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Do high-value gadget gifts take the fun out of Christmas?

3 years ago

2 experts and 2 parents have answered

Kelly Rose Bradford writer
Kelly Rose Bradford Journalist and broadcaster London, GB

When my son was a pre-schooler, Christmas mornings were filled with mountains of presents; hours would be spent opening little packs of building blocks, picture books and myriad cuddly toys. The present opening would continue until lunchtime, with as much fun being gained from rolling around in discarded wrapping paper as from the actual presents themselves.

Now, as a 10-year-old, his Christmas experience is so much different – and briefer. The whole unwrapping process last little more than 10 minutes thanks to his desire for specific, technology-based high value items for his main present, and iTunes vouchers from friends and relatives.

My memories of childhood Christmases are focussed around sitting under the tree, shaking and prodding all the packages before opening them, the thrill of the unwrapping occasionally surpassing the discovery of what was inside the box.

The build up to this moment would have been just as tantalising, as more and more brightly coloured parcels appeared; packages coming in the post from far-flung relatives, neighbours dropping in and saying they'd 'popped something under the tree' for me.

My son, as a technology-obsessed tween, does not have that kind of joy; the pleasure of small, low value gifts, the prolonged unwrapping experience, even the groans upon receiving a hideous jumper from Granny, or a toy more suited to a toddler from a clueless uncle. To me, the very things which make Christmases so special, and stay in your mind forever.

My oh-so-modern little boy has two or three gifts to open from me and his dad, as per his wish-list, and a mountain of voucher envelopes from everyone else. These remain sealed until he logs on to iTunes later in the holidays to redeem them. He wouldn't want it any other way, but as a mum desperate to cling on to every last minute of his childhood, I find it a bit sad.

3 Reply ( 1 ) Share:
Experience 3 years ago
expert answer
Andrew Weekes expert
Andrew Weekes Techy engineer, father of two. Sevenoaks, GB
Technology expert

Quality over quantity every time for me.

I do think there has been an expectation on the part of many children for high value gifts, and the escalation of expectation is an issue in my view, but I'd rather buy a single present that will get regular use and the receiver will enjoy in place of lots of stocking fillers.

My children have shared presents like this (e.g. game consoles) and I'm certain they'd find this preferable to receiving gifts they didn't want and subsequently don't use.

As a parent I prefer less clutter too, and would prefer to see gifts being used and giving pleasure than gathering dust on a shelf.

Not many presents survive the years, but our Xbox, for example, gets used regularly several years on, by all members the family, making it a good gift my view, especially when it's purchase price amortized over the period of use.

2 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago
expert answer

We don't buy any presents at all - we focus on experiences: The build up with food preparations, going to church, sending cards, planning how to spend the day and with whom etc. We decorate a tree with handmade decorations and we then we gift the children with an experience such as seeing a pantomime, Birdhouse Factory, Cirque du Soleil or going to a djembe drumming circle.

I like the idea of opening lots of small gifts on one hand, but on the other I have seen parents spending ridiculous amounts of money on presents (either many small ones or less, but pricey ones) and what do we really teach our kids?

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Opinion 3 years ago
Олег Кияшко
Олег Кияшко Don't mind my display name >.< Kyiv, Ukraine

I don't think like that. If a kid has a passion on expecting this present, then the fun will be there. A gift which is more about long passion of expectations, and some other similar gifts from other people (friends or relatives), can bring even more fun than myriads of cheaper toys under the tree. It's not about value, it's about expecting passion.

As a child, I was wondering that Santa will bring me stuff I dislike (that were some toddler toys or dolls made in USSR). But when the present was there, I realized that it wasn't that stuff - but once I found out that another present was actually not one I was expecting.

Buying presents that can cause huge passion or "wow" can cost alot, but the expecting passion is the clue of Christmas.

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Experience 3 years ago

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