Most of the children in Japan look forward to New Year's wishes from their parents, grandparents, and other relatives. On the other hand, the adults who are in the position to give but no room in their budget don't look forward to the day. When I was little, needless to say, it was a happy day. I envied my friends at the same time because they received cash from rich family members more than ten to several hundred times. But, did it make my friends truly happy?
Japanese New Year -Shogatsu-
It's an annual celebration in Japan for 3 days in a row starts from January 1st, every year. As we have a special term for "New Year's Day" to be called "Ganjitsu". In this New Year celebration period, Japanese people eat traditional foods, such as Osechi, Ozoni, Mochi, Sashimi, and Sushi. Relatives gather at their parents' houses, eat together, and talk about what they have been doing. This is the time where their kids have chances to get cash gifts from relatives.
Nowadays -Economic inequality-
New Year makes us in a party mood, and kids have loose lips. The total amount of cash and wish list using this budget become a popular topic of conversation. When I was an elementary school student, my classmate, whose father was a famous medical practitioner and rich in my city, received more than 1,000 dollars and bought several cassettes of game. I didn't join the conversation to avoid feeling sad.
After experiencing to raise my own kids, I came to think my classmate was actually not a happy one. Does it come from my warped disposition when I was a child? I won't deny it because I envied him so much!
Too much cash "Otoshidama"! Giving such big money will many chances away from children, I think.
I give a monthly allowance to my daughter to learn managing her money and hope her to acquire wisdom by making ends meet in a limited budget.
One of her friends, a rich girl, went to Disneyland, movie theaters and shopping malls every weekend. It’s obviously beyond her monthly allowance to my eyes, at least several times. How did she afford that? I figure out the source of money was Otoshidama. It ruined the educational plan.
Furthermore, this rich friend of my daughter couldn't turn down all invitations from friends for the reason that she was run out of her monthly allowance, like my daughter did, and ended up losing her time to do homework and preparation for school exams. I'll leave her school record up to your imagination.
Traditional custom makes our mind frozen
The cash gift is a traditional custom, especially in Japan and China. We know too much cash is not good for children, but we sometimes stop thinking about it when this money comes through the traditional route as the Otoshidama.
Who is the most immoderate person as a cash gifter? Generally speaking, Your parents! The grandparents usually indulge their grandchild. It's hard to turn down their good intentions because they usually help to raise kids without return. Especially for busy parents, it's important to have a good relationship with your parents. While the baby-sitting service is not very common in Japan yet.
To digress a little, my parents didn't give me such big cash when I was a little. What changed them since then?
Parents make savings accounts for your kids to deposit their extra money in preparation for unexpected expenses in the future. Your kids might have already known how to withdraw it. If you fail to persuade not to use it for just leisure, freeze the bank account so that your kids can't withdraw their money and use it for tuition fees by parents.