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Kids & Christmas Wish Lists: Teaching Greed or a Learning Opportunity?

Holiday wish lists are far from a new concept.  The annual Sears Catalog was, for years, the go-to inspiration for wish list building.  For my kids, it’s morphed into the Target holiday flyer as well as various commercials targeting them to nag me for the hot toy du jour.

But does wish list making teach our children greed?  I don’t think so.  If done with the right guidance from mom and dad, it can be an incredible learning opportunity.


Here are some of the guidelines I give my kids for making their wish lists:

1)  Just because you list it doesn’t mean you’re going to receive it
After all, it is a “wish” list.  If someone were to give it to you, great!  If not, that’s cool, too.  Let’s work out how you can save your own money to buy it for yourself.

2)  Mom has complete veto power over listing any item
Sometimes, a parent’s just got to say no.  It’s our right.  And a kid just needs to accept this and move on.  There are plenty of other gift possibilities.

3)  Set limits on what can be added
I don’t want my kids to receive all video games or toys I know they’ll lose interest in a week after receiving.  For every video game that is listed, my kids also have to list a book.  If they list 5 indoor toys, they list need to list 2 or 3 outdoor toys.  Or, cap the list off at, say, 10 items or however many make sense.

4)  An important conversation: Need vs. Want
This special lesson learning conversation can be carried with a kid for years to come.  The stuff we need may not be as shiny and fancy as the thinks we want or would like but they would be just as wonderful to receive.  Think…socks and underwear.  Not the most thrilling gift but hey, you didn’t have to go get them yourself.  That’s a nice bonus!  Okay, maybe not socks and underwear.  How about shelves for a room or a bookcase?  Something practical that your child could really use every day.  That’s the idea.

5)  Add experience items as well as physical gifts
Sometimes, the best gifts are the ones that are difficult to wrap.  Trips to the museum or the zoo.  Afternoons with grandparents.  Movie tickets.  Bowling outings.  Get out, get active and give the gift of a memory.

6)  Decide what you’re going to do for others
Make sure that your kids understand that this season isn’t just about receiving.  It’s about giving as well.  Find out what’s on your favorite charity’s wish list and get your kids involved with showing support.  A personal favorite of mine is Toys for Tots as well as our church’s organization that helps feed the needy in our area.

Take advantage of this great learning opportunity this holiday and help raise conscientious gift givers.  It’s just one more way you and your kids can add more joy into the holidays.

New to Giftster?  Sign up for your fee account today and create your wish list.  You can create child accounts for your kid that you control within your account.


Author Aimee

Mother of two, wife of one, and I love to write about topic that help create joy and smiles around gift giving occasions.