Friday, June 15, 2012

Does Gifting Make us Materialistic?

Now, I can safely and proudly say that I am probably the least materialistic person I know. Money doesn't give me joy, clothes and accessories don't define my persona and I do not judge others by these parameters either. Yes, I am one of a kind!

The other day, while I was at my nephew's birthday bash, I saw how important all the gifts were to him. He refused to let anyone else open them, he refused to let his sister touch them, and most importantly, pulled a Dudley (reacted with a tantrum) when he saw that his dad got him something other than what he had demanded.

Let me bring it to your attention that this kid is only 10 years old.

This made me think. Have these customs paved the way for our (I do not include myself in this) materialistic ways? Does the act of compulsorily giving a gift to your child make them materialistic and shallow?

Re-tracking to my childhood days, my parents refused to buy us material gifts on our birthdays. Infact, my father once told me "Why does it have to be given on your birthday? When you will need it, you will have it. Even if it is not your birthday." Even when we asked our parents what gifts they wanted, my mother's favorite demand was "I don't want anything, I just want you to be a good girl, and be the best you can be." Needless to say, I sincerely tried for a few days, and then conveniently forgot about it.

Nonetheless, this act ingrained in us the virtue of gifts being sentimental in nature, and not materialistic. WE also always trusted our parents to give us what we NEEDED, as opposed to what we just WANTED. Parents who chose to gift their children things that "all their friends have" are not only making their children materialistic, but also paving the way for a peer pressured way of life.

Are birthdays and occassions all about gifts? Is BUYING someone something expensive (subjectively used term) the way to show how much they mean to you? Can a cup of lovingly made tea or coffee, a hug and an I love you be enough to show someone just how much you mean to them? Do you judge someones character on the basis of how they gift?

Think back and calculate how much money you wasted buying stupid, but in-demand and expensive gifts, when you could have more lovingly shown your feelings for your loved one. May be, we need a change, yes?