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Brad Pitt Skips Shopping Sprees, Teaches Children the Gift of Giving

12/18/2008 at 10:00 AM ET
Eliot Press/Bauer Griffin

Money can’t buy everything, so the saying goes, and the Jolie-Pitt clan are proving to be a prime example when it comes to their holiday gift buying. Avoiding the craze of expensive presents for his six children — Maddox Chivan, 7, Pax Thien, 5, Zahara Marley, 3 ½, Shiloh Nouvel, 2 ½, and fraternal twins Knox Léon and Vivienne Marcheline, 5 months — Brad Pitt shares with Hello! magazine that he and his partner Angelina Jolie have not given their brood a chance to watch American commercials, which has in turn created a sense of innocence when it comes to extravagant toys. "The kids don’t ask for big gifts for the reason that they don’t see a lot of the American cartoon television, which is packed with all those manipulative commercials for big toys that look so fantastic," explains the actor. For Brad, the logic is quite simple — when his children are exposed to the enticing ads is "when they start asking for the toys," but sensor what they see and "they won’t know they’re there."

While the kids may not be opening stacks of luxurious gifts this Christmas, Brad shares that come Christmas morning, the space under the tree is not empty! In place of boxes and boxes of toys from the stores — as the couple "try to keep the money spent to a minimum" — the children find special presents from each one of their siblings; Not only are they excited, but the gift of giving has become a special time for the proud parents as well.

"The rule is that everyone’s got to make something for someone else, you got to put time into it. Then, when they give to each other, it’s really sweet."

Brad’s new movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, is in theaters December 25th.

Source: Hello!

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Showing 24 comments

Stéph on

What a great idea! Love this family and thgose gorgeous kids.

Brandi on

How cute, we have my sons make gifts for each other too, but they are basically just scribbles since theyre still young.

phoebe on

That’s very cute, when a family has a lot of money, this is a great way to teach them the value of it. I also HATE the adverts that are targeted at children, they are one of the reasons I limit my daughter’s time watching television.

brannon on

Love this idea – and this family!

Mom Of Boys* on

I love the idea but do they not know about or believe in Santa?

finnaryn on

Mom of boys, they might still to Santa gifts because they have said that they celebrate a lot of different cultural holidays. I think what Brad is mainly saying is that the presents are not the focus, but rather the giving. This goes along with the rest of their lives and how they have set up foundations for the kids (or at least Mad and Z so far) to take over as adults.

I just love this family. I know many people say the kids will be screwed up because they don’t have “roots,” but I just don’t see how that is possible. These kids are going to be so caring and thoughtful because that is how they are being raised. The location of the family is not as important as the love in the family.

Nicole on

I think its kind of mean. dont they have a right to believe in Santa Claus? it seems a bit backwards that she would let them play with toy guns, yet they can’t enjoy something like Santa, which for many kids helps them develop their imagination and even a sense of magic…
just saying…

Brooke on

I don’t think that Santa is an integral part of every kid’s childhood. I think they are doing the right thing. The kids are all so culturally diverse, why not deviate from the “normal” customs. Who said you HAVE to believe or talk about Santa?

Alecia on

Nicole how does believing in Santa Claus correlate with with developing one’s imaginination? Chistmas is about CHRIST. As a society, we’ve gotten so far away from it’s meaning and commercialise it so much so we label it X-mas. For my Christmas is about a bunch of gifts, It’s about Jesus & giving back to our community.

Tracey on

He makes no comment about whether or not Santa comes to their house. He said they keep spending to a minimum and focus on making gifts…it does not mean that is all that’s under the tree.

Cyd on

Hi folks

Merry Christmas one and all.

I like seeing pics of the Jolie-Pitt kids and because there is so many of them, I think some of us have seen how many frequent toy shopping trips they go on.

I find Brad saying we avoid buying them expensive gifts etc is a little off.

And no matter how much or little you have, Christmas is the one time of the year when a child can feel totally spoilt.

Artemis on

When did he ever talk about Santa? Its nice to give siblings gifs from each other. Although I hope they actually let them select those gifts and not put them there and just say this is from Z to Pax.

Marie on

Firstly, I love where he’s coming from on this topic. I think it’s a great foundation to build some magical family memories and traditions. I may do something like this with my own family.

Secondly, I take offense at what Nicole said about it being “mean” that they don’t get to believe in santa. We don’t know either way if they do or don’t, so don’t assume. But what I took offense to was that by not doing the “santa thing” is somehow mean to a child. We’re not doing the santa aspect of the holiday. Our son is being raised to know that there is no fat man in a red suit that squeezes down our chimney every year. Instead he’s learning about CHRISTmas and also the traditions other cultures have, such as St. Nicholas. He’s learning that his presents come from his family with much love behind them. He has a great little imagination, even for being “deprived” of believing in santa, thankyouverymuch.

tracey on

I agree – not every child knows about Santa like you or I would know about Santa. Imagination and fun does not only come from events like Christmas …

Christmas should not be about ‘Santa’ spoiling a child, in my opinion. I much prefer their style of learning about the gift of giving, making each other happy.

UggaMugga.com on

I’m not quite sure how telling your children to believe in someone that doesn’t exist builds their imagination.

You’re INSTRUCTING them to do it and you’re TELLING them he’s REAL…they’re not IMAGINING anything.

I see no correlation in the two.

homefly on

I understand where he’s going with the “don’t show them the commercials on TV and they won’t ask for the stuff” idea. However, my kids don’t watch the TV commercials either. They still ask for stuff. Why? They have playdates at other kid’s houses and regular friends they see on a near daily/weekly basis who share with them what they like, etc.

From watching how the Jolie/Pitts travel and don’t have a stable home where they spend more than a couple of months at a time at, I don’t think they do have consistent and regular contact with other kids, much less visiting at other kids houses.

He seems kind of smug about it, but to me it just shows what a bubble they live in.

Anna Kate on

Nicole, I can’t resist asking this: Don’t YOU think it’s mean to make your children believe in someone who’s not real, only to have to reveal to them years later that you lied to them when they were little?

Jo Ann v. on

I grew up in countries where there were no winter, no cold, no snow and not even chimneys. So having the idea of a big white old man getting in by the chimney just made it plain unreal. I’ve never believed in Santa, no matter what we were taught in school, and in some countries, that’s just nonsense as well. Not to forget that the Jolie-Pitts are raising the children multicultural, in Africa, there is *no* Santa (I’m African).
BTW, in the post, there is no mention about Santa or not…

Mary on

Funny, last time he was criticized for giving his mother an expensive gift and now he is criticized for not giving his children expensive gifts and not allowing Sant Claus (where does it say that they don’t do Santa Claus anyway?). He just cannot win with some people.

He has said they like France because the children have friends there, which sounds like they visit each other. This family is not just photos, but real lives and we have no idea what they do when they are not photographed. When was the last time you even saw their children? Months ago, so who knows who they play with, what they do and how they live their lives.

Loren on

Their was no mention of Santa. The children are part of a large family so they will probably get presents from Aunts, Uncles, grandparents and their parents friends. No need for Brad or Angie to do much for Christmas. Like another poster mentioned they buy toys and things throughout the year anyway. So his idea of emphasizing making gifts for each other makes good sense for them. Probably what they make is the most special. Since I think they are going to get(a lot of) stuff for Christmas anyway :)

yoco on

Last year Brad talked about staying up late wrapping presents for Christmas on Larry King. He said each child had his/her own color wrapping paper so those may be the gifts from Santa. Also Angie mentioned playdates in Germany in her interview on BBC,she said Shiloh learned some German from a friend. Angie also spoke about making Easter baskets last year.Everytime they visit NY that go to the art store so arts and crafts and making gifts is what they do . Also I”ve noticed they often go to bookstores.

JustKira on

I grew up in a STRICT Christian household. For Christmas we got three gifts because we were told that is how many Jesus got. We were always grateful just to get those three gifts because we were also poor…Christmas was about being with our family and Christ, never presents. Our Church served dinner on Christmas Eve and Breakfast on Christmas day, we were more excited about making pancakes for the homeless then opening gifts!..Santa was never part of the equation….We knew about Santa because of our classmates, but we all just assumed he was there for whomever believed in him….My mom use to say some families need Santa to celebrate Christmas, but we do just fine on our own.

homefly on

When was the last time you even saw their children? Months ago, so who knows who they play with, what they do and how they live their lives.

Sure, we don’t know the particular ins and outs of their lives, but we do know that unless you are adopting best friends for your kids (which they may be doing), no parent in their right mind is going to loan the Jolie-Pitts their kids for a long enough period of time for the kids to get to know each other as close friends. They don’t stay in one place long enough for the kids (especially Maddox and Knox who are older) to form good long standing relationships with any other kids outside of their immediate family. They never stay in one place for more than a few months, and then they move on. They almost never go back to the same places, either. New Orleans? Yes, but they only visit there perhaps once a year (and for only short period of time).

I’ve never had a problem with the way the Jolie-Pitts raise their babies, but having sons that are the same age as Maddox and Knox, I can say that her school-age children are living highly unconventional lives compared to even their celebrity peers. They do live in a bubble, and consequently Mr. Pitt has very little authority when it comes to pontificating about his kid’s exposure to outside influences.

homefly on

Oops, I meant Maddox and PAX. All my boys names end with the same letter, too. It’s terribly confusing at times…

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