How do you know when you are being too materialistic?


For background information, recently, I ordered 15 different things over the internet, all Christmas presents for Christmas next year, and spent under 100 dollars on all of them. Well, when they came and my mother found out she got very angry. She and my father both. They said that I am becoming too materialistic and trying to buy the love of my niece and nephew and sisters with money. I know getting 15 packages in one day is probably a lot, but I am paying my own bills, taking care of my obligations, my credit is good, and I dont like being judged for my spending habits. At what point might my parents be right?


It sounds like your parents are being overly judgmental of you. Buying Christmas gifts for others is an exercise of kindness and generosity. It was your own money and the choice to spend it on others rather than yourself is the opposite of materialistic.


Have you put God first? If you put material things as more important than God and that you tend to use them to solve your problem or achieve your desire, then you are probably materialistic.


Well, this is an opinion. One you should reflect on objectively to see if there may be any truth to it.

It’s an area of prudential judgment. It depends on whether this level of gift giving is normal and reasonable.

If you bought 15 small gifts for 10-15 people, that seems reasonable— or is that 15 gifts for only one or two people? That would be more worrisome.

It seems prudent to buy throughout the year especially if you found things on sale or things that might not be available later and took advantage of buying ahead. I often do that so the shopping occurs all year and not all in November/December or when I see a sale or something that is “right” for a specific person.

If your family typically gives gifts to all family members this doesn’t seem out of line to me.


You are a grown adult paying your way. it doesn’t matter what your parents think.


The gifts were for 7 different people. Evenly distributed amounts for each.


Time to move out?


You have good foresight !
Many people are last second shoppers.
Your parents sound a touch jealous.
When you find out - what would be fun - for another to be gifted - and buy it - cool !
Follow your heart - Christmas and birthdays - are only once a year -
I can appreciate - your parents maybe wanting you to save for a rainy day -
but it’s also - wise to know - all good gifts come from above - that they come from God -
God loves a cheerful giver !


Well I cant say for sure if you are being materialistic. If anything, it just sounds like you are being thoughtful and responsible.

However 15 gifts is a lot. But how many gifts you’re giving to each person may shed some light on your question. If you are giving more than one gift to a person, what is your reason for doing so?


In my family, as the number of nieces and nephews increased, gift exchanges at the big family gathering on Christmas became overwhelming. It did seem to become too materialistic, and it was stressful both in the shopping phase and at the Christmas gathering.

For years we debated whether to scale it down, and how to do it. As the little ones became teens and young adults, we finally decided to do some version of Yankee Swap with an agreed dollar limit. It simplified the process and worked well for us.

Oops. I see this is in the Moral Theology forum. I would answer that it becomes a problem when the gifts become the focus.



Do you give God first place in your life regular Mass ,Family prayers and regular to the sacraments especially confession, as in said in Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.

If you have done it, then you need to be prudent and with proper self in1 Corinthians 14:40 40 but all things should be done decently and in order.


I was waiting for a question about working 60 hours just to support your stuff, living in million dollar house, taking 6 vacations a year, or always having the current model luxury car.

I’m sure you are OK.


I was wondering about gift-giving myself. My grandson recently graduated from the university and found a good job. Do I give him the same as when he was a college student?

I think it is a good thing to realize the fact that he is working and probaby doesn’t need a lot of money anymore as gifts. His birthday is coming up, but I won’t see him because he lives out of town.

As I consider it, I may give him the same along with a card and a letter. But over a period of time, I may have to give less as he gets older and less apt to visit. Sometimes relatives only see you at funerals and weddings, and he may see me again when I die (or not). In which case, if he doesn’t respond to me now, I would think major gift giving would not be necessary.


I sometimes purchase items from overseas to save money so I can buy more things as gifts, and many times I will give some items away to the homeless or poor during these times of year as well. My family thinks that I am doing something immoral because not all these items get as much money as they really deserve, and they site child labor in foreign countries and markets. But I feel I have no control over these things. If I knew a 9 year old was manufacturing my items in that shop I wouldnt buy from them. Somtimes you dont know. I do my best to use my best moral judgement in this matter.


In my family we like home made gifts. They have more meaning. Sometimes we do buy actual things from stores and gift them though. My parents and grandparents, aunts uncles and cousins all dont want gifts. Some arent Christian and thats why. I have some atheist relatives, some Wiccan relatives, and but this is a long story, one that is a firm Satanist, and the best thing to do in a household this religiously diverse, is to give gifts of time, and love, and spiritual boquets, and only give the children who will not understand in my life gifts. That is how we choose to handle it.


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