Shopping for TV-Free Kids - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 03-30-2008, 10:54 PM - Thread Starter
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I wanted to start a thread on this, because my daughter's birthday was on friday and we went through all the present-buying last week, and it got me thinking.

Charlotte hasn't had TV for a few years now (she's 10), although she watches videos on the internet. She likes Japanese stuff, usually fan-subtitled, sometimes fairly obscure, so her viewing habits aren't really inserting her into American consumer culture. She's also homeschooled.

I found that it threw a lot of the people we knew into a bit of a tizzy that she doesn't have "brands" that she likes. She isn't "into" anything that a kid might see in commercials. Shopping for her is actually a bit of a chore, because she doesn't have a list of things she wishes she had at her fingertips.

And this got me thinking about the virtual-Christmas-list that a lot of my friends' kids seem to have in their minds. You know, like they know in April that they want this or that Cool Thing for Christmas. They know down to the model number. And I'm not saying this is a bad thing, but it was kind of nice to get to buy things for her that we thought she might like, but hadn't necessarily lobbied for. It made the gift-giving feel less forced, somehow.

Anyway, I wanted to know if anyone else had experienced their TV-free kids relating to consumer culture differently?

(FWIW, we got her silk headbands, unbroken geodes, and a motorized solar system model that shines the constellations on the ceiling.)
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#2 of 7 Old 03-31-2008, 04:19 AM
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At our house we are big on 'memories and memberships' for gifts. As in a special 'date' to do something fun with an Aunt or something or a membership to a museum/zoo type of thing.

Go Green I don't vax either, why mess with perfect?
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#3 of 7 Old 03-31-2008, 11:53 PM
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Having grown up TV-free myself, and definitely going to be bringing my daughter up the same way (right now it feels like she's too young to officially "count"!), the answer is an emphatic yes! I also have a bevy of homeschooled, TV-free nieces and nephews (and two non-homeschooled, non-TV-free, but still nice kids), and their relationship to the consumer culture is also, well, pretty much non-existent except through in-laws. I was wondering if the consumer culture has actually become more prevalent since I was a kid, since EVERYTHING seems to be brand- or Disney-related now. But then I wonder, is that just because of where we tend to shop? Because my nieces and nephews have some really interesting stuff.

DD 7/07 DS 1/11

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#4 of 7 Old 04-01-2008, 07:14 AM
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I do think it really depends on where you shop though I do know not everyone has the luxury of choice in their area.
We are lucky that there are two absolutely brilliant traditional toy shops near us and we don't even need the car to get to them!

Barring that, there's always books or art and craft supplies. Experiences are fabulous as well.

Like the OPs daughter, mine also doesn't have a list of wants and we have to guess what she'd like for birthdays and such. She'll see things she's interested in but she doesn't covet stuff. People usually ask what she'd like, especially since family doesn't live near us so they can't see what she'd into. I'll usually tell them what she's been doing and what her current likes are and they go from there.
Everyone is aware that we are TV and character free so they know to go with that.

To the OP, the gifts sound fabulous! We have been considering a solar system projector as well, they are so cool!
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#5 of 7 Old 04-02-2008, 11:42 PM
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I see how an older kid could be tough. For mine, who's 4, there are still plenty of noncommercial toys out there, although I buy a lot of stuff things online. She's really crazy about the gift store at our natural history museum, so I get ideas when we go there. The hardest thing is giving suggestions to relatives.

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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#6 of 7 Old 04-07-2008, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
The hardest thing is giving suggestions to relatives.
ITA! I still have to figure this one out. I've tried everything
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#7 of 7 Old 04-09-2008, 04:22 AM
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my kids are odd at christmas, birthdays etc, because they havn't seen advertising, and it is strange trying to see them articulate lists. ie once my son asked for a huge box of ice cream sandwiches, lol.

it's like they will ask for whatever comes to mind, whatever they see at that moment. if we look at a catalogue they just say they want everything.

we don't have tv but we DO watch lots of movies, i would say an average of 2 a week. ie friday night in jammies. we just let them see star wars for the first time and it was so cool to share that with them.

anyway....not to compare them with other kids, but they seem to be happy with any old thing. they LOVE all the disney plastic crap, but are equally thrilled with gorgeous craft supplies, homemade things, musical stuff, books, clothes, etc. they seem easy to please. i guess kids who watch lots of tv might be the same, although a bit easier to disappoint if they had some specific toy in mind that they had seen advertized.

although when my son turned 4 he was in the middle of unwrapping something and said, "this better NOT be underwear!" lol. it wasn't.
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