Is There Science Behind Kids Who LOVE Gifts and Those Who Don’t?

Why do some kids get soooo excited about receiving gifts and some aren’t quite as enthused?  Have you ever noticed that? Is there science behind kids who love gifts, and kids who don’t as much? Do an experiment, if you will.  As you approach the gift-giving season watch the people around you.  Watch their reaction, watch how they get excited (or not), watch how they engage with the whole gift-giving extravaganza.

Let’s look at siblings, Mindy and Josh:

Mindy’s reaction to “present time” goes something like this:

Before she even opens her present she is clenching her fists because she can’t even wait to open it.  She tears the paper off the present and can’t believe that it is exactly what she wanted, a brand new Barbie set. She quickly sets it aside because she knows there are more presents to come and she can’t wait to dive into those too.

Josh’s reaction to “present time”:

Mom,“Come on Josh, finish your breakfast, it’s time to open presents”.  

“Oh, okay mom.” He mumbles as he finishes up and moseys on over.  

Dad smiles with anticipation. “Here is your gift, Josh.”  

Josh smiles. Slowly and meticulously he opens his gift, making sure not to tear the paper. When he finally opens the box, sure enough, it is the new remote controlled car he mentioned months ago.  His reaction– “Oh, thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad. It’s nice.” He starts freeing the car from the package so he can play with it. But Mom’s voice interrupts his thoughts, “Wait, Josh, we have more presents to open”. He says–yep, you guessed it–“Oh, okay mom.”

Gift Reactions and Money Personalities

How could a brother and sister have such different reactions to gifts?  Let me unwrap (yes, pun intended) the science behind it.

You see, Mindy’s Money Personalities are Primary: Spender, Secondary: Risk Taker. How can you tell? Well Spenders LOOOOVE gifts and Risk Takers LOVE lots of new adventures or, in this case, lots of different gifts.  

Josh’s Money Personalities, on the other hand, are Primary: Security Seeker and Secondary: Saver. You can identify his Security Seeker by his handling of the wrapping paper and his Saver is evident when he wasn’t expecting more presents.

Why is this important?  Everyone has 2 Money Personalities. Kids and adults. And they are hard-wired into your DNA just like your height or the color of your eyes. Your children and their Money Personalities are both very different and critical for how they will feel about and use money in their future.  

You may be able to see your child’s 2 Money Personality combination in the way they open their gifts this holiday season. (Want to be sure? Have them take our free, confidential, Money Personality Assessment.)

Keep their preferences in mind and your expectations too when you select gifts for them this year.  To learn about ways to handle a Spenders’ “gimme’s” and how to help a Saver splurge once in awhile, check out our book The 5 Money Conversations To Have With Your Kids at Every Age and Stage – from ages 5-25 and learn how to speak to them about gifts and money in a way they can hear you.

We would love to hear about your gift-giving discoveries in the comments below.

Enjoy this Christmas season!  We have so much to be thankful for!

Make it Happen,

Scott & Bethany Palmer

The Money Couple

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