Christmas Consumerism Is Really Bad for Kids


Don’t get me wrong; I love Christmas as much as the next guy. I love the lights, I love the crisp air, I love Christmas trees, and decorations and hot cider and coquito. I LOVE CHRISTMAS. But I didn’t always. Basically, I have a newfound appreciation of Christmas because I have a 3.5-year-old son and a 6-month-old baby girl who think it is the coolest holiday ever.

So, now I’m down for the celebration. I used to kind of hate on the holiday season though and I feel like I had a pretty valid reason that still stands up to scrutiny. I see people literally go into debt to show their loved ones how much they care and parents coming to blows over the last toys available in the stores. I’m not blaming those people. I blame the Christmas Industrial Complex that makes everyone feel that no matter how much money they make (or don’t), they have to buy all the latest gadgets, video games, toys, and jewelry or else their family won’t think they are important. It’s such B.S.

It’s gross, it’s way too capitalist, and it does nothing for anyone except for these huge corporations who (believe me) do not give a crap about the true meaning of holiday spirit. Christmas and any holidays we celebrate should be about spending time together with family and loved ones and creating precious memories, NOT about seeing who can spend the most money.

My kids get a lot of gifts, normally two from us, plus tons of gifts from his abuelos, titis, and tios. Some of our closest friends also bring him gifts because we host a Christmas Eve dinner. So yeah, he’s drowning in it. We spread out the gifts over the entire season from Christmas Eve through Three Kings Day so that it’s not just a crazy frenzy of ripped wrapping paper and so much stuff he goes catatonic. I also LOVE asking for experiences as presents for him instead of things. We’ve gotten swim classes, music classes, and soccer classes as gifts for him and he appreciates that as much (if not more) than a bunch of cool new toys. Next year, I’ll probably request a ticket back to the east coast as a present for him so that he can visit all his family in the wintertime.

Seriously, giving kids tons of presents just ensures that they don’t truly appreciate any of it. It’s ironic that the season of gratitude gets lost in the pressure to outdo each other by spending money that you may or may not have (but definitely can be spent in a smarter manner) on stuff no one really needs at the end of the day.

The point is; it gets a little insane. The pressure to spend, spend, spend, and the long lines, and the bum-rushing of doors the day after Thanksgiving is just too much. We just have to take a step back and remember that the holiday season isn’t about how much money you spend, but how much time you spend together and all of our kids will be happier and less spoiled for it.

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