When I was a kid, most of the gifts I got for Christmas were basic essentials, like shoes, socks and other clothes items. When I needed a new pair of shoes, my parents would say that I had to wait until my birthday or Christmas. Over the last 30- years of prosperity in America, gift giving has migrated to mostly toys and fun items while basic essentials are bought whenever they are needed.
This year, my wife and I started to reverse this trend by giving about half basic essentials and half toys. As the recession deepens, we are probably going to move farther and farther away from giving toys to giving more essentials as gifts. For example, last week we bought our 9 and 7 year olds' new winter coats for next year and usually we would just give them their coats at the start of winter. But, we are leaning towards giving them their coats as a gift.
Has the recession changed the way you give gifts?