How Do We Stop Our Kids from Becoming So Spoiled?

Not sure how it works in your house, but when any type of holiday is coming up in mine, we totally dive in.  For the weeks leading up to Halloween, we decorate, we go pumpkin picking, we attend many Halloween parties, and by the time October 31st rolls around my daughter is OBSESSED with dressing up and all things Halloween. And for several weeks afterwards, she’s still waltzing around our house in various princess dresses.

After her second birthday she was OBSESSED with birthdays, and to this day asks if it’s her birthday at least five times a week.  Birthdays and Halloween are quick, fun, and candy-filled, so I don’t get too concerned with her obsession. But we’ve now reached the December holiday season, and I am getting a bit nervous.  See, we’re a Jewish family, and we celebrate Hanukkah. That means eight days of presents. FOR EIGHT DAYS SHE GETS PRESENTS. This is just so extreme.

I am not saying she is getting a massively expensive present every night; a puzzle or a $5 toy will constitute her gifts for the majority of nights. But to a 2.5-year-old, a present is a present is a present.  They also aren’t just coming from me. Last year my in-laws sent eight nights of gifts. So now she is not just opening a single present each night, it’s two a night!  So, my real question here is, what can we do to limit the spoiling of our kids during the holiday season?  My daughter learns the meaning of Hanukkah at school and at home, and we play fun games and sing fun songs, so it’s not like it’s only about presents. But eight nights in a row--however you mask it--is A LOT OF PRESENTS.

As a working mom, I am extremely aware of the time that I spend with my daughter, and I know that this is the greatest gift (for both of us). Items don’t replace experiences, which is why my favorite gifts are museum memberships or class sessions, but we did that for her birthday!

What do you do in your house to curb the entitlement of (and after) the December holiday season?  And if you live in the city, what do you do about family member gifts? People want to buy great gifts, but we have zero space! Let me know your thoughts!