Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Spoiled Kids

Allow me to take a step away from my normally spiritual conversation and be a tad cynical (okay, I guess that's not new). As I saw on Joel Maner's blog, you can buy just about anything for your kid nowadays. Want a lifesize princess chariot for your daughter? No problem. Want a 7 feet tall radio controlled talking robot? No problem. Want a working Zoltar machine like in the movie Big? No problem (the jury is still out on whether it grants wishes or not). It all depends on how much you want to spend ($47 thousand, $50 thousand, and $9 thousand respectively on the aforementioned three). This website tells of it all.

The sad thing is that there are actually rich parents who will buy these things for their kids for Christmas this year. Some of those kids will not be satisfied. Other families will not go to this extreme, but will certainly overspend on their kid, and continue the process of deeply rooting materialism into the next generation. I know, I sound like a bitter old man, but it's true! How many families do you know who have young kids that think Christmas is all about presents? I bet just about every single one. I can't say much. I was showered with gifts as a child too. My parents were not rich, but I was an only child, so I got more than the kid in the similar middle class family with 3 brothers. I have to admit, it was pretty great. I also have to admit, though, that it has lead me to need to often check myself for materialism. I have to be careful what I buy. I have to make sure I don't spend my money on junk. It is humbling to have to confess that, but it is true. Has materialism ever produced a content person?

What is the answer, then? Are we to no longer buy our kids gift on Christmas so they think all of their friends get the good stuff and they miss out? Are we to deprive our kids to make a statement? I don't know. I am not a parent yet, so I have some time to figure this all out. One thing I vow to do, though, is to make Christmas about Jesus, and to do this by telling his story every year and by helping others. Maybe we (Ang and I) won't get our kids presents, and let the grandparents' presents be the bulk (Lord knows that is enough). But regardless, we will make Christmas an event that instills into the next generation a message of love and of a life-even history-changing story. May we continue to journey towards making Christ the center of Christmas.


cathrina said...

Nick..nice thinking and i support.. christmas is much more than giving gifts..but how to make the loved one realise that i care for u empty-handed???

Nick said...

Valid point, Cathrina. I suppose the answer is not doing away with gift giving all together, but moderation.

Joel Maners said...

I think it'simportantthat we remember the story of St. Nicholas. He was born to weathy parent but was orphaned at a young age. He used his weath to spread joy to children, particularly destitute children and people in need. The holiday season should be about giving in the spirit of Nicholas, not just getting more stuff for yourself. Perhaps we need to be teaching our children the legacy of the real Santa Clause.