Don’t go into debt over your kid

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“I don’t even want to go to Florida for Christmas!” said a girl sitting behind me in class. Puzzled, I waited for her to continue about her holiday plans. Apparently, her stay at the Four Seasons in Palm Beach was a burden. Um, may I take your spot?! 

The holiday season is a commercial hub, certainly. But many Main Liners take generous gifting to the extreme: Louis Vuitton bags, Cartier rings and international trips are almost pedestrian at this point. 

Dear Parents, 

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to give your kids everything and more. If anything, cornucopia parenting is fueled by love. As cliché as it is, the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. 

Showering a child with gifts is a great way to earn their (temporary) love and affection. It’s also a great way to get them hooked early on retail therapy. According to psychological therapist Annie Gurton, withdrawal symptoms in substance abusers and shopaholics are almost parallel.

While retail addiction carries no health risks, it is an electric chair to the wallet. In an effort to keep the addiction alive, many become buried in black holes of credit. Don’t want to give your child a cigarette and a lighter? Gold star for you, parent of the year! But providing your child a conveyor belt of gifts also carries the risk of fostering addiction. 

Even if finances aren’t an issue this holiday season, the fate of our planet is. The BBC reports there are more abandoned Legos in the ocean than the entire population of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg combined. Before loading your trunk with goodies, consider which (if any) of those gifts your child will treasure in a few years’ time.  

Not to be a grinch, but perhaps we should try to reign in the gifts this year.