Last Thursday on Facebook we shared a listener's dilemma and invited you to give advice. Here was the problem: "I have a 15-year-old nephew who says he doesn't believe in God or Christmas in general, but still expects a present." She doesn't want to buy him one because he doesn't believe in the reason, but she also feels obligated. Here's what YOU said:

  • I don't buy nieces and nephews Christmas presents period. That's up to the parents. And I never feel obligated to buy anybody a present. I do it because I want to.
  • There's never an obligation to give a gift! You give them to celebrate the season, to celebrate a person... entitlement should have nothing to do with it.
  •  He shouldn't expect to get a gift for a holiday he doesn't believe in. He has the right to decide what he believes in but doesn't have the right to demand a gift.
  • It depends on his actual attitude. If it's greedy, then no. But I believe Christmas is more than just a religious holiday; I believe it's about family.
  • I think that people need to take a step back from the situation and look at it from a broader perspective... We don't know his story, we don't know his life. At 15 years old a kid is really coming into his own and learning about the world. He is developing his own sense of right and wrong and trying to figure out how things work. Yes, the argument can be made that Christmas is only a Christian celebration and only about God. But these days that is not true. There are many people who celebrate Christmas who do not believe in God. If this is right or wrong it's not for us to judge. Additionally if this child is struggling in his faith, will his family giving up on him not further his believe that there's no reason to believe? I could be talking about Santa Claus just as easily as I am talking about God. If your 6 year old told you that he did not believe in Santa anymore and thus did not believe in Christmas would you give him no presents? Christmas is about family and love. I urge the aunt not to forget her nephew on Christmas. She can speak with him and tell him that her beliefs are as are they are , but in the end she needs him to know that she loves him no matter what.
  • He gets nothing.
  • Christmas shouldn't just be about presents. Instead of a gift, she should give him a gift of her time. Pick him up and take him somewhere they can spend time together. That would be more meaningful than something materialistic. And maybe he will open up about why he feels the way he does. Even if he doesn't, quality time with someone is never wasted.
  • It's important to get past our own feelings towards this and look at another's... What if the part he's agreeing upon is the exchange of gifts. This makes him come off as a bratty child with a sense of entitlement. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. But as his aunt, what are her thoughts as to gift giving? If she believes in the "spirit of giving" then this shouldn't be an issue. She should do it with the love of an aunt to her nephew with love in her heart to him because she wants to do something for him. Stop judging the kid. You don't know what he's living with or going through. He could be hurting in a way and this is how it's coming out to distance himself. Bottom line is this: The giver should check herself based upon what I said and what she believes is the reason behind the giving of gifts. At the very least she needs to spend some time with him and invest in him and her relationship with him. Our youth face and go through a lot -- more then we did -- believe it or not. It's too easy to make a judgement. Compassion is going to go a lot farther.
  • Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. Giving presents dates back to Germany, which calls Santa Clause "Christkind," which means Christ child. If he doesn't believe in God then he doesn't get to celebrate Christmas, which means no traditions in the Christmas sense. P.S. Parents need to start taking him to church.