What d’cha Get?
About 100 years ago, when we were kids, the first week back to school after the holidays definitely contained “What d’cha get?” conversations. Back then, holiday gifts seemed a little more special because aside from your birthday, it was really the only time you got anything – other than maybe back-to-school shoes. “Electronics” meant a toy that required batteries. Gift Cards hadn’t been invented. Much like today, sometimes kids were thrilled, and sometimes they were disappointed. Much like today, your parents hoped you wouldn’t be too transparent in your disappointment with underwhelming gifts from extended family members, lest you appear spoiled.
Don’t worry, we aren’t going to bore folks with a Monty-Python-esque blog about how much tougher things were when we were kids (although we truly did walk to school in lots of bad weather, not wearing Gore-tex or goose down). What we are going to do is ask parents to ask themselves the following questions:
- Were you able to figure out what your kids would really use and appreciate when deciding what to get them last year?
- Did you have good and honest answers to the question “What would Sarah like?” when your parents or siblings asked you?
- When the young people in your life asked for an item that lay outside of your budget, were you able to suggest alternative ways they might be able to get what they really wanted? For example, by politely and thoughtfully asking extended family members to collectively fund one more meaningful gift versus individually purchasing smaller, less meaningful ones.
Gifting Sense is a new company whose mission is to turn shopping for holiday and birthday gifts for children into a tool parents can use to help teach their kids to think before they buy.
As research, the interviews conducted as part of the Global News segment on Gifting Sense in early December (link below), and even things like offers from national retail chains to swap unwanted gift cards for ones redeemable in their own stores suggest, there is still progress to be made in helping kids learn how to thoughtfully prefer a holiday gift that will be well-used, fully-appreciated, and purchased in a way that helps them understand the true value of their request.
The good news is, our quick but meaningful Gift Surveys work all year long – not just during the holidays. And teaching your kids to think before they buy doesn’t mean that you can’t still create warm and surprising childhood memories. Consider asking your kids to complete 3 or 4 Gift Surveys when thinking about what they might like to receive for their birthday this year. Only you will know which “thoughtfully preferred” item or experience they are going to receive. But you’ll also know that no one’s time or money is being wasted purchasing items that may not ever get used, or tickets to an experience that the recipient really won’t enjoy. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, your kids will really understand how many hard-earned dollars are required to make their birthday wishes come true.
Asking your kids to complete Gift Surveys when making their birthday wish list doesn’t mean they can’t be surprised – ask them to complete three or four surveys – only you will know which item or experience they are receiving, but you’ll also know they will be receiving a gift whose true value is well understood and appreciated.
We believe teaching kids to think before they buy is one of the greatest gifts they can be given. It lasts longer than any new pair of jeans, earrings or video game. It can help set the foundation for a peaceful life, as living with excessive debt is perhaps the number one stressor facing adults today. It can reduce waste of time, money, and garbage. Make 2016 the year that your kids were given the best birthday gift ever – the habit of thinking before buying. We’ll be here all year long to help you do that in a simple, free and engaging way.
Happy New Year!