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Does Santa Make Kids Selfish? December 19, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness.
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Xmas-CatThe training of new consumers begins on Santa’s lap. Ho~Ho~Ho!

And continues in front of the TV as animated ads from Toys ‘R Us ask . . . “What’re ya gonna get? What’re ya gonna get? What’re ya gonna get?”

We are programming kids to become greedy meanies.

For an eye opening look at how Santa’s questions frame responses and keep the materialistic spiral going:

But all is not lost.

Once Santa shifts his script from getting to giving . . . the kids opt to give the larger piece of chocolate away.

Aah . . . that’s better!

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Comments»

1. artistinsa - December 19, 2014

So true!!

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

How often have we asked, “What did you GET for Christmas?” Maybe we need to reframe that to “What did you GIVE?”

2. Val Boyko - December 19, 2014

Fascinating!!
There is hope 🙂

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

Let’s hope so. 😛

3. Valleygrail - December 19, 2014

Ha! As I watched the video, I kept thinking Ayn Rand would roll over in her grave at this. We have to be so careful how we speak to children with their little wet cement brains, don’t we?

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

Last week, before seeing this video, I asked a few kids (aged 7-10 or thereabouts) whether they had finished buying/making gifts for their family. The response, confused looks followed by, “No. We don’t give gifts. Santa brings the gifts.”

That was NOT true when I was that age ~ my sister and brothers and I bought or made gifts for each other, our parents, our grandparents, and a few friends. Christmas wasn’t all GIMME!!!

Valleygrail - December 19, 2014

I noticed, too, how sophisticated the items were that the kids wanted. Real savvy children!

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

The commercials that are really getting me this year ~> FORD commercials with KIDS asking for CARS . . . years before they are eligible for driver’s licenses. YOWSA!

4. Jill Weatherholt - December 19, 2014

This is so interesting, Nancy. I agree, all hope isn’t lost, especially if the parents teach their children it’s better to give than to receive. Merry Christmas!

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

Or, at a bare minimum, that Christmas isn’t just about what to ASK SANTA for . . . giving should be PART of the equation.

5. Crowing Crone - December 19, 2014

Reminded me of those vital days with our children are young. Language, even between adults, though is crucial.

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

I see a lack of balance in the way most kids are being raised ~ parents don’t set the same sort of expectations for giving as they do for getting . . . AND I’m beginning to think thank you notes are an endangered species.

6. Silver in the Barn - December 19, 2014

“Carpe Ursus!!” Love it. I was having a minor rant just yesterday about the ingratitude of my nieces and nephews. If they don’t experience the joy of giving then I guess it’s only natural they take getting so for granted. Makes me crazy but in the interest of family peace, I keep my big mouth shut. Except to my poor husband, of course.

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

Yes!!! One more example where YOU and I see the world the same way . . . and point it out to our ever so patient husbands.

A few years ago, tired of the lack of acknowledgment for gifts given to nieces and nephews, I held their Christmas Checks hostage:

Instead of being amused, most of them felt it was a dirty trick.

Silver in the Barn - December 19, 2014

Nancy!!! You are an evil genius and it’s killing me that I didn’t know about this earlier this season. Genius, I tell you. You know what I love most about this? The humor softens the message, but it still comes through loud and clear. I didn’t send checks this year because we’ve grown weary of gifts entering the “black hole” of ingratitude.

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

My sister’s kids (in FL) are good about saying thanks or writing thank you notes as are most of my brother’s kids (in CO) but I haven’t seen a thank you note from the 3 in NJ (all in high school) for years and years.

(And if I call to wish them a Happy Birthday and find out what’s going on with them, it’s usually my SIL who calls back ~ I suspect she’s trying to insulate them from my “bad influence.”) 😛

My NJ brother’s response to the above missive: “My kids are too busy to keep in touch with you.” WOW! Good to know.

Silver in the Barn - December 19, 2014

Just received an email from my BFF who is feeling bad that she did not send packages up to her nieces for the reasons we’ve just discussed. I am forwarding her this photo right now.

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

Yay! Thanks for sharing it with your BFF. In case she can’t read all the different FUN fonts:

“Your Christmas checks are being held for ransom because we haven’t heard from any of you in eons and ages ~ if you want a Christmas check, please write and tell us about your year.”

7. Becky - December 19, 2014

I think if you raise your children to think they need to consume then yes. It’s all about the parenting.

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

And in many cases, parents are not mindful of the relentless onslaught of marketing manipulation and brainwashing we are inundated with on a daily basis. So the spiral continues.

8. JOriginal Muse - December 19, 2014

Years ago, when I trained for a certificate in professional hypnosis, I was introduced to many of these bottom-line scripts that have had us all hypnotized (aka socialized, conditioned) from childhood on.

Now I’m studying more about Covert (Conversational) Hypnosis, and yes, they point out the techniques used for framing suggestions with words that humans automatically connect to ego, desires or morals. Used ethically, these techniques can be powerful tools in the mouths or pens of the enlightened human. Writers especially have access to this power and often use it unconsciously.

It is both fascinating and unnerving to know how it’s taken some of us years to catch up and catch on, when now in our adult years we struggle to undo the “damage” done to our moral fibers from years of negative behavioral conditioning.

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

On the upside, when someone accuses us of being “selfish” or “naughty” or “greedy,” we can point to Santa and say “it’s all HIS fault!”

He’s not only disheveled . . . he’s got SHIFTY eyes. I bet he’s on the Wal*Mart payroll, the dirty bastard. :mrgreen:

9. jannatwrites - December 19, 2014

I cannot tell you how awesome this is! Okay, well, I kind of just did, but this here is right up my alley. Social psychology was my favorite part of the curriculum for my degree. (Had I not gotten burned out on school, social experiments such as this is what I dreamed of doing one day.)

Anyway, this was truly fascinating and an eye-opening look at the behavior we perpetuate. (The same characteristics marketers are very well trained to recognize and profit from as well.)

My kids rarely got/get what they asked Santa for, so they’re learning early how to handle disappointment 🙂

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

Social psychology and marketing manipulation go hand in hand with the hypnosis techniques mentioned in Joanne’s comment (#8). We are brainwashed from birth.

I LOVED to do psychology experiments on human test subjects. Most of SO predictable in their responses to situations.

I’m glad you’re teaching your kids how to handle disappointment ~ that’s a very important life skill . . . especially when surrounded by a multitude of greedy meanies! 😛

10. Pix Under the Oaks - December 19, 2014

We give a gift to the two tiny great nephews and that is it. Well, we give a gift to The Mama. We do a small gift exchange at the family Christmas. CH thinks once the nephews and nieces were married that was the end of gift giving… works for me.

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

I think being married is a decent cut off for adults, especially when great nephews appear on the scene to be spoiled.

11. Grannymar - December 19, 2014

We had a rule in this house: Santa brought a surprise if we were good. It saved big problems and often turned out to be the most wanted item. The best fun were the stockings which I had made and were reused every year. I filled all three. There was a piece of coal, a Clementine, an old penny, a surprise, a game, something useful, something to share and usually a a favourite type of chocolate. The pattern for the stockings was made from a tracing round one of my knee high Wellingtons, so all the gifts had to be small enough to fit inside. Each item was individually wrapped, so there was plenty of shaking, squeezing, sniffing and guessing before they were opened.

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

Your stockings sound much like ours. My mom made them out of red felt with white around the tops and our names stitched into the white fabric. We each got a few Hershey’s Kisses, an apple, an orange, a box of raisins, some paper, pens, tape, and a small game or two. We were allowed to open the stockings as soon as we got up but had to wait HOURS and HOURS to open the wrapped packages under the tree.

Grannymar - December 20, 2014

All out gifts were left under the tree and opened mid morning. The stockings were different, a red a blue and a green with a with a furry border round the top. I did not embroider the names. I asked Elly to write the names for me on gift tags, I think I still have them somewhere… A childish hand with the letter R facing backward!. Wonderful!

nrhatch - December 20, 2014

Oh . . . nothing says “Childhood Joy” like names spelled with the “R” facing backward.

12. Barb - December 19, 2014

Sadly, these days, it’s all about what are you going to give ME. When we were young, we were taught to give as well as receive. I don’t think kids these days even know what a Thank You note is – that’s sad.

nrhatch - December 19, 2014

Because they aren’t in the habit of giving, they don’t even realize the value of acknowledging the gifts they receive. Of course, some parents are no better. Sometimes the only way I know that a package I sent arrived is by checking the USPS Tracking on line.

And, yes, it is SAD!!!

13. Tiny - December 20, 2014

I so agree with the gist of this discussion. I can see the influence of TV marketing on my 4.5 yo GD. Luckily her parents are quite aware of this and are trying their best to limit the damage. I love the way you held the checks. If kids are too busy to keep in touch with you…you’ll also be too busy to think of them at Xmas time, right?

nrhatch - December 20, 2014

I don’t think the trend will end unless and until we counter-balance our competitive ego-minded approach to life with a more cooperative focus.

Instead of “what’s in it for me?” . . . “what’s in it for us?”

Even with blogging, we have a choice ~ are we blogging to GET something? Or to GIVE something? The posts may be the same, but our focus will be different.

Tiny - December 20, 2014

I agree, Nancy. The roots are much deeper. That kind of counter-balancing would change so many other things in the society as well…to the better.

nrhatch - December 20, 2014

And if nothing else . . . parents wouldn’t lose their voices yelling at the refs during Pee Wee Soccer. 😛

14. Holistic Wayfarer - December 20, 2014

It’s parents who make kids selfish.

nrhatch - December 20, 2014

I’m not convinced that parents are the only factor in the equation.

Holistic Wayfarer - December 20, 2014

I was just saying it wasn’t Santa only either. =)

nrhatch - December 20, 2014

Gotcha! I think it’s a serious issue which isn’t going to be solved with a Quick Fix. Parents must be more mindful. Schools need to foster cooperation as well as competition. And marketers need to be reigned in a bit. Ho~Ho~Ho!

15. William D'Andrea - December 20, 2014

Children are naturally selfish. They need to be trained to say “Thank you” and mean it. Of course, parents aren’t the only ones who train children how not to be selfish. What are they being taught in school?

nrhatch - December 20, 2014

What is being taught in schools? COMPETITION. Feeding the Ego. Being FIRST. Etc.

16. William D'Andrea - December 22, 2014

I had that same problem when I was going to High School in the early 1960s.
We were told, “If you want to get ahead in this world, you’ve got to learn how to compete.”
That resulted in the majority of my classmates being unnecessarily nasty to each other, and putting each other down. I remember asking one guy who said something very degrading to me. I asked him why he was talking that way to me, when I’d never said or done anything bad to him.
He said, “You’ve got to learn how to compete.”
I asked, “What are you and I in competition for?”
He was taken aback by my question. He and I weren’t in any kind of contest.
Now I realize that if all you want to do is get ahead, you do have to know how to compete; but if you want to actually accomplish anything, you have to learn how to cooperate, and get along with your fellow employees. That’s what I did. I never got ahead, but I learned how to get along; and it’s worked for me.
The guy at the top may have everything, but he’s always alone. I on the other hand don’t have much, but I do have a good number of friends, both in the flesh and blood world, and on the internet. We know we can count on each other, even if it’s only in a limited way; but what more should we reasonably expect?

nrhatch - December 22, 2014

I don’t know about you, but I expect copious amounts of CHOCOLATE. Especially at Christmas. Ho~Ho~Ho!

Have a Cool Yule!

17. Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com - December 22, 2014

You KNOW I loved this! Thanks for this youtube…. and don’t you just love the “peace-keeping” missiles!

nrhatch - December 22, 2014

Sometimes the spin we put on things is just crazy talk. Glad you enjoyed the video. Quite a telling experiment.


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