Thursday, December 15, 2011

The New Christmas "Gift?"

I'm a bit confused.  It is December, right?  Not April 1st?

I recently broke my Facebook fast to post a link to this blog post.  I do have a lot of friends and family that I thought would appreciate seeing Baby #3's birthday pictures, and for some of them, my only way of communicating is through Facebook.  (I haven't been successful in gathering everyone's snail mail or email addresses yet, for various reasons).   I logged on, reactivated my account, posted the link, and will probably deactivate my account next week, so that there's enough time for people to see it on their newsfeed (some of them only log on once a week).  I've been pretty disciplined in not logging on and spending hours on FB this time around, and have tried to resist getting involved in controversial debates (which I have not done, by the way - a BIG deal for me).    I have, however, scanned my newsfeed a couple of times.

I've been a bit disturbed.

Multiple Facebook friends have posted a link that looks like this:

Curious, I watched one of them yesterday.

I wish I hadn't.

Apparently, the new "funny" thing to do is to give your child - often younger than my own children, who are pretty little - a terrible present and then videotape their reactions.  Some of the gifts are dangerously terrible - rotten food, raw meat, raw eggs, etc.  The kids not only handle the items, but I watched one girl try to EAT a piece of bad fruit.  (Think: moldy, brown, mushy)

How is this FUNNY?

These children, trusting of their parents, are told that they can open a gift incredibly early (Christmas is still almost two weeks away - a lifetime in the eyes of some of these littler ones).   They're excited, incredibly  happy, and so grateful for the chance to open a gift.  And then they are emotionally crushed:  By the very people that are supposed to be protecting them from this kind of experience.  Their parents.

Again, I ask, how is this funny?

Is it funny to watch your own child's hope and joy crushed?  Is it funny to twist someone else's emotions and feelings like this?  A child, who trusts the adults around him/her, who relies on them for protection and safety....mercilessly turned into the butt of a joke.  I'll be blunt.  It disgusts me.

It seems that everywhere I turn - even on CNN - I'm seeing ways to "fool" the recipient of your Christmas gift giving.  Now, I realize that this has always been around - putting gifts in boxes of the wrong size or in multiple layers of boxes has always been there.  I would argue, however, that there is a HUGE difference between something like that and what I am seeing recently.  

That difference?  It used to be that, even though you would use a box of a "wrong" size, the gift inside was actually a gift.  It was still a product or item that you thoughtfully picked out for the recipient, one that you were hoping that they would like and enjoy.  It wasn't a raw piece of food, or an electronic that has absolutely NO purposefully use.  It was an item that the recipient would cherish or appreciate.

At what point did the reason for gift-giving switch from pleasing the recipient to pleasing the gift-giver

Don't we still teach our children that it's not about the actual gift - it's the thought that went into it?  I know my husband and I still do.  We do prep our children when they open gifts in public, and I know that we're not the only ones who do so.  We teach them that, even if they already have the gift they just received, or if it's not something that they truly like, the point of the gift-giving was the thought and care that the giver put into finding that present.  We teach our children that the care and love that went into the gift is more important than the actual item they are holding in their hands. 

What does it teach our children - and our society, since these videos are all over the internet and the TV - when the thought behind the gift is one of ridicule and selfishness?  These gifts aren't being chosen or given to brighten the recipient's day.  They're being chosen to get the most emotional effect out of our children or our friends - they're being chosen not for the recipient's pleasure, but for the givers, at the expense of the recipient's feelings and trust.

I'm truly disgusted.

Parents, stop this nonsense.  Seriously.  Your children will NEVER appreciate their video being all over the internet and the media to see.  They will NEVER find it funny that their own parents - who are supposed to protect, nurture, and cherish their children - are instead ridiculing and bullying them for the entire world to see.

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

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