Christmas Gift Tech struggle 21st century

The Struggles of Gift Giving in the 21st Century

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By Angela Bergman

When I was a child, I eagerly anticipated Christmas. All year long, I’d work on my list, growing it slowly, item by item, carefully writing and erasing leaving only the things I truly wanted. I didn’t get a lot of random gifts throughout the year. Let me rephrase that. I didn’t get anything, outside of my birthday and Christmas, that wasn’t completely essential, such as used school supplies that were beyond five years old.

Come Christmas morning, imagine my delight as I ripped through wrapping paper and carefully plucked one item at a time out of my stocking. I didn’t always get what I wanted, but I do remember getting a few awesome gifts that my hard-working parents had lovingly chosen for me. I never complained.

Things are different today. Kids are given gifts and rewards left and right. Good report card? Here’s a new iPad! Your winter jacket is one year old? Let’s go shopping and bring you back into style! Need new school supplies? Bring me the list and don’t forget  a new backpack and new shoes even though what you have still works.

By the time Christmas finally comes around, our kids have created a lengthy list of elaborate, expensive gifts my grandparents wouldn’t have even dreamed of! What eight year old gets their own cell phone? You need a laptop too? To do school work, I suppose. No, to play games and watch Netflix in the comfort of your room? Okay, that sounds good. Here’s an iTunes gift card. Let’s not forget to get you all the latest games that came out this month.

And what happens if they don’t get what they want? Do they say thank you for what they receive? That’s pretty rare.

Choose a Timeless Christmas Gift

Hang on, parents. Do your children really need these things? What’s the purpose? To keep up with the kid next door? Are we really measuring our child’s success by what they own?

I propose a new gift trend this year. Give your child the gift of your time. Hold on, you say. You have money burning a hole in your pocket. I get that.

Why not bring your little dancer to the ballet? Schedule a dinner date with your teenager at a fancy restaurant. Purchase a membership for the family that could be used all year long. Last year we bought a family membership to a local Museum as a family gift. A weekend away at a ski resort would give you the opportunity to make amazing family memories. Take your kids skating and follow it up with hot chocolate, popcorn and a movie. Think about what you loved to do as a kid and introduce your child to something new.

In the summer, we buy a family pool pass and I know friends of ours who set aside money at Christmas for summer adventures. Why not plan an amazing summer vacation and have something to look forward to for the next six months?

Of course, your child might complain that they didn’t get the iPhone 7 they had asked for or the latest games for their PS4. They might be completely embarrassed that their jacket is last year’s style. They might have to walk if they didn’t get their Hover Scooter and they were the only ones in their class who didn’t get a Hatchimal. But twenty years from now when you sit with your adult children around the table to celebrate Christmas, what will you talk about—the year you gave them the gift of technology or the year you spent time with them?

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About the Author

Angela Bergman

Angela is a work at home mom who manages the well-being of her five children, ages 8 through 15. She's been married for 18 years to a small business owner who has owned a sports card shop for four years. In her spare time, she fosters puppies for a local animal rescue, walks her own two dogs, writes fiction, and offers fitness consultations to women who are pregnant and postpartum, and anyone who wants to work out at home.

Featured Image by Tommy Tong via Unsplash.com

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