For the rich, the poor, and everyone in-between, Christmas is a time for keeping up with the Joneses. Whatever income bracket you fall into, you’re bound to have anxieties about the holidays—how you’ll afford that much-coveted toy, for instance, or whether your child will show his disappointment when he opens unwanted gifts from relatives.
However, those living below the poverty line (currently 14.5 percent of all Americans) are bound to have concerns that surmount the gift-related woes of middle-income families—how they’ll afford to eat, for example. So, rather than buying into the commercialization of yet another holiday season, eliminate Christmas Greed Syndrome by teaching your child that not everyone is so fortunate.
What Is Christmas Greed Syndrome?
According to Psychology Today, Christmas Greed Syndrome is characterized by “material gluttony and a lack of appreciation,” and is further endorsed by the binge and purge mentality of gift giving. In other words, it’s far better for parents to treat their child to the occasional new toy or special treat throughout the year, rather than saving piles of gifts for Christmas Day.
Deep down, we know that material possessions don’t lead to happiness, so why do we spoil our children with far too many gifts over the holidays? Despite what many people think, buying every item on your child’s wish list won’t necessarily lead to gratitude, but rather a feeling that there is always something lacking. That’s how materialism works, and it’s how the advertising industry thrives. We know this, and yet we still we can’t help ourselves; hence why the average consumer will spend $929 on gifts this year alone. So, how can we expect our children to show gratitude when we have a hard time resisting those purchases ourselves?
Christmas wasn’t always a festival of greed. In fact the Puritans in 17th century America greatly disproved of the holiday, and in some areas gift giving was even banned by law. The consumer culture we know today wasn’t born until around 1820, but gifts back then were usually small and personal until merchants saw an opportunity to make more money.
Encourage Christmas “Presence,” Rather Than Christmas Presents
Eliminating Christmas greed is easier than it sounds. Avoid overspending over the holidays by using voucher codes from www.myfavouritevouchercodes.co.uk, and teach your children that Christmas funds have a limit. Rather than inviting your kids to write a wish list this year, ask them to name just one or two special items they’d like to receive, and focus instead on other exciting things you can do together—games you can play, cookies you can bake, and crafts you can do together for instance. By changing the way your children view the holidays, you can encourage them to stay present and mindful, rather than being overwhelmed by gifts.
When it comes to opening presents, encourage your child to savor the experience rather than tearing through gift after gift. You can also teach your kids about charity by asking them to donate old toys to your local thrift store so someone less fortunate can enjoy them.
Photo by Mike Arney