The “Collectors” and the “Concentrators”: How Children React to Lots of Presents

Welcome to the December 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Greatest Gifts

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have suggested go-to gifts and gifting experiences for the holiday season for all your loved ones.


How Do Your Children React to

Lots of Presents on Holidays?

What are your kids like when they see a mass of presents? After the surprise and awe, I have found that different kids react quite differently. Some have already snuck into the room with the gifts and cased out the joint. They know where there presents are even though they act surprised. They also know where everyone else’s gifts reside.

“The Collectors”

Some children love to rush through all their gifts. They rip the wrapping paper off with a flourish and find their favorite toys setting aside the clothes, socks, and other essentials. Favorites at all ages seem to be Legos of every kind, even when they already have lots of them, Richard Scary books, easy to put together puzzles, and if they are craft lovers new kinds of paints reign supreme.
Superhero figures and favorite dolls are also a big plus and collectors group and categorize them and count how many they have in their new stash before adding up their total collection. For some a favorite video game or movie is a hit, but the point is, they don’t spend time investigating, they count! In fact, they count who has more of what!
These kids are collectors. They want to collect more than any other child around. They get on the phone or text if they are techy and compare who has what and how much of each.

“The Concentrators”

Other children seem to be the opposite. They take off the wrappings with some gentleness and concentrate on each new experience. If it’s a Lego set, they take out the instructions right then and there, clear a space to work, and build their object. It’s as if they never saw the wide array of other choices to investigate.
These children can take all day or even several days to discover what they’ve been given. They’re a sight to behold. It’s not that they are more grateful than their counterparts, they are just very focused. Days later, they may discover something wrapped and yet untouched unless some adult who just can’t hold back brings the other gifts to their attention.

Gifts Both Collectors and Concentrators Avoid

Both types of kids seem to dispense rather quickly with sweaters, socks, shirts, tights, slippers, and pajamas. They seem to realize these are necessities but they are just not any fun! The polite types say their “thank-you” and go on their merry way.

Gifts Both Collectors and Concentrators Appreciate

Some parents and grandparents spend endless time creating gifts for the children from home made scarves, blankets, sweaters, hats, crafts, and boxes of cookies and candies. Children seem to appreciate this effort. They feel loved and cared for.

Children know these things take time and are a way of showing love specially designed for them individually. They usually take time out from their toy and game discoveries to give the homemaker a genuine hug. Later you find that home knit blanket neatly folded on the end of their bed, perhaps organized by mom, but appreciated in its special place. Months later, the blanket is still there and still appreciated.

Kids know how to love and feel loved and this is important and probably more long lasting than any of the other gifts.

Favorite Gifts

The most favorite gifts are the ones the kids probably asked for because they fit their age and interests. These gifts can’t be listed because they are so individual. The first baseball mitt, the first two-wheeler, the favorite doll , the first set of make-up, a unique cool sweater. The child knows somebody out there really zeroed in on what was important to them.

This is what gift giving is about: knowing you are special to someone who not only loves you, which is obviously important, but someone who knows you and accepts you for who you are. That’s the gift to spend time searching for. That’s the gift that gives.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon December 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • I Want to Buy All of the ThingsThe Economama discusses whether there’s a way to buy all of the baby stuff she desperately wants for her daughter without spoiling her.
  • The “Collectors” and the “Concentrators”: How Children React to Lots of Presents — Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., at Parental Intelligence discusses two types of children who receive gifts: the “Collectors” who rip open the wrappings on their their presents and love to count them and the “Concentrators” who spend endless time on each gift ignoring the array of presents around them.
  • The Joy of Giving and Receiving — Ellen at Life With Lucien shares her three-year-old son’s new favorite toy for imaginative play.
  • 10 DIY Gifts You Still Have Time To Make — A roundup of 10 DIY gifts that don’t take much time to make from Doña at Nurtured Mama.
  • Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaves – A Delicious Holiday Gift — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares one of her favorite recipes to make and give during the holidays. This Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf is much anticipated by her friends and loved ones. Learn how to create this delicious gift from the heart!
  • Christmas gifts for dreamers — Tat at Mum in search shares her favourite books and resources that have helped her get inspired and move forward towards her dreams this year.
  • Natural parent’s baby shower registry — Since she had everything already for baby #3, Lauren at Hobo Mama is amusing herself by building a list of essentials and a few fun fripperies for a natural-parenting nursery.
  • Gifts of love — Charlie at PeelingClementines recalls her favourite Christmas gift of all time and thinks about how to add this magic to her little one’s first Christmas.
  • The Gift of Letting Go — Dionna at Code Name: Mama has discovered that when you’re a perfectionist, sometimes the best gift is simply releasing yourself from self-imposed expectations.
  • Montessori Inspired Gifts for Babies and Toddlers — Rachel at Bread and Roses shares gift ideas that were a hit with her son last year and what’s on her wishlist for this year.
  • Giftmas Ideas for KidsMomma Jorje offers an original gift idea that hasn’t been overdone and is good for the kids!
  • Favorite CDs for Babies and Toddlers {Gift Guide} — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her family’s favorite CDs for babies and toddlers, some of which were favorites of her children and are now favorites of her granddaughter.
  • The Birthday Turned Christmas Wish ListThat Mama Gretchen forgot to share her birthday wish list this fall, but she’s still wishin’ and hopin’ a present or two will arrive for Christmas!
  • 8 Thoughtful Non-Toy Gifts for Baby — Is your family asking for hints for presents to give baby? Moorea, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, offers this list of ideas that won’t overwhelm your little one with toys.