What You Shouldn’t Buy Your Kids For Christmas

This time of year, my wife and I face the same dilemma: what should we get our boys for Christmas? It was much easier when they were much younger.  We’d just go to Toys “R” Us or Wal-Mart, go up and down the aisles, and toss toys into the shopping cart.  An hour later, we’re done. Easy.  Now that they’re teenagers (one is 20), it’s much harder and more expensive.  As parents, we don’t want to make any mistakes, not only wasting our money, but wasting a good opportunity to teach them an important lesson .

So a recent article on MSN Money‘s website caught my attention.  It doesn’t give advice on what to give kids for Christmas, but what gifts NOT to give them.  And why.  Here are a few of them:

  • Your child may be bugging you to buy them a cell phone for Christmas.  Don’t give in.  Why?  Your child is probably willing to do almost anything for one, including work for it.  Buy them a phone, and you’ve blown what could have been a great teaching tool.
  • Pets are also a bad gift, especially one that can live for a long time.  When they go off to college, guess who’s going to have to take care of it?
  • Anything collectible that you may think will be worth a lot of money someday.  Chances are it won’t, unless it’s rare and expensive to begin with.
  • Don’t buy a replacement gift.  If your child broke or lost something expensive, don’t rush out to replace it.  That won’t teach them to be responsible.

Okay, I’ll admit I haven’t always followed that advice.  But it’s something parents can strive for at least.  The bottom line is, you want to buy a gift that your child wants, but you don’t want to give them something that teaches them the wrong lesson.

My wife and I still don’t know what to get our kids for Christmas.  Maybe we’ll go back to Toys “R” Us and fill up a basket. Think they’ll mind?  Just a thought.

Click here for all “Eight Gifts You Shouldn’t Buy Your Kid”.

4 Comments on “What You Shouldn’t Buy Your Kids For Christmas

  1. Mark,
    Great points here! We have yet to purchase our teenagers anything either. Jake wants rims for his truck-NOT…Ashton wants and iphone 4. Our kids have high expectations because we have over-indulged them too many times. I told Ashton that I was not paying $400 for a phone for her. She has begged and pleaded now for almost a month. We think that we have it worked out now that she is going to use some of the money that she has saved, ask family for money and we might pay for the service. Still working this out and only have a couple of weeks left before a final decision has to be made.

    We did the dog thing for her birthday….BIG MISTAKE…I’m just sayin’!
    Merry Christmas, Shannon

    • Hi Shannon. It’s tough not to give in to all the begging and pleading. We broke two of the “don’t do” rules in one swipe recently. Our college boy broke his iPhone (Careless? Probably. He is in college after all), so we bought him a new one. We told him that we were going to take it from him on Christmas day, wrap it up, and that would be one of his gifts. So we committed the “replacement gift” and “cell phone” mistakes. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but it sure is tough being a parent sometimes, isn’t it? Hang in there.

  2. What about an equal money gift with the stipulation that they need to invest it in the market. The one that makes the most on his investment, wins a bonus prize next time around. Just an idea we never used ourselves. By the time they’re our age, they could be millionaires. Or—–give them some money and tell them to find a needy friend their age, and buy a gift for them.

    • I like that last idea. If kids would buy something for a less fortunate friend, it would not only benefit the friend, but also give the giver a sense that they’ve done something worthwhile. Thanks.

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