It seems to me that the holiday season is a combination of two forces that influence our gift-giving behavior (or, more appropriately, too much gift).
These two powerful forces are 1) social pressure and 2) love.
The holiday season has become so utterly commoditized that it doesn’t need to be told.
Now, there is nothing wrong or unusual in showing love by giving gifts.
but when 40% of us express increased stress over the holidays., 45% of us feel pressured to spend more money than we haveWhen About 60% of us receive unwanted gifts, commercialized as the season is over. Worse, it misses both the spirit and the joy of year-end celebrations.
On the one hand, we feel social pressure from marketing campaigns and stores to buy things for ourselves and others this season. Every store proudly displays what they have for sale and pressures you to buy more and more. that is to be expected.
But another social pressure permeates this season. It may not appear so boldly on billboards or in store windows.
The subconscious pressure is this: everyone gives gifts, everyone talks about gifts! Talk about what you get.
At the doctor’s appointment in January last year, a doctor I had never met before my surgery asked me, “What did you get for Christmas?”
It’s a conversation that often comes up even for us adults. But even more so for our children. Every year, when I returned to school after the Christmas holidays, I remember that the conversations between us children always focused on what we got for Christmas. also ask.
And it’s not just about school. This holiday season, take note of any presents someone (or yourself) would like your child to receive, what you think they’ll get, or any “what did you get for Christmas” type of conversation.
Loud or quiet, the social pressure to conform and make this holiday season the main gift-giving is strong.
To exacerbate this social pressure, we love our children and rightfully want to make the holiday season magical and memorable for them. He has fond memories and longs for his children to have the same.
This is good too. We definitely want our children to enjoy Christmas and the holidays this season.
Problems arise when these two conversations converge and overlap.
When society (consciously or unconsciously) began to measure the joy of Christmas by the number of presents under the tree, we longed for our children to have fond memories of the holiday season. I’m here.
We believe physical possessions bring joy and memories. And if more gifts make Christmas mornings happier and bring back better memories, why stop? There’s always just one more thing to add…
So how do we overcome these pressures?
Important Note: Your neighbor will give you more presents this Christmas.
Falling into the idea that more is better (especially when it comes to gifts) leads to a vicious cycle with no escape.
We will always buy more if we believe the lie that more things make the holidays better for our children. I want to be able to list everything to my school friends and adults who inevitably ask what I got for Christmas.
But if we measure a child’s happiness by the number of gifts they receive, we will never succeed with our metrics.
Sure, there’s one kid in your town who gets the most toys, but that kid probably isn’t yours. So we need to change the way we measure our children’s joy and success during the holiday season.
And often, the most important step in ensuring that children fully enjoy their holidays is to refuse to over-commercialize the season.
Be more present during this time than shopping away from your kids.
Instead of adding to the stress and anxiety of worrying that your child won’t get enough for Christmas this year, be more calm and have fun.
Instead of leaving your family financially strapped this Christmas, give yourself some financial leeway for the rest of the year.
Get down on the floor to play or read a book instead of opening your computer to place an order.
Don’t define joy by the number of gifts this year, find it for seasonal reasons.
Instead of looking for memories on department store shelves, create memories within four walls.
The social pressure to buy gifts continues to surround us. But there’s no way to provide a family-friendly season. If so, you won’t find it anyway.