Thoughtful Thursday: Presents

October 18, 2012

Thoughtful ThursdayLater I’ll get back to the snap decision I alluded to last week — waiting for it to be a sure thing.

Burrito and Tamale are now 3 years old (!!!). A few days before their birthday, they saw the delivery man bring one of their big ticket presents, and they went nuts with curiosity. So, I gave them have one gift early. They watched and hovered for an hour while I put together their dollhouse. Of course, they loved it.

The day before their birthday, I asked them if they wanted another early present. Burrito refused: “I already have a present. I have a house.”

When their birthday arrived, I announced that it was time to open their birthday presents. “I already have a present. I have a house.” Over and over he protested. When he finally started opening presents, he changed his tune: “More presents! I want more presents!” But his base state is to be satisfied with one.

I also prefer one bigger present rather than many smaller presents — like the iPad I received last year as a combination birthday/holiday gift. I’d much rather have that iPad than ten birthdays worth of little gifts.

My late mother had the opposite philosophy. She was always very concerned with the number of presents I received. Even when all I wanted was a single big ticket item (a keyboard one year, a CD player another, a Cabbage Patch doll before that), she insisted on adding a bunch of dinky pieces of junk to bulk up the number of presents. She sometimes went so far as to wrap up things I already had just to give me more things to unwrap.

For herself, though, she always insisted that she did not want any presents. A few times I got her something she really liked, but oddly for someone who liked acquiring stuff so much, she really didn’t care for receiving presents.

How many birthday presents would you ideally like to receive?

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15 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Presents”

  1. St. Elsewhere Says:

    The number mattered to me somewhat when I was a kid…

    It does not matter to me now.

    a) I do not wait for birthdays to get that one thing I am totally pining for.

    b) I may or may not get a present for my birthday. My mother always buys me something for my birthday. My husband usually treats me to a nice dinner sans a tangible gift, which is quite okay with me. Interestingly, I just realized that I do not have a single present from my ILs which was specifically tagged birthday.

    c) I have, quantitatively given more gifts to my husband for birthday/anniversary than what I have received.

  2. St. Elsewhere Says:

    You changed your job?

  3. Mina Says:

    I have no idea. My birthday is in a week, and I don’t know what I would like to get. I got the best present last year, when I found out I was pregnant with my second son, and frankly, nothing can beat that. If I had to chose, I guess one big present is better than ten smaller presents. I think I am tired of small crap around the house.

  4. Elana Kahn Says:

    I don’t get a lot of birthday presents. My husband buys me little stuff from the dollar store or CVS usually because he has no time to even think about it. And we can’t really afford big gifts right now. My mom usually gets me something really nice as do good friends of the family. I don’t really think about it much, honestly. If I get to go out and have dinner with my husband, that’s enough of a present for me.

  5. a Says:

    I would prefer that everyone forget my birthday exists. My feelings about my birthday are complex and uniformly negative and have nothing to do with age. Instead, people in my life do the opposite and I really wish they would just stop. Sigh…

    However, for my daughter, I want her to have lots of gifts – because there is excitement in opening things and seeing what’s in the package. But I can’t justify buying her a lot of junk that she doesn’t want and I don’t want lying around the house. Her birthday was last week, though, and we still haven’t even really gotten her present. I had some things stored that I knew she wanted or would like, so I grabbed one of those and put it in a gift bag. But she needs a new bike and we told her she was getting a new bike and she doesn’t have a new bike for her birthday. However, she loved what I had for her, and she had a decent sized birthday part with lots of new toys, so she’s well satisfied.

  6. Shelby Says:

    Your Mom sounds very much like mine was. She didn’t really get too excited over getting anything for herself (although we always tried to spoil her), but she always went overboard for me and my son (and my husband). As I’ve gotten older, I’ve preferred experiences to items (like going on a mini-vacation). I have enough crap (although I wouldn’t mind these sweet boots right now) πŸ™‚

    And one thing I’ve noticed is that my mom’s (and dad’s) propensity to spoil me at holiday time is spilling over into my parenting. I’m trying to embrace ‘less is more’ but given my learning, I feel like I’m shortchanging him (which is absolutely far from the case and people have made it a point to mention that). I have to remember that I am setting precedents at this age, so I need to scale back!

  7. ana Says:

    There is hardly anything (materially) that I “really really want” so I don’t want much in the way of presents. If they are thoughtful, beautiful, or useful, I’ll take as many presents as I get. I’d rather not have cheap (poorly made, not necessarily price) generic STUFF though…better nothing than an afterthought.

  8. celiadelia Says:

    I hate celebrating my birthday and can’t wait to stop. It’ll be a silver lining after my parents are gone. I am totally fine with no presents. My birthday is in just a few days. yippee. I find it ironic that all I want is to not celebrate and that is the only thing no one wants to give me.

  9. strongblonde Says:

    Its the strangest thing: I really don’t care for “birthday” things. I’ve always had tachycardia when the birthday song starts…even when it is not for me. Related to presents: I don’t like the idea of small gifts, unless you’re going to get me some stuff that I use all of the time and wrap it up: nice shampoo (that I like, but won’t buy myself because I use the stuff at the gym), a new toothbrush, cooking tools, etc. But the thing is that adults will generally buy these types of items. I suppose the idea of “gifts” is to give someone something that they would like, but wouldn’t necessarily pick out or purchase themselves, right? I NEVER pick out or purchase big ticket items for myself, which probably makes them good gifts for me. But, along those same lines, I feel uncomfortable when people spend a lot of money on me. ….hmmm…so thinking this through it seems like I’m uncomfortable GETTING gifts in any fashion, huh? Honestly, I’m happy just to have a nice dinner (it can even be at home in PJs), a glass of wine, and be able to appreciate the things that are important.

    for the kids I want to get them things that are unique, that show that I pay attention to the things that they like, and also encourage thought and personal development in some fashion. This year for their birthday we got them bikes, helmets, and PJs. They would have been happy with helmets! πŸ™‚ Or nothing. I love the fact that they’re not all about presents!

    We don’t even get gifts for my parents anymore. They don’t want them. I think that they just don’t want junk sitting around and if they want anything they just buy it. We do get the grandparents a book with pictures of the past year of the kiddos, though, each year. I think my parents appreciate it. B’s? Not so much. B’s mom is all about quantity AND quality of gifts. Last year B’s sister got her like 10 gifts (including a vacation that was paid for–for one whole week including airfare and food, and other things that were equally expensive). it was the FIRST time that I saw her appreciate a gift. normally she just sits there looking displeased while opening gifts! pure silliness!!


  10. One. Takes up less space than a bunch of small ones.

    Same for giving. If they know there’s a stream of presents coming, my kids don’t pause to enjoy ANY of their gifts. It’s just more more MORE!

    Happy birthday, B&T!

  11. Aryanhwy Says:

    Definitely quality rather than quantity. (Unless it’s books, because then quantity *is* quality).

    We had a pretty good approach to gifts, growing up. My grandparents would give my parents money to use for Christmas, birthday purchases and then my parents would shop for us (my sister and I), and sometimes it would be various smaller things, sometimes it would be a big thing, and whatever money was left over, we would then be given that as well. So no matter who got more presents or less, we always knew that we were getting the same value, so there was no jealousy or anything.

    On the other hand, the way we open gifts now at family Christmas does make equality in numbers somewhat more important; we open in order of age, youngest to oldest, one at a time. This means that dad is generally done opening first, or skips a few rounds. πŸ™‚ But somehow it has always worked out, without anyone getting too upset about someone else having more presents than them.

  12. Cat Says:

    I don’t care so much about the quantity, just please let it be something I want/need/will actually use. I could really go on and on about this topic since my husband and in-laws have the opposite idea about gift giving. They not only want to give as many items as possible, regardless of whether those items are near the top of the recipients “most desired” list, but they (the giver) also have to like the items, too!


  13. I don’t care about the number, as long as it’s something I really like!

  14. Nity Says:

    I want it to be useful. My parents and my MIL do lots of gifts – specially for my daughter. But my FIL does ‘go get what you want/need.’ It’s a tough battle. I guess I need to be thankful for presents… and be ok with getting rid of the ones I don’t need!

  15. Mel Says:

    We don’t give presents like that — to mark days — so… none πŸ™‚ But if I were going to get a gift, I’d much rather get something I need. I really hate receiving gifts I wouldn’t have spent money on myself. I would rather get a vacuum cleaner that I need than a tablet computer that I don’t. Though that would definitely point towards wanting one gift vs. many.

    Rather than give a lot of gifts, we have a tendency to get what we need when we need it. And to put all the money towards travel or experiential things.


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