should kids be disappointed at christmas

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by strollingbones, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. strollingbones
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    strollingbones Diamond Member

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    Meltdown fallout: some parents rethink toy-buying
    By DAVID CRARY – 1 hour ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — In a season that inspires earnest letters about toys, one notable batch is being sent not by kids to Santa's workshop but by parents to the executive suites of real-world toy makers.

    The message: Please, in these days of economic angst, cut back on marketing your products directly to our children.

    The letter-writing initiative was launched by the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which says roughly 1,400 of its members and supporters have contacted 24 leading toy companies and retailers to express concern about ads aimed at kids.

    "Unfortunately, I will not be able to purchase many of the toys that my sons have asked for; we simply don't have the money," wrote Todd Helmkamp of Hudson, Ind. "By bombarding them with advertisements ... you are placing parents like me in the unenviable position of having to tell our children that we can't afford the toys you promote."

    The Toy Industry Association has responded with a firm defense of current marketing practices, asserting that children "are a vital part of the gift selection process."

    "If children are not aware of what is new and available, how will they be able to tell their families what their preferences are?" an industry statement said. "While there is certainly greater economic disturbance going on now, families have always faced different levels of economic well-being and have managed to tailor their spending to their means."

    In recent conference calls with investors, toy company executives said they expect to suffer some holiday-season impact from the economic crisis, yet suggested their industry would be more resilient than many other sectors. The toy industry is commonly viewed as recession-resistant, due largely to the parent-child dynamic.

    "Parents have trouble saying no," said Allison Pugh, a University of Virginia sociology professor. She says parents often buy toys to avoid guilt and ensure their children feel in sync with school classmates.

    "Even under circumstances of dire financial straits, that's the last thing parents give up," said Pugh. "They'll contain their own buying for themselves before they'll make their child feel different at school."

    Amanda Almodovar says she encounters such families in her work as an elementary school social worker in Alamance County, N.C., where homelessness and unemployment are rising.

    "I had one parent who said she'd prostitute herself to get what her child wants," Almodovar said. "It's heartbreaking. They feel inadequate as parents.

    "I try to tell them, worry about your home, your heating bill — but they're the ones who have to look into children's faces, the children saying 'I want this, I want that.'"

    Even in some households not in fiscal crisis, there's a sense that this holiday season is different.

    John Schenkenfelder, a financial adviser and father of three in Louisville, Ky., wrote a blog entry this month urging families to scale down their gift-giving and spend more time playing together.

    "This has been bugging me for years, even when times were great," Schenkenfelder said in a telephone interview. "Maybe people will get it this year — they're so unprepared for this debacle. They're shell-shocked."

    In Columbus, Ohio, Erin Beth Dower Charron has been trying to brace her 4-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter for more subdued gift-getting this year as the family begins financial belt-tightening.

    "My 8-year-old is still holding out hope that Santa will get her that one special gift, but understanding this year may be different," Dower Charron said. "My son doesn't understand. Everything he sees, he wants."

    Toy ads on kids' TV shows make the process harder, she said. "The onslaught seems to be more intense this year."

    Dower Charron was among the hundreds of parents who took up the suggestion to write to toy companies.

    "Help me understand why your toy is the better one for my child, and why it should be one of the few I can afford," she wrote. "Don't leave that up to my children."

    The director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, psychologist Susan Linn, said she and her colleagues don't expect toy companies to stop advertising — rather, they want the ads directed at parents.

    "It's cruel to dangle irresistible ads for toys and electronics in front of kids — encouraging them to nag for gifts that their parents can't afford," she said. "It's just not fair."

    The big toy makers aren't likely to redirect their ads for one fundamental reason, according to Richard Gottlieb, a New York-based consultant to the industry.

    "Toy companies advertise to children because it works, to be brutally honest," Gottlieb said in an interview.

    Gottlieb also contends that it's good for children to encounter toy ads — even in cases where products later turn out to be disappointments.

    "It teaches, for very low stakes, how to navigate in our consumer culture," he said.

    "They are going to have to spend the rest of their lives listening to every kind of marketing approach, and childhood is where they will learn to cope with it."

    As for the economic pressure on parents, Gottlieb sounds a fatalistic note.

    "Believe me, there are families with much bigger issues on their plates right now then worrying about whether their child will be unhappy because they did not get a particular toy," Gottlieb wrote in his "Out of the Toy Box" blog. "Delivering disappointment goes with the job of parenting."

    The Associated Press: Meltdown fallout: some parents rethink toy-buying


    just an interesting read...what is your take on this...is part of parenting getting your kid to understand that you cant always get what you want?

    my son has always known that there is no santa who has tons of cash to drop on toys...we simply explained that santa is a myth and we, the parents, pay for the items..therefore there was a limit....

    being a pagan, i celebrate winter solstice. my appoarch to gift giving is cheap at best....one gift per person including the beloved and spoiled child...there are no tons of gifts. i will admit that i was not a parent to buy toys weekly or monthly so when he ask for that "special" toy i would try to get it for him...but if that toy was beyond my bones...i told him so...plus i am one to buy after the event...he always got easter stuff the day after....he knew he would get more for less...

    so how do you approach the holidays (whatever you call them) and gift giving?
     
  2. random3434
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    random3434 Senior Member

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    It's funny, my students are thrilled with the Dollar Store toys, the "fake" Barbies and Trucks, the Little Army Men (they LOVE those!) and the little chalkboard with chalk. I buy them each a toy from there for Christmas, plus Christmas pencils, erasers, gloves, treats, etc.


    Their eyes light up everytime when they open their gifts.

    Most kids in America are spoiled rotton with the wealth of excess of crap they get. Come to the inner city here and see what it's really like to not get what you want for Christmas.
     
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  3. strollingbones
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    strollingbones Diamond Member

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    sadly for many what will be simply food on the table and warmth.
     
  4. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    When my children were little, money wasn't a problem. However, having been raised getting way too many Christmas presents, I wasn't about to replicate that problem. Besides, they had my folks that I knew would go 'whacky.' Actually my parents pretty much surprised me, not that they didn't spend on the kids, but their approach had changed. My mom wanted them to have 'wheels' from the get go.

    While she bought lots of baby things, she had to get the wheeled walkers and strollers. Then the tricycle, then the bike, Big Wheels, roller skates, skateboards, electric Barbie car; then electric Jeep for the boys. One year I wanted to kill her, the Little Tyke train set, which went around my living room. My dad shocked all of us, mostly my mom, he bought board games. Yes in the age of electronics, he would come in with stacks of them, wrapped by himself.

    Me? I bought Legos every year. Brio trains, Barbie stuff, Ninja Turtles and Mutants for awhile. Hot Wheels, books, Play Dough, Tinker Toys, an Erector Set, Chemistry/Science sets, Colorforms, thinks like that. Oh less I forget, the British Museum's dinosaur collection-over years. One of my sons was into dinosaurs, then anything ancient Egyptian/Medieval for about 8 years.

    Funny thing, my kids never asked for 'in' toys. Remember the first year of Cabbage Patch dolls? Probably the first year of nasty shoppers in a big way? My daughter's two best friends in kindergarten kept talking about how they were going to get them, she came home and said she'd like one, 'everyone was getting them.' I told her we'd see, did she really want it? No, but she wanted to have what the other kids did. (Other than Barbie, she didn't play with dolls much). I wasn't convinced that was a great way to spend over $30, and fight crowds. My SIL was going and asked if she could get one for my daughter, I said, 'sure.' She ended up with one she liked, found one of her friend's didn't get one and gave it to her. LOL! She explained that she didn't really want it anyways.
     
  5. WillowTree
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    WillowTree Diamond Member

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    yep! a little disappointment now and then never hurt anybody. Our kids will just be the next generation of gimmme gimmmme people if we don't stop the bs. Last year I went to our local theatre and bought tickets with enough money on them for popcorn and a drink.. All the kids got them. They loved them.. memories are what make Christmas,, not things.
     
  6. Angel Heart
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    Angel Heart Conservative Hippie

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    My kids have always been raised to be grateful for what you get. They really get that it's not about getting but giving. Last year I had but one small gift under the tree. When my 14 yr old realized that he started trying to give me his gifts. I turned him down. It still really is the thought that counts.

    While I agree with the families in this article, I don't agree with it being only the toy makers fault. They raised their kids and their kids attitudes toward marketed items.

    BTW I don't do Santa in my house. My kids have always known it was no more than a story. I've gone round and round with my in-laws over this. My MIL hated me for it. My kids get gifts from people not imaginary holiday imps. I do teach them the true story behind St Nick. How his compassion for others took him out on snowy nights to give children a little happiness on Christmas morning.

    I know that no matter what I'm able to get my kids, they will be grateful.
     
  7. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Ah when I think of Santa now, it's about the presents under the tree. I remember the Christmas my daughter was 4, my mom took her to Marshall Field's on State Street, waited lord knows how long for lunch, then to see Santa. Her request, "A nice book and every kind of Campbell's soup, except Tomato'. :lol:

    That was the same year she walked into my mom's Thanksgiving morning, saw the trussed turkey and said, "Oh, we're having dog?" She was a strange child!
     
  8. random3434
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    random3434 Senior Member

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    LOL!

    I love kids, I swear, the things they come up with! :D
     
  9. Shadow
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    Shadow BANNED

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    Movie tickets are a very good idea. I recieved them from my work last year at Christmas,enough for a family of four to go to the show. We had a family night out and really enjoyed it!
     
  10. Shadow
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    Kids are funny! I took my kids and two of their cousin's to see Santa a few years ago. One of my niece's asked Santa for lots of pretty braclets and 100 pink blankets (where she got that I have no idea...I think Santa did crochet 1pink blanket though...not 100. )
     

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