As we settle into our holiday traditions, many families are changing their tune. They want a more meaningful Christmas, and pairing people up to give eachother a very meaningful experience. It actually sounds like a great idea when you have everyone who is mature enough to handle it.
There are just some things that children expect. We have played “White Elephant” with children, and it never goes well. They feel like they have what they want and someone else “stole” it from them, no matter what the rules allow. We don’t play that game with children anymore.
Little children (under 10) are still trying to figure out their world, and the traditions that their “tribe” (their family & friends) around them ascribe to. When they see their neighborhood friends with a ton of toys (yes, that will be forgotten within a few months), and they have their one toy, they will just feel cheated. It’s actually within our genetic code. Watch how the monkey, who was perfectly fine with his reward, sees his neighbor get a better reward: Monkey Experiment.
Once children are old enough to be taught that life isn’t about material treasures, but of financial security and experiences, then you teach them the lesson. Don’t give one gift to a 5 year old and command him to be grateful. He will resent it.
Instead of just buying more ‘stuff,’ some look to give experiences.