13 Simple Luxuries We Take For Granted That These Poor Children Couldn’t Afford

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Childhood is a time of wonder, imagination, and desires. But what happens when you grow up in less fortunate circumstances? We scoured a social media thread for insights and found that many users reminisced about the simple things that felt like grand luxuries during their childhood. From dining experiences to the smell of “rich” people and the thrill of Christmas presents, their stories are heartwarming and, at times, chuckle-worthy. Let’s journey through these treasured memories with a touch of humor and a lot of nostalgia.

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#1 Dining Out at McDonald’s

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For many, dining out at a restaurant or grabbing a meal at McDonald’s was akin to a grand feast. Some users shared how this experience was a rare treat during their childhood. The ambiance and excitement of receiving a Happy Meal toy were as delightful as the food itself.

#2 The Book Fair Bounty

KYIV, UKRAINE - APR 21: Unidentified girls reading books at children booth of the 6th Festival BOOK ARSENAL on April 21, 2016. Guests of the fair were writers Lars Svendsen, Vigdis Hjorth, Etgar Keret
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“Our school knew who couldn’t participate. They had some donors to help. We could get 1 book and a pencil. It was the best thing ever!!!”

Having money to spend at the school book fair was a luxury for some users. While others picked out books to their heart’s content, they might have had to make do with what they had. It was a place where dreams and stories could be purchased, and the ability to do so was a cherished privilege.

#3 Rustic Camping Adventures

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Some families found creative ways to have fun without breaking the bank. Going on vacations meant rustic camping trips where fast food was off the menu. Users vividly recalled sitting outside McDonald’s, enjoying homemade sandwiches on the way to their destination. These experiences showcased the ingenuity of their parents in creating memorable journeys.

#4 Gambling Addiction

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The thrill of winning at the horse track might have brought shiny new gadgets and gizmos into some users’ homes. However, the joy was short-lived as these items would soon be pawned for more bets. It’s a rollercoaster of luxury and loss, all from the racetrack winnings.

#5 “Getting Seconds” and Potlucks

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Some users had a revelation when they attended potluck dinners as a child. The concept of “getting seconds” was a mystery until they saw others loading their plates with more food. It’s a heartwarming testament to how resourceful families can be when sharing meals and making every bite count.

#6 The Scent of Luxury

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“Conversely, everything I had smelled like cigarettes. Mom was a smoker.”

Places, cars, and people that smelled nice were a source of fascination for many users. The clean and distinct aroma of “richness” was often associated with leather, fresh laundry, and bleach. It’s a testament to how sensory experiences can shape our perceptions of luxury, even in the absence of material wealth.

#7 Family Dinner Time

Tired father with laptop and little kids sitting on sofa around
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“I was about 5 and I remember my dad doing this. He would sit at the table and talk to us about our days while we ate. He always said he wasn’t hungry but would eat whatever was left when everybody was done. It still makes me tear up to think about it.”

Eating dinner with your parents wasn’t a daily occurrence for everyone. Some users remembered a time when kids ate separately, and the reasons behind it were easy to guess. The luxury of family dinner time became a cherished memory, emphasizing the importance of togetherness and shared meals.

#8 Extracurricular Economics

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“My extracurricular activity was getting a job. Couldn’t ever play sports or try dance because it cost too much.”

For some, the concept of extracurricular activities was a luxury they couldn’t afford. Instead, they embraced the world of jobs and responsibilities at a young age. Sports and dance classes had price tags attached, making them out of reach, but the lessons of hard work and resourcefulness were invaluable.

#9 Day-Old Delights

Father and son cooking hot dog. Food.
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“We thought of them as a special treat. We had no idea they were the cheapest food she could find at the end of the month when money was tight.”

Day-old hot dog buns were transformed into crispy, buttery treats by resourceful parents. The simple pleasure of these repurposed buns, broiled to perfection, brought joy to many. It’s a testament to how creativity and love can turn the humblest of ingredients into a delightful luxury.

#10 The Fresh Fruit Fantasy

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“When I was growing up, you got an apple and an orange once or maybe twice a week and all veg came in cans and were so mushy. When I buy and cook asparagus or artichoke, I feel rich. When I buy 2 cartons of raspberries I feel like absolute royalty. I make enough to shop this way whenever I want, but I’ll never shake the feeling of gratefulness.”

Fresh fruit was a luxury for some users, who still consider it a rare treat even as adults. Berries, in particular, were viewed as an unnecessary extravagance compared to fine chocolate and steak. This perspective sheds light on how scarcity during childhood can influence one’s view of indulgence.

#11 The Exotic Appeal of Pizza

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Growing up in a small town with limited dining options made pizza feel exotic and rare. Some users couldn’t indulge in this Italian delight as frequently as they’d like, and when they did, it was a cherished experience. The simple act of ordering a pizza turned into a special occasion.

#12 Christmas Present Wishes

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“One year for Christmas, my brother and I were flooded with toys like we’d never seen before. Most of the tags said “from your friends at x school”. We thought they were all from our one or two actual friends and that they were rich. I had an oh s*** moment a few years later when the school asked for Christmas donations (toys, cards, store gift cards) to give to underprivileged kids.”

Getting presents for Christmas was a luxury that some users didn’t always have. It was a challenge when peers asked what they received, and the answer was often “nothing.” The holiday season, with its anticipation and hope, could be bittersweet for those who didn’t receive many gifts.

#13 Central Air Conditioning Comfort

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“We lived in Oklahoma without an air conditioner. If we would have had one, we wouldn’t have been able to afford the electricity to run it. Temps would get to 100° plus during the summer and we’d hang out in the shade outside because it was cooler than being in the house.”

Central air conditioning was viewed as a symbol of wealth by some users during their childhood. Those lucky enough to have it were considered well-off in their eyes. The luxury of a consistently comfortable indoor climate was a status symbol that left a lasting impression.

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Anuradha Perera