will bring her joy, but so will being with her family, sharing memories and cuddling on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate." Amen! And bring on the hot cocoa. That sounds good!

Heather December 08, 2010 | 12:09 PM

So true! A friend of mine told me that they do Christmas presents like this- Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. I thought it was genius! Of course you don't have to follow it exactly, but it keeps you thinking about what they REALLY need and want rather than just getting more and more. Also if we get something as a gift we get rid of something we don't use in return- that way stuff doesn't just keep piling up.

Heather December 08, 2010 | 12:08 PM

So true! A friend of mine told me that they do Christmas presents like this:Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. I thought it was genius! Of course you don't have to follow it exactly, but it keeps you thinking about what they REALLY need and want rather than just getting more and more. Also if we get something as a gift we get rid of something we don't use in return- that way stuff doesn't just keep piling up.

Liz December 08, 2010 | 11:36 AM

We don't give our kids very many gifts on Christmas. They get plenty of stuff during the year and Christmas is about more than presents in our house. Good points.

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