How do I correct my daughter's attitude about Christmas?

Monica - posted on 12/03/2011 ( 30 moms have responded )

4

0

0

My daughter is 7 years old and no matter how much I try to redirect her attitude about Christmas, she is constantly all consumed with the presents and what she can get. I have talked to her about what Christmas truly means in our family...the spiritual meaning, the importance of family and giving and love. We have done all of the Christmas donation programs and she does enjoy helping others at this time of year, but when it comes right down to it, I dread Christmas morning because no matter what or how much she gets she is never satisfied. She is always disappointed and last year she even started making a wish list for her birthday (which is six months away) the day after Christmas! I am a single mom and our Christmases are by no means extravagant but she always gets plenty of nice things. What do I do to help her realize the true meaning of Christmas? How do I take the focus off of the presents?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Alessia - posted on 12/04/2011

107

58

2

Every year around the holidays, my older son and I go through the playroom and "clean house". Broken toys get thrown away while gently used toys that have lost their thrill get put into a box to take to the Women's Shelter. My son does this because he wants "kids who don't have a home and who Santa can't find" to have presents. Sure, it still focuses on the whole "presents" thing, but it also instills the idea of helping those who have less or who are needy. We also donate to an organization called Heifer.org which supplies families in third world countries livestock and teaches them how to become self-sufficient by farming, etc. Every year, we have the kids pick out which animal we donate (obviously we have to draw the line at the $5000 team of oxen).
We're atheists so a religious meaning of the holidays doesn't factor in, but we do teach the human aspect of it: love, togetherness, family, and charity. Maybe showing your daughter that GIVING is also a great thing to do, she'll appreciate what she gets so much more. Or maybe, with all that we do, she'll be like my 5 year old who screams at every annoying TV commercial that he "WANTS THAT YEA!".

I think it's the age. But keep doing what you do. I am pretty sure they're listening somewhere and it sinks in.

:)

Amy - posted on 12/03/2011

6,328

33

2377

I agree with Kate, find someplace to volunteer Christmas morning, either serving breakfast or passing out toys somewhere to kids who are a lot less fortunate. Do this before you open presents, then maybe she'll appreciate what she does get after volunteering and helping those who don't have much!

Alessia - posted on 12/05/2011

107

58

2

Sometimes showing them something bluntly is the best way to have such important things sink in. A boy at school taught my son an incredibly racist word and my son said it at home. After recovering from my heart attack, I took my son aside and explained to him what a horrible word and sentiment it was. To push the point home, we sat in front of my computer and I showed him images of the civil rights movement, the counter sit-ins, the marches, and yes, even the disturbing pictures of lynchings. I wanted him to see and understand what such a word meant. He was devastated (and a little frightened I am sure.) but I am glad I did it. He's never uttered nor mentioned such vileness ever again. And you bet I called the school and said something about that boy!

Point is, maybe it's time you showed your little girl what poverty looks like. It's a harsh reality, but when it comes to social awareness, raising our children to be conscious of other humans is key, I think.

Good luck!

Kate CP - posted on 12/03/2011

8,942

36

754

Take her to a women and children's shelter. Show her around and have some one talk to her about how these kids don't even have a house. They don't have a bed. They're lucky if they get underwear for Christmas.

[deleted account]

If any of my kids (yes, even my 3 year old) came off w/ that attitude.... they'd have a Christmas of giving away all their new things to kids that don't have many things.

Yes, I know that sounds harsh, but your description of your daughter's attitude reminds me of my niece. I love that kid, but she can be SO rude and spoiled... it drives me nuts.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

30 Comments

View replies by

Rachel - posted on 08/23/2012

2

0

0

One Christmas, my daughters got literally everything they wanted, except one doll, and that was only because I couldn't find it. All they talked about for the next few days was the fact that they didn't get that doll. The next year, we scaled gifts WAY back. I didn't ask them what they wanted, just reiterated what Christmas really is about, and about being happy with what you have, being grateful, etc. I took them both to the store and had them pick out a toy they would want for themselves, then put it in the Toys for Tots box. I listened to them talk in the months leading up to Christmas, to see if there were 1 or 2 things they REALLY wanted, but for the most part, I just got a few things I thought they would like. They were MUCH more appreciative that year.

Tracy - posted on 12/18/2011

97

18

4

Take her to a homeless shelter and let her see that some people have less than nothing and that she should be happy with what she has. Or have her donate her gifts to a womans' shelter so kids that have had to escape their homes without anything can have a nicer Christmas. Or let her know money is tight and as a result she will only be receiving one gift this year. Why receive if you are ungrateful for what is given?

[deleted account]

How about not doing presents at all? No, I'm not kidding. If she's that focused on gifts, tell her that all the family's gifts this year are going to homeless children. Take her with you to donate the items. Let her see the people who really do have nothing. This selfish streak isn't going to stop unless you show her by comparison just how good she has it.

If you're really wanting to focus on the true Christian aspect of the holiday, then strip away anything that is NOT Christian in origin.

Fay - posted on 12/15/2011

0

0

0

great moms for sure its not easy bringing up a child.....its good to start early at 7 u have plenty of time

Susan - posted on 12/07/2011

8

0

0

Good Job Monica! Teaching your child about the true meaning of Christmas and yet not depriving her of what she deserves. I love this Christmas song that you found on line. Merry Christmas to you too. God Bless.

[deleted account]

I said what I would do cuz that attitude would be so completely opposite and out of character for my kids that it would require an equally shocking response.

I also deal w/ that attitude on a regular basis from my niece and my kids KNOW I won't tolerate it.

Monica, I think what you are doing is fine for YOUR child. Sorry, I just responded how it would hit ME.

Monica - posted on 12/06/2011

4

0

0

I think that punishing my child (she is a CHILD after all) by not giving her anything for Christmas is wrong. She is having a very normal and natural response to all of the holiday hype and I have to take responsibility as a parent...somewhere along the way I dropped the ball on teaching the true importance of this season. So, instead of focusing on all of the negative behavior, I am refocusing on positive behaviors. Thanks to all of the posts, I made some choices that are changing her perspective... First I had her choose 2 of her wrapped gifts (without knowing what they were) to open and donate to Toys For Tots. Then we went to a local nursing home and donated 10 handmade afghans to residents there. After that we took a box of food items to a church's food bank. Lastly (but probably not the end of our giving spree), I found this song online and it has become our new favorite Christmas song. Check it out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=OEx...



Truly amazing. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Amanda - posted on 12/06/2011

6

9

0

I would sit her down and tell her it is hurting your feelings that she is dissapointed every year. If you go with Santa brings some, then tell her his feelings are hurt too. Explain that you/he work hard and love her very much and you/ he try very hard to pick gifts she will be happy with. When she is not its very sad for you/him and it hurts your heart. Use an example of something she has given you. Ask her how it would make her feel if you didnt like it. If you were disapointed in the things she made for you at school.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/06/2011

18,889

9

3002

Then, after she receives her presents, have her sit down and write thank you notes of appreciation to everyone that bought her gifts, including you. Have her write WHY she appreciates that specific present so much.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/06/2011

18,889

9

3002

If you haven't already, i would start giving her allowance, and showing her the importance of money and how to handle it. She may grow some much needed respect about how much things cost, and start appreciating what she receives. I would not with hold presents, that is not going to make anyone feel better. I would limit for sure, and pick a few things are her list that you know are MUST haves.

Kaitlin - posted on 12/06/2011

1,107

21

449

don't give her presents. come up with an alternative- she can choose a charity to raise money for, you can do more donations (you mentioned you already did that). There's no need to give her lots of stuff. If you are set against not getting anything for her at all, tell her she may have ONE gift, and let her decide what she really wants, and maybe fill a stocking with sweets, and let that be it! Be tough!

Katrin - posted on 12/06/2011

18

6

2

A lot of the posts here focus on giving her unused things to charity and helping those in need, which is a wonderful thing to teach her, but I think she would also benefit from really finding the joy in giving to those she loves (e.g., you and any other family members). Perhaps you have a family member or friend that could help her make a special gift for you, and you could make a big deal about it after she opens her gifts. "Now do you want to see mommy open your gift to her?" even if you have to pick out the supplies and give them to someone else to make with her it will make her excited about putting in the thought and effort into her gifts for others. My 3 year old hasn't yet hit the stage where she wants everything (though I anticipate it will come with time), but we do try to make a big deal about making a special painting or craft project for Christmas and birthdays and fathers/mothers day, and so far she loves to watch the other person's face light up with joy that she brought to them

Jane - posted on 12/05/2011

2,390

262

484

My kids can make all the lists they want, but they only get three of the things on their list. We also go shopping for toys to give to others, either through an adoption program or Toys for Tots. They also get a certain amount of money that they can spend on more gifts - this helps them realize what things cost and forces them to choose what is more important, a particular gift, an activity, or even saving the money.

When I was little on years that money was tight my parents sat us all down and announced we were going to have a "make it" Christmas. The only gifts exchanged were things we made ourselves. It helped reinforce the feeling behind giving to another.

Hillary - posted on 12/05/2011

18

48

0

i don't think giving her nothing is the answer. kids take everything personally and she literally might interpret no gift = not loved. if it was my daughter i would start taking her to nursing homes, homeless shelters, etc., now and more than once before christmas. she can help decorate and sing christmas songs, things to help bring up other peoples spirits and when christmas comes around give her maybe one toy that she really really wants and then take presents to the childrens ward of your local hospital.

Amanda - posted on 12/05/2011

2,559

3

365

Give her nothing and take her to a food bank for the day to feed the homeless.

Elise - posted on 12/05/2011

44

0

0

This year she gets nothing. Maybe next year she will appreciate what she does get. Harsh I know and really hard to do but she will get the picture pretty quick I'm sure.

Wendy - posted on 12/05/2011

14

1

0

Don't do presents. Give to others that are needy in your community whether it be volunteering your time or giving her a toy to donate to someone one else. There's no better way to remind our children of the birth of Christ and the precious gift we were given than to have them help those less fortunate than ourselves.

Sylvia - posted on 12/05/2011

1,315

8

31

I don't think it's unusual for a 7-year-old to be focused on STUFF. Kids are constantly advertised at, and they're even more susceptible to advertising than adults are, because they haven't yet learned to be cynical :P

This isn't exactly about Christmas, for reasons that will become obvious, but yesterday at a parents' session at my daughter's Hebrew school, the rabbi talked about things you can do with kids to take the focus off gift-giving (which is a late addition to Chanukah) and put it back on the more important aspects of the holiday. Some of the suggestions she made were making a list of 8 mitzvot (in this case meaning good deeds) to do as a family for the 8 days/nights of Chanukah; volunteering to cook or serve at a soup kitchen or shelter on Christmas Day if the 2 holidays overlap, as they do this year; inviting family and friends over to celebrate, not by giving more gifts but to light candles together, sing, eat and play games; making donations in your child's name as one of their gifts; if you have a bunch of kids in your extended family, organizing them to put on a play about some aspect of Chanukah; and inviting non-Jewish friends over for one night of the holiday to help them understand what it's all about (i.e., not just 8 days of presents!). Obviously a lot of this doesn't apply to your situation, but maybe some of it could be adapted...

Susan - posted on 12/05/2011

8

0

0

I think it's pretty normal for a kid her age to think that way. I don't know if you are a Christian, but if had a kid like that, I would tell her that, Christmas is not all about presents. "Jesus is the reason for the season". We are celebrating His birth and so we should not focus on gifts,but thank God for all the blessings that he Had given us and share some of them to the less fortunate.

Sherri - posted on 12/05/2011

9,593

15

387

Take it completely off the presents and only have 1-3 gifts under the tree and get back to what you want Christmas to truly mean to your family.

Dorothea - posted on 12/05/2011

92

25

8

I know a family that only purchases 3 gifts a year for their children. Jesus got 3 gifts so they do too. (Obviously, they are Christians.) I'm just going out on a limb, since you mentioned "spiritual meaning".

No offense to any other religions, Christianity happens to be the only one I know about.

Personally, with my boys, 7 & 5, I try to show them the joy of giving all year long. That way when they see me give a gift, they kinda put together, giving makes mommy happy, I wonder if it'll make me happy too? Don't worry to much about it. She's 7, a lot of it is the age. She wants all the "cool" toys. Maybe if you had her put her toy list in order, most wanted to least wanted, that would work. (Worked for me when I was 7.) Good luck, and Merry Christmas :)

Monica - posted on 12/05/2011

4

0

0

Thanks for all the suggestions and input. I probably won't be making her give her new things away since I don't think that she is a rude or spoiled little girl...just misguided in her thinking about Christmas. Anyone who knows my daughter knows that she is incredibly loving, caring and generous. I especially like the ideas of personally delivering gifts to a shelter. We go through her toys regularly and "donate" them to organizations that she knows will distribute to children who are less fortunate, but for her to actually see the children receiving the gifts could make it much more meaningful. Thanks moms.

Bonnie - posted on 12/04/2011

4,813

22

257

I think it's her age. Although she may be at the age where she is starting to understand what Christmas means, it's still all about the gifts. Kids always want more. Even if they are satisfied and consumed by what they get that day, the next day they will think of something and wish they had gotten that.

Kim - posted on 12/03/2011

875

4

23

I think that a lot of it is to do with her age and just how exciting the thought of getting gifts etc is.
I also am trying to teach my kids (5, 18months) about giving and helping others and to appreciate what they do get. Every Christmas my son a I (daughters to young to understand) go through his toys and pick a bag that we give away to boys that don't have any. I get my son to actually give the bag himself. You could also try making gifts with her. This year we are making ornaments for everyones Christmas trees. You could also take her to a womens shelter so she can see with her own eyes what little some people have. Volunteer with her at a soup kitchen. Try and do a lot of baking, crafts, family time,looking at the lights, sledding together.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms