A curmudgeonly issue: Expensive stuff on Giving Trees


Backroads
 Share

Recommended Posts

Tis that time of year of gift giving, which includes charitable opportunities.

But there seems to be a matter of requested items becoming increasingly expensive. And I hate to say kids and families shouldn't desire nice things, but how is anyone supposed to afford such things to give?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, mirkwood said:

What sorts of expensive things?  A bed?  A Playstion?  A cell phone?  A vaccum cleaner?

On our tree we had some gaming systems, bicycles, etc.   I'm unsure how our women's club solicits the requests, though.   I'm always sad when I see clothes and essentials.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, mirkwood said:

What sorts of expensive things?  A bed?  A Playstion?  A cell phone?  A vaccum cleaner?

All of them.

Its easy to shame someone for wanting a fancy new-fangled tech of the day, but what about when you're relying on your neighbor to purchase you an arguably necessary piece of furniture or appliance?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Backroads said:

It is sad to see those requests.

Yeah.  As I said above, I'm not sure how our requests are solicited.  If it's a 5th grader asking for a phone or playstation, I think that's just what kids ask for since most of their counterparts have them (except my kids).   If it's parents asking for that for their kids (or themselves) then I look at it differently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are a lot of places in my area that collect toys, and the last few years it's been hit-or-miss as to who donates what. 

Because of this, I've had to limit my individual donations to $10 or less per item donated so that I can get the maximum amount of items in the maximum amount of bins. 

 

Last year was so bad that when the local movie theater was collecting it was literally just myself and a few of the theater workers kicking anything in, and that's *with* the theater giving away $5 gift cards for their arcade to anyone who donated. 

I think I eventually talked the manager to just throwing the leftover gift cards into the mix so that they had more things to give to the kids who needed it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Backroads said:

Tis that time of year of gift giving, which includes charitable opportunities.

But there seems to be a matter of requested items becoming increasingly expensive. And I hate to say kids and families shouldn't desire nice things, but how is anyone supposed to afford such things to give?

I remember one year my family didn’t have money for Christmas and we got surprised Christmas morning with a ton of presents from the ward. Truly a blessing of which I am extremely grateful and have done many times for others since.

As grateful as I was for the experience, I would lie if I said there was anything in That care package that I wanted. In fact, I felt that because they were surprise gifts, I had to use them. There was this bright glow in the dark alarm clock that I struggled sleeping with because of how bright it was. The other things were gifts I had little to no interest in.

I would avoid complaining about the price of gifts kids want. They are simply stating what they want for Christmas. I would also avoid giving off the “Because I am gifting this, you must enjoy it or you are being ungrateful”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Fether said:

I would avoid complaining about the price of gifts kids want. They are simply stating what they want for Christmas. I would also avoid giving off the “Because I am gifting this, you must enjoy it or you are being ungrateful”

This is good advice. I honeslty don't begrudge people the things they want, but it does put the potential gift giver in a bind when they can't afford it and the result is no gifts at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Backroads said:

This is good advice. I honeslty don't begrudge people the things they want, but it does put the potential gift giver in a bind when they can't afford it and the result is no gifts at all.

Or you could just do a Wal Mart gift card for $20 (or whatever amount) and they can spend it however they want.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure where to come down on this issue.

On one hand, I did not own a cell phone until maybe ten years ago. Not just a smart phone, but a cell phone. It was a luxury, one I could do without. So I did. We were not impoverished by any stretch of imagination, but money was tight, as it always has been. I could not see spending money on a convenience. So I did without. And it was not a big deal. What has happened to our populace that children must be indulged in all the latest electronic gadgets? Does no one teach restraint and fiscal discipline to their children any more? Especially those who are in such a bad situation that they are asking for handouts?

On the other hand, times have changed. In the last two decades, people have shifted over to a smartphone-centric lifestyle. Not having a phone means much more than merely missing out on handheld games or social media; it means missing out on basic communication, as with job and school.

But a Playstation? Those things are like close to $1000. Why would I possibly, under any circumstances, even if I had ten million dollars to spend, consider buying a $1000 toy for a child whose family is in such need that they are begging for Christmas presents? I mean...no. That's ridiculous. Absurd. Not going to happen.

So I guess I'm coming down on the curmudgeonly side. The title "Giving Tree" is absolutely appropriate. Those who have read Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree will remember that the Giving Tree was a sincere but foolish enabler, allowing the boy she ostensibly loved to literally walk all over her and destroy her for his selfish, and ultimately futile and self-destructive, desires. Her "giving" resulted in nothing but her destruction and that of the boy she "loved". That is exactly what a "Giving Tree" is when children in need request and receive $1000 gaming systems.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/11/2021 at 1:20 PM, Grunt said:

On our tree we had some gaming systems, bicycles, etc.   I'm unsure how our women's club solicits the requests, though.   I'm always sad when I see clothes and essentials.

I am glad to see people requesting essential things.  I am glad they are not caught up with earthly things and are focused on needs.  I am glad that there are many that sacrifice for others.  I am sad when people focus on none essential things for their happiness as well as those that think such things are gifts.

 

The Traveler

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Traveler said:

I am glad to see people requesting essential things.  I am glad they are not caught up with earthly things and are focused on needs.  I am glad that there are many that sacrifice for others.  I am sad when people focus on none essential things for their happiness as well as those that think such things are gifts.

 

The Traveler

Sure.  My point being when someone asks for underwear as a Christmas gift, they are likely struggling in this mortal life.  When someone is happy to have shoes to cover their feet while others are receiving gifts, I'm sad their burden is heavy.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The giving/angel tree used to be something I was happy to be a part of but some of the requests I've seen over the years (with various organizations) has soured my attitude. If there were guidelines, though, it would definitely help. My take:

~ I don't think it's a bad thing to teach kids that "competing with the Jones'" is not the goal - even at Christmas.

~ What harm is there in helping kids understand that they have it pretty good already and be grateful for it? (leading up to Christmas, read stories of those in South Africa who's toy is a push car they made out of wire from the dumpster or how the girls use their imaginations and 'play house' for their fun, or the kid in South America who is thrilled with a piece of string or the 'little house on the prairie' scenarios where they were thrilled with an orange and a few pieces of candy). The point being, first teach gratitude and perspective not encourage an entitled attitude.

~ Kids need to be taught the difference between needs and wants and that the first comes before the latter.

~ I like the idea of kids only receiving 3 gifts and that follows the read, need, want, wear idea (some of these should be coming from grandparents so only 1 gift is needed for them on the tree)

~ No request should exceed $5 per year of age.

~ If they want more expensive things, they can earn and save the money themselves. That's the best way for them to learn the value of a dollar and help them appreciate what they receive from others.

Edited by Manners Matter
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Vort said:

But a Playstation? Those things are like close to $1000. Why would I possibly, under any circumstances, even if I had ten million dollars to spend, consider buying a $1000 toy for a child whose family is in such need that they are begging for Christmas presents? I mean...no. That's ridiculous. Absurd. Not going to happen.

There are many types of PlayStations one could buy. Only the most recent one is that expensive. For example, if they were wanting a PlayStation 3, you can get that for $200. A PlayStation 2 for even less.

I meant to ask @Backroads what specifically was being asked for, it may. It be as unreasonable as they think. Maybe just miscommunication.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Traveler said:

I am glad to see people requesting essential things.  I am glad they are not caught up with earthly things and are focused on needs.  I am glad that there are many that sacrifice for others.  I am sad when people focus on none essential things for their happiness as well as those that think such things are gifts.

 

The Traveler

This makes me a little sick to read. Are you suggesting people who are destitute should be limited in to life’s essentials when we offer gifts? I don’t know every situation but my family struggled hard the last half of this year and the bishop came to us asking what we would want for Christmas. It wasn’t something we requested of him. We were lucky enough to pull ourselves out of our situation, but had that luck not come, I absolutely would have asked for toys for our children. Not toilet paper and gallons of milk

Aren’t Christmas gifts for children supposed to be non-essential luxuries? If I’m going to give a child a gift, it ain’t going to be underwear. If they need underwear, I’ll give them underwear on top of whatever gift I give them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Fether said:

This makes me a little sick to read. Are you suggesting people who are destitute should be limited in to life’s essentials when we offer gifts? I don’t know every situation but my family struggled hard the last half of this year and the bishop came to us asking what we would want for Christmas. It wasn’t something we requested of him. We were lucky enough to pull ourselves out of our situation, but had that luck not come, I absolutely would have asked for toys for our children. Not toilet paper and gallons of milk

Aren’t Christmas gifts for children supposed to be non-essential luxuries? If I’m going to give a child a gift, it ain’t going to be underwear. If they need underwear, I’ll give them underwear on top of whatever gift I give them.

Not speaking for Traveler - but what came to my mind with his post is a request I saw on the tree a year or two ago was for a gaming system for an older teenager. At that age, they need to be working not getting addicted to video games so that gift request would actually be a bad thing and not a gift at all.

Edited by Manners Matter
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Fether said:

This makes me a little sick to read. Are you suggesting people who are destitute should be limited in to life’s essentials when we offer gifts? I don’t know every situation but my family struggled hard the last half of this year and the bishop came to us asking what we would want for Christmas. It wasn’t something we requested of him. We were lucky enough to pull ourselves out of our situation, but had that luck not come, I absolutely would have asked for toys for our children. Not toilet paper and gallons of milk

Aren’t Christmas gifts for children supposed to be non-essential luxuries? If I’m going to give a child a gift, it ain’t going to be underwear. If they need underwear, I’ll give them underwear on top of whatever gift I give them.

Perfectly said. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Grunt said:

Sure.  My point being when someone asks for underwear as a Christmas gift, they are likely struggling in this mortal life.  When someone is happy to have shoes to cover their feet while others are receiving gifts, I'm sad their burden is heavy.  

I am sad that many parents raise their children to ask for non-essential gifts for Christmas and teach of a Santa Clause that rewards them while other suffer and that such is part of the joy to the world and peace on earth and good will towards men.  But for the most part I am encouraged by this season we call Christmas and glad of it.

 

The Traveler

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Fether said:

This makes me a little sick to read. Are you suggesting people who are destitute should be limited in to life’s essentials when we offer gifts? I don’t know every situation but my family struggled hard the last half of this year and the bishop came to us asking what we would want for Christmas. It wasn’t something we requested of him. We were lucky enough to pull ourselves out of our situation, but had that luck not come, I absolutely would have asked for toys for our children. Not toilet paper and gallons of milk

Aren’t Christmas gifts for children supposed to be non-essential luxuries? If I’m going to give a child a gift, it ain’t going to be underwear. If they need underwear, I’ll give them underwear on top of whatever gift I give them.

I would respond with a few experiences

One Christmas when our children were quite young we provided them with a cash of toys and other such goodies.  They spent the next week playing with all the boxes the toys and stuff came in down in the unfinished basement of our new house.  To this day they remember playing with the boxes and do not remember the toys.

The most memorable Christmas for our family was when our daughter had a friend that belonged to a family suffering hardships.  They had children that mostly matched our own in age (and size).  Most of Christmas we used to supply as gifts for our children things they needed - most often winter clothing and school supplies.  Our kids, on their own, decided to give up their Christmas gifts for the family in need.  When this plan was presented to the wife and I - we decided to go along.  That year there were no presents under our tree.  I have determined that it is impossible to give a gift in the spirit of Christ without sacrifice.  In fact the greatest gifts and indeed the only true gift is given with sacrifice.  Sacrifice is the only gift that can be given in the name of Christ.  This is why the widow's mite was the greatest offering before the L-rd - because it was given with the greatest sacrifice.

Last experience - When my older kids were teenagers my wife demanded that I take them Christmas shopping.  I very much dislike shopping - more so taking someone else shopping.  The experience has not gone well and both myself and all the kids were not experiencing any joy of the Christmas season.  Finely we had all gotten in the car (amidst a great deal of arguing) and started home.  As I was driving down a road, in lots of traffic, leaving the business district I had a overwhelming impression to turn around.  The impression was so strong I pulled into the center lane and made a "U" turn.  Of course the kids were all greatly unhappy and the arguing and complaining increased.  I did not know where I was going.  I turned into a parking lot that was full and around a corner to a hidden area with few cars.  This part of the parking lot was covered with inches of very slick ice.  All this time the kids were complaining - and I was not being nice to them in the way I was telling them to quiet down.  

Very quickly we came upon a car with an elderly lady laying on her back, on the ice beside a car with an open door.  I understood that this was what I was prompted for.  It turned out that there was an office in this building that the lady had come to deliver a late payment.  She has parked in the remote area because the rest of the parking lot was full.  This area had almost no action.  When she got out of the car she slipped on the ice and fell hard and could not get back up because the ice was so slick.  She was bleeding from a blow to her head and was showing signs of hypothermia.  Oldest two sons were sent to the office with her check while I and the rest of kids got the older lady into the car - but she was in no condition to drive.  I had oldest son drive our car and follow while I drove the lady in her car home.

The rest of the drive home for me and the kids was quite different - there was no more arguing.  This little act of service had changed the attitudes of both me and all the kids.  Sometimes the gift of service is greater than the gift of things and the greater gift at such times is to the initial giver.

I hope that this season will remind us to give and receive gifts in the spirit of Christ and remind us to remember this for the next year.  I think I need to be reminded more that anyone else.

 

The Traveler

Link to comment
Share on other sites

47 minutes ago, Vort said:

Since when?

Maybe it’s a generational thing. I don’t ever remember opening a gift that was an “essential”. My Christmas gifts tend to be toys, new clothes, fancy socks, candy or things related to my hobbies.

Edited by Fether
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, Traveler said:

I would respond with a few experiences

One Christmas when our children were quite young we provided them with a cash of toys and other such goodies.  They spent the next week playing with all the boxes the toys and stuff came in down in the unfinished basement of our new house.  To this day they remember playing with the boxes and do not remember the toys.

The most memorable Christmas for our family was when our daughter had a friend that belonged to a family suffering hardships.  They had children that mostly matched our own in age (and size).  Most of Christmas we used to supply as gifts for our children things they needed - most often winter clothing and school supplies.  Our kids, on their own, decided to give up their Christmas gifts for the family in need.  When this plan was presented to the wife and I - we decided to go along.  That year there were no presents under our tree.  I have determined that it is impossible to give a gift in the spirit of Christ without sacrifice.  In fact the greatest gifts and indeed the only true gift is given with sacrifice.  Sacrifice is the only gift that can be given in the name of Christ.  This is why the widow's mite was the greatest offering before the L-rd - because it was given with the greatest sacrifice.

Last experience - When my older kids were teenagers my wife demanded that I take them Christmas shopping.  I very much dislike shopping - more so taking someone else shopping.  The experience has not gone well and both myself and all the kids were not experiencing any joy of the Christmas season.  Finely we had all gotten in the car (amidst a great deal of arguing) and started home.  As I was driving down a road, in lots of traffic, leaving the business district I had a overwhelming impression to turn around.  The impression was so strong I pulled into the center lane and made a "U" turn.  Of course the kids were all greatly unhappy and the arguing and complaining increased.  I did not know where I was going.  I turned into a parking lot that was full and around a corner to a hidden area with few cars.  This part of the parking lot was covered with inches of very slick ice.  All this time the kids were complaining - and I was not being nice to them in the way I was telling them to quiet down.  

Very quickly we came upon a car with an elderly lady laying on her back, on the ice beside a car with an open door.  I understood that this was what I was prompted for.  It turned out that there was an office in this building that the lady had come to deliver a late payment.  She has parked in the remote area because the rest of the parking lot was full.  This area had almost no action.  When she got out of the car she slipped on the ice and fell hard and could not get back up because the ice was so slick.  She was bleeding from a blow to her head and was showing signs of hypothermia.  Oldest two sons were sent to the office with her check while I and the rest of kids got the older lady into the car - but she was in no condition to drive.  I had oldest son drive our car and follow while I drove the lady in her car home.

The rest of the drive home for me and the kids was quite different - there was no more arguing.  This little act of service had changed the attitudes of both me and all the kids.  Sometimes the gift of service is greater than the gift of things and the greater gift at such times is to the initial giver.

I hope that this season will remind us to give and receive gifts in the spirit of Christ and remind us to remember this for the next year.  I think I need to be reminded more that anyone else.

 

The Traveler

You are sharing a lot of unique situations and I think we can execute on all these despite the kind of gifts we give.

so just to clarify. Do you not give your kids toys for Christmas? Has it always just been necessary clothing to keep them from freezing to death, water bottles, dishes, toilet paper, milk jugs and underwear?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share