O.K. unpopular opinion alert. I spoil my children at Christmas and I’m more than happy to. Before you light the torches and sharpen the pitchforks let me explain why.
I was doing some online Christmas shopping the other day and lamenting how difficult a 9 year going on 18 year old is to buy for. I saw all the toys on offer 2 for £15 on things like play kitchen accessories, dress up and frozen ice palace playsets and had a sudden pang of…nostalgia I suppose. For the time when I could buy my little girl all those kinds of toys. It felt a little bit like regret. Until I realised I had nothing to regret because I did buy her all those toys. I indulged myself in a daydream of some memories. One memory of her in a pair of over sized dress up pink heels and a blue princess dress pouring tea for teddies that she had set up in a circle on a blanket in the living room. The many ice creams bought from the play kitchen and playing shops on Christmas morning with a till that had a little microphone.
Fear not, that’s not the holey argument I’m going for here. As we all should know children don’t need ‘stuff’ to make wonderful memories. I also can remember her playing drums on my saucepans with a wooden spoon wearing a babygro and stripy wellies and thinking it was the best thing ever. We loved nature walks and would go outside together in all weathers to spot insects and collect leaves to make pictures.
No Money Needed
Children genuinely are happy when they’re well loved and that is the be all and end all. No matter if your Christmas doesn’t look like other people’s or even how you wanted it to look. I know from personal experience that Christmas can be made wonderful with next to no budget.
That Bloody Facebook Meme
But this post that has been doing the rounds for a few years now never fails to wind me up. The one imploring families to be careful about what they tell their kids santa brought, or even worse to not ‘go mad’ at Christmas with the amount of presents they buy. You probably know the one. And the reason it pisses me off so much is because it’s an attempt at manipulation. It aims to make parents feel guilt or shame about how they celebrate Christmas. Specifically it pisses me off because I had little as a child and now I can spoil my own kids I bloody well will whether you like it or not. Every time I see it I just want to write a big cross on it in red pen. Like a really badly failed exam paper.
It’s Alright For Some
That might be a very privileged attitiude to take. What if I can’t afford to spoil my kids? You may well ask. Then don’t is my answer. Seriously, don’t break your back trying to buy your kids loads of presents at Christmas. Buy them some presents if you can, then spend time with them. Make up some family traditions they can remember as adults. Make Christmas biscuits together or decorations for the tree. Put a satsuma in their stockings. But don’t try to convince other parents that you not being able to have Christmas how you want is their responsibility. It’s not. It wasn’t when I was a kid and it’s not now.
I have friends who choose to be economical with presents for their children at Christmas for reasons other than budget. Somone I know gets each of their children four gifts each, something to read, something they need, something to eat and something to learn. It’s something like that – I’m sure it’s supposed to rhyme (I failed my audition for that Dr Suess film). But it’s really lovely and it works for her family. I can totally understand that she is trying to create a culture of them understanding that we already have all we need and valuing time over gifts. It’s lush but the thought of only buying my children four presents each makes my stomach flip to be honest. I just can’t. And I don’t want to and I think that’s the main point I’m making.
Quality or Quantity
It’s not all about quantity either, don’t get me wrong here. I never buy presents for the sake of it, and I don’t count them to make sure I have a certain amount or anything like that. And we really don’t go as overboard as some family Christmases I have seen on the old insta/facebook/insert your fav social media site here. It’s just nice having spent the majority of my life counting pennies (literally) to not have to for my children at Christmas. It’s quite a novelty. And novelty is a good word for it, it might well wear off in a few years.
We set a budget and stick to it, and I’m not going to consider how you and your family celebrate Christmas when buying Christmas presents for my children. And I implore you not to consider me and mine. Unless you’re buying for them then crack right on. Books please 😉
Christmas is More Than Presents
Christmas really is about so much more than gifts. It’s about love, Jesus (had to sorry not sorry), family, and assessing the past year and thinking about how we can fit more of those 3 things into our next year ahead. You know, think of Scrooge.
Children genuinely are best happy when they are loved. Just simply loved. All that washing uniforms you have done? That’s love. All those fish fingers served? Love. All those hugs when they were ill? Love you can’t buy. Gifts don’t have to be bought to contain all the love in the world. If you’re having a tough Christmas this year trust me, your kids don’t mind.
You won’t ‘spoil’ your kids by going a little OTT at Christmas. You can still teach them how to be nice humans, you can still guide them in important morals, you can still create all those precious Christmas memories with them (yes that’s what they will remember). Just don’t let that bloody awful facebook meme make you feel guilty about what you buy or what you tell them about santa.