Kids, Parenting, Travel

Why we don’t give our kids gifts

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When I was a kid, we didn’t have much. We were pretty poor so we couldn’t afford the best and newest clothes, shoes, or toys. I’m pretty sure my parents did the best they could, but it just didn’t compare to what our friends or other family members had. Of course, we got picked on. My sister and I had to make do with what we had and I got her hand me downs. My 3 brothers had to fight to protect/defend themselves from the other kids who picked on them.

My husband had the same fate, except he was the only child. He has told me numerous stories about how he felt like the outcast most of his life and that he too had to fight to defend himself from the harshness of his fellow peers who always had the best of everything (or so it seemed!). Kids would actually check the tags on clothes when they walked into the school building and if it didn’t have a name brand label, it was a wrap!!

As we grew up, we kept telling ourselves that we were not going to be like our parents. We were going to give our kids EVERYTHING that we never had and then some! Why should they ‘suffer’ like we did?

When we had our first child MA, we did give her the best of the best. She got the best toys, clothes, and baby gear. I also HAD to get her into the best school, one that I felt was going to give her the best early education and not just a daycare or babysitter.


After a while, and after accumulating so much stuff that she hardly played with we decided to cut back. It was also around the time we decided to have baby #2, three years later. Slowly we started buying less and less ‘stuff’ and starting introducing more experiences. We went full force after our son AM turned 3. So no more material gifts from us for birthdays. Instead, we take them on trips to different places. We will sometimes go places for holidays as well, but if the funds ain’t right we will usually do something local.


We want our children to remember that life isn’t about gifts and material things that can easily be broken or taken away. Before we go on out trips, during our adventures, and even afterward my husband and I stress the importance of our experiences and try to take as many pictures as possible so we can look back at them at different times in our lives. I have an app called Memoir that shows photos for a particular day 1, 2, 5, even 8 years ago so it brings back those memories all over again.


We chose to do this with our kids because we feel traveling and experiencing new things far outweigh and out value material things. They don’t really ask for anything either so I guess we are doing good!

We don’t stop others from giving our kids gifts for birthdays and holidays. However, we do try to stress the importance of meaningful gifts though like books, educational games, etc. I know not everyone agrees with our way of doing things but we demand respect and understanding of it so family and friends will usually ask if certain things are ok to get them.

This is what we feel works for our family and believe me, we’ve gotten some negative views on it! However, we don’t do it to please anyone. This works for our family and we will continue to stress the importance of living life to the fullest without depending on ‘things’.

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4 thoughts on “Why we don’t give our kids gifts

  1. Beautiful pictures, but a really good idea. Some kids get so much stuff as kids they become spoiled adult monsters. My hat is off to you!

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