Like most parents, we are looking at Christmas with a mixture of excitement and dread.
The excitement of past Christmas memories, and wanting the ‘perfect’ Christmas experience for our children. And dread – well, because some bugger has to pay for this dream.
MiniM decided one day last week, I do not know why, but she decided she was going to write her Christmas letter.
When she appeared in the lounge with a sheet of A2 paper, my heart sank. This was going to be the list to end all lists!
And it was. She sat with the Argos catalogue, and I think wrote out the names for all the girls toys for her age group. There was not one piece of that sheet of paper that wasn’t covered.
You will of course see that she has been a good girl this year, but then she demonstrates just how greedy and selfish she intends to be this Christmas. (We have since amended our Christmas letter to a more manageable level).
I think back to letters I wrote to Father Christmas. I asked for maybe one or two things, a bike, or a meccano set or something, and then on Christmas morning I was amazed and grateful at Father Christmas’s generosity.
Have we, as a generation, encouraged our children to expect more from Father Christmas? How many children this year will be getting iPads, mobile phones, laptops DVD’s or other technology? These presents are all well and good, but they tend to stifle a child’s natural imagination.
This is my opinion only. I would rather MiniM played with a cardboard box and ‘made’ it into a ship, a car, a boat, a space rocket, a fort, or a dolls house. With a good imagination, that’s what the humble box can become. And it’s cheaper!
But, and this is significant, cardboard boxes aren’t cool. iPads etc are. I know I am not going to win this argument.
Our children come under significant pressure from both their peers, and that huge marketing and advertising machine. From September(ish), they are attacked with the Christmas adverts on TV. Then from November, their peers start to talk about Christmas. “What are you getting?”, “I’m getting blah blah” and it goes on and on and on.
Not wanting our children to be targeted by bullies or to be seen as different, we are forced to climb on the bandwagon, and plan to buy some of these goodies.
Some parents struggle to afford to buy all the latest gadgets and gizmos, but are forced to put themselves in debt to enable their children to keep up with the “Katies” and “Johnny’s” of this world.
I have been trying to encourage MiniM and MrsM to consider a more thrifty, but thoughtful Christmas present list. This will bring us back to the true value of Christmas rather than the one that is sold to us by the Retail giants.
My one concession this year is a trip away, that will form a major part of MiniM’s present, but will inject a bit of Christmas magic. I’ll tell you all about it when we are back from the trip.
………. I live in hope that one day, her Christmas present will include a request for a large cardboard box.