Zee had her 6th birthday party yesterday, 2 weeks after her birthday, AND after we already celebrated in Disney World and went shopping at American Girl Place. I think I've outed myself as an overly indulgent parent here. Her party was at a little gymboree kind of place. Her BFFs were there, and that's all that mattered. That and the presents. She kept saying she couldn't wait to get more presents!
Zee opened her loot after we got home, and got an unbelievable load of gifts. Apparently I am the lamest gift-giver ever. I tend to spend $15 or so for a classmate's party. Zee got a couple of $25 gift cards, and a Barbie guitar that looked very expensive. It is a challenge to keep the kids grounded and not focused on the stuff. Yet we keep giving them more stuff! I am as guilty as the grandparents here, I admit it. I see a tiny plastic cat I know she'd love, and I pick it up, even thought we already bought all her presents.
I am trying to instill a sense of gratitude, and she will be sending thank you notes to everyone. But the kids are growing up in a material world (sorry to channel Madonna), and they compare and contrast who has more. At some point in the last couple of years, money has become a topic the kids discuss: who is "rich," who has the most toys, etc. Having too much doesn't seem to compute. I will continue to try to create generous and kind kids. I will keep having them help sort out things to donate to Goodwill, and keep talking about people and entire cultures that are less fortunate than we are. But I don't know how to decrease the influence of peers and their focus on wealth.