Author Topic: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)  (Read 8376 times)

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peach2play

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The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« on: January 07, 2013, 02:26:18 PM »
This happened some years ago, but the most recent Freecycle thread reminded me so I will ask you:

Every year, we would go to the tree at church and pick one or two of the angels on there which were tags from kids in need with their Christmas wishes written on there.  One year my mom picked a tag with a kid who asked for a high priced gaming console (think Playstation 3 or XBOX), and coats for his family.  My mom then proceeded to complain the whole ride home about how dare the kid ask for something so expensive esp since this was charity and he should only be asking for things he needs.

My take on it is, it's Christmas, and at Christmas we are asked to dream big so if he wants to ask for an XBOX, let him ask.  If you can't afford his request, you either skip that tag or see if there's a compromise that can be worked out ie not a new gaming system but used.  I'm sure he probably would have been happy to not be living in a shelter and to not worry about where his next meals come from or heat for his family but when you write to Santa, you're supposed to ask for what you want.  What say you eHellions?  Was the less fortunate kid a SS for asking for an expensive gaming system at Christmas or not?

NyaChan

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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2013, 02:29:00 PM »
peach2play, I think a similar topic was addressed where the OP (weeblewobble?) picked a kid with one very expensive request.  For my part, I think if they ask, they are taking on the risk of getting nothing.  Don't necessarily think it is SS unless the child was told not to request gifts valued above a certain amount.

Jovismom

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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 02:32:36 PM »
You may want to look at the following thread.
http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=123712.0

peach2play

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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 04:22:50 PM »
Ahhh didn't see that thread.  Thanks!

Jovismom

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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013, 05:31:02 PM »
You're welcome!   :D

weeblewobble

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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 06:27:12 PM »
I'm the OP in that thread.  FWIW, I just didn't see the request until I'd already taken the case ornament.  I didn't think the kid was an SS for choosing a super-expensive present.  And I didn't have the attitude that he should be grateful for whatever I gave him. I did the best I could for him with the resources I had.

Yvaine

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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2013, 07:05:29 PM »
Ick, I hate the idea that a poor kid shouldn't be allowed to ask for a fun thing, a want rather than a need. I do agree that picking a high-priced item runs the risk of no one being able to buy it for him, but I don't think picking something game- or toy-related is inherently bad. A poor child is still a child.

Amava

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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2013, 07:48:15 PM »
Ick, I hate the idea that a poor kid shouldn't be allowed to ask for a fun thing, a want rather than a need. I do agree that picking a high-priced item runs the risk of no one being able to buy it for him, but I don't think picking something game- or toy-related is inherently bad. A poor child is still a child.

I'm with you. Children should be allowed to wish for something fun.
I think it would be good to steer them away from something too unrealistic, but not from something fun and moderately priced.

blue2000

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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2013, 02:23:32 AM »
Oh, gosh, now this reminds me of a book - can't recall the title, to my shame. It is one of my favourite Christmas books.

It is about a group of kids. Two of them are in foster care, and they get to make a wish. The 6 yr old wants to wish for a family. The social worker stops her and insists she wish for something reasonable. He writes down that she wants a radio, I think? Even though she does not. The older child steals one of the paper stars and writes down her wish because he wants to make her happy. He doesn't realise until later what a disaster this is (the book ends well, but it makes me cry every time).

The social worker in the book irritated me because he decided the child should  wish for a radio. It is no use posting a wish if it is something the child isn't that keen about. OTOH, if they are only interested in expensive/unrealistic things, someone should explain why this isn't going to happen before they post up that wish.
You are only young once. After that you have to think up some other excuse.

Roe

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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2013, 08:37:34 AM »
I don't think it's about poor kids asking for less or that they shouldn't ask for anything fun.

I think it's about the idea that someone, not related to you like your parents or grandparents, buying you a gift and it really shouldn't be a ridiculously expensive one.

When my parents or brothers ask my kids what they want for Christmas, I know they are going to ask for something simple like toys, books or clothes.  (something still "fun" to them but not expensive)

When my DH and I ask them what they want for Christmas, the list is more extravagant.  (Xbox, games, laptop, etc)

I would find it in bad taste to pick up a card from the Angel Tree and find XBOX on the list.  I'd put that one back and look for another one.  I wouldn't mind finding a "want" on the list, within reason.  I just don't think an XBOX, for example, is reasonable.  After all, the games cost a pretty penny. 

Yvaine

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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2013, 08:53:19 AM »
I don't think it's about poor kids asking for less or that they shouldn't ask for anything fun.

I think it's about the idea that someone, not related to you like your parents or grandparents, buying you a gift and it really shouldn't be a ridiculously expensive one.

When my parents or brothers ask my kids what they want for Christmas, I know they are going to ask for something simple like toys, books or clothes.  (something still "fun" to them but not expensive)

When my DH and I ask them what they want for Christmas, the list is more extravagant.  (Xbox, games, laptop, etc)

I would find it in bad taste to pick up a card from the Angel Tree and find XBOX on the list.  I'd put that one back and look for another one.  I wouldn't mind finding a "want" on the list, within reason.  I just don't think an XBOX, for example, is reasonable.  After all, the games cost a pretty penny.

Well, for one, do all kids even know what things cost? I mean, beyond that their parents can't afford it? I remember being a little kid and wanting a whole scad of things for Christmas, and looking back, some of the things I wanted were big ticket items and some were ten bucks. I was equally obsessed with things from all price ranges. I just wanted stuff I thought was neat.

Second, you talk about kids instinctively knowing that they can ask for big ticket items from their parents but not from more distant relatives. If their parents can't afford the big items, how would they learn that rule? It's highly possible that no one is buying them anything, in which case they haven't had much chance to learn gift etiquette. It's not inborn. I think maybe whoever runs the charity could gently steer kids toward lower priced items if they don't think the donors will give that much, but I think it's a little unreasonable to expect a kid who doesn't normally get many gifts to think out a complex rule like "I can't ask for something big because these people aren't related to me." Your children have learned that rule over years of experience and observing what you bought them vs. what their uncles and grandparents bought them.

Also, this thread is mostly addressing the comment by the OP's mom that he should "ask for things he needs," which to me means she thinks he should have asked for socks or something, not a cheaper toy.

Sharnita

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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2013, 09:35:30 AM »
Well, are we even clear what the kid was asked? If he was asked what he wanted from Santa should he realize Santa has budgetary limits? Or if he was told people would get a gift his parents couldn't afford that might have unintetionally misled him. As far as the cost of games many people buy used and I think some libraries even check out games.

Amava

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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2013, 09:41:02 AM »
I have a question, because these "gift trees" are not known in my culture at all.

For those of you in a country where they are common: do the children usually have some sort of guidance by an adult (teacher, monitor, what have you) when they make their wish list?

I really think a bit of "steering" (like I mentioned earlier), a bit of guidance, would help to prevent both frustration with the gifters and disappointment on the children's end...

So, how is this "wish writing" usually done?

(And again, I do think children should be allowed to ask for something "fun", just that someone ought to keep an eye on how realistic the price category of what they are asking for is.  Or if they do have a very pricey wish, encourage them to add more wishes to the list - so that they don't end up with nothing or with something they really don't like.)

Betelnut

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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2013, 09:43:58 AM »
I don't think it's about poor kids asking for less or that they shouldn't ask for anything fun.

I think it's about the idea that someone, not related to you like your parents or grandparents, buying you a gift and it really shouldn't be a ridiculously expensive one.

When my parents or brothers ask my kids what they want for Christmas, I know they are going to ask for something simple like toys, books or clothes.  (something still "fun" to them but not expensive)

When my DH and I ask them what they want for Christmas, the list is more extravagant.  (Xbox, games, laptop, etc)

I would find it in bad taste to pick up a card from the Angel Tree and find XBOX on the list.  I'd put that one back and look for another one.  I wouldn't mind finding a "want" on the list, within reason.  I just don't think an XBOX, for example, is reasonable.  After all, the games cost a pretty penny.

To some people, the price of an XBOX is nothing.  My aunt and uncle live in Bethesda, MD, and go to a wealthy church there.  Believe me, many, if not most, of the people at that church can afford to give a kid an XBOX.  To them it would be the same as a $5 present is for anyone else.  It is all relative.
Native Texan, Marylander currently

Sharnita

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Re: The Giving Tree (or Angel Tree)
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2013, 09:48:54 AM »
Amava, how it is done varies widely. There is no one answer because one churchor chrity might do it differently.