Now that the holiday season is safely past us (well, almost, we just have New Years left), I thought it would be a prime time to pen out a couple of thoughts about money, gifting and showing your love.
Parents & Families
Many parents fall into the trap of thinking that the more they spend on their kids, the more their kids will love them.
It’s almost like substituting money for affection and time spent with them.
If you have ever watched the movie The Nanny Diaries with Scarlett Johansson, you will know exactly what I am talking about.
My family regularly falls into this trap.
Not my parents, but my brother and my sister-in-law.
They work so hard, to make so much money, only to use it buying toys that their kids don’t need, or play with for 10 minutes and then toss aside.
I thought back to the days when I was a kid. I rarely got anything. And if I did, I was so excited with my new toy, I spent YEARS playing with the same toy.
I was even thrilled to get a box and a couple bags of beads, because I would then pretend to cook by mixing the beads.
Their kids have so much stuff, so many clothes, lots of activities they’re constantly being shuffled off to and they live in a house filled with takeout, processed food, rotting vegetables and $10,000 pieces of furniture.
But all they really want, is their parents to play with them. I hear it all the time when I’m there.
“Daddy, can you play this board game with me?” .. “Sorry, not now.”
“Mommy, I want to go to the park with the dog with you.” …”I’m busy right now, can we do it later?”
It’s also not that they don’t want to spend time with their kids.
It’s that they’re so busy making all this money, and agreeing to all of these commitments to pay for all of this stuff, that they don’t even have the time.
We don’t need to give gifts, and clutter up our homes with the most expensive toys and furniture, to show that we love our kids.
In fact, the less you give them, the better:
- They’ll appreciate what they have
- They’ll develop a longer attention span for playing with less toys
- They will develop imagination from playing with less toys
- They’ll take care of what they own
And most importantly…
They will understand the importance of NOT filling their souls and the absence of love by purchasing physical objects.
What kids really want, is time.
Time with their parents and friends, and to have adults really listen to them.
You’d be surprised at how much they don’t care about having the latest gaming system, when they can spend time with their family instead.
And if you can bring them into the decisions of the family, it gives them a sense of autonomy, and a feeling that they are being taken into consideration instead of being brushed over just for being a kid.
Husbands, Wives & Life-Long Partners
Parents aren’t the only culprit. Couples are as much to blame as them.
On Valentine’s day, what do we do?
Guys run out and buy expensive chocolates, make reservations for a fancy dinner, and buy jewelery or other gifts to show how much they love their girls.
Girls run out and buy expensive perfumes, lingerie and new outfits for the anticipated dinner out.
When did spending money all the time to show our love for each other, become such an accepted, worldwide holiday?
The simplest gifts with the most thought, are not the ones that cost the most money.
Taking time to shop and cook a meal for someone, ranks #1 in my book, over taking me to the most expensive restaurant in the city.
Showing love should be an everyday thing
Why is it only one day a year that we go all out?
Why is it, that we can ignore our mothers all year, but on Mother’s Day, we take them out to a fancy restaurant, dust off our hands, get someone else to cook the meal, pay for the whole thing and say “there, mission accomplished for this year“?
Why is it that we can be thoughtless, rude, short and unhappy with our partners during the year, but on Valentine’s Day, it all magically changes for one day?
I’d rather celebrate NO holidays at all, and have love everyday during the year, rather than just on one day as a big spectacle of perfume, lingerie, gifts and expensive dinners.
10 ways you can show your partners everyday love without buying anything
(All inspirations from my own life)
Leave unexpected notes
- Write a short note and tuck it into their jacket.
- When the bathroom mirror is steamy, write a message in there for when she next takes a shower.
- Leave a post-it on the fridge where they’ll see it, if you get up earlier to go to work
Make something from scratch
- Cook something special
- Make their lunches for the week
Do small, thoughtful gestures
- Clean their car unexpectedly
- Do a chore that they have been neglecting for a while (laundry?)
Re-connect and talk
- Turn off the Blackberry, TV and computer & chat about anything: life, future, funny things
- If you must watch TV, then watch a TV series or a DVD together (every night, one episode!)
Show physical affection
- Hug them often and sincerely say you love them. Don’t do that automatic “I love you, too” nonsense.