Please! Can we?
The silly season is upon us. Hallowe’en is done and I’ve seen my first Christmas ad on telly (I wait with baited breath for the onslaught of ridiculous perfume ads), so as far as I’m concerned it’s open season. And it is already living up to its name.
All the little children everywhere are beginning to put forward their loooooooooong lists of demands. All the big people are tearing their hair out at how to navigate them. And all the fat, corporate toy companies are rubbing their chubby hands together with glee at the thoughts of their Christmas sales.
It is ridiculous.
Toys are getting more and more expensive every year. Branded Disney shite – oh look! Yet ANOTHER line of Frozen merchandise! Non-hatching animals hatching out of eggs. Weird hybrid pony/princess/fish dolls. Tiny, weeny bits of plastic literally worth their weight in gold. High-tech, voice activated, pulse responsive, fart sensitive thing-me-jigs to drive up your walls, across your ceilings and you mad. Oh and more Frozen shite.
The pressure I see parents under is insane. They are stuck between a rock and a hard place; wanting to make their child happy, and trying to find the bloody money to do it! It’s just not fair.
But who is responsible?
Should we as the parents take some responsibility for how ridiculously expensive Christmas has become? Is it really right to be spending hundreds of euro’s on toys? Who has driven up the expectations of our children to such a level?
The other day I heard a mother say she absolutely dreads Christmas each year because her child asks for so much. Surely there is a simple answer here: NO! No love, sorry, we can’t afford that. That is too much. I don’t see anything wrong with your child understanding that these things cost money. Or that they cost Santa money to make!
The precedent is set from an early age.
Temptation is always there to bombard your child/ren with gifts to see their little faces lit up with joy on Christmas morning. But it’s not sustainable, especially as kids get older and look for more expensive items such as phones or tablets or games consoles. Who can really afford to buy one of those items, plus another gift or two from Mammy and Daddy, and a “surprise”, without selling a kidney???
If you can afford to do all of this for your children, then great. But what does it really mean to them at the end of the day? A month, six months, a year down the line these toys have been forgotten or have blended into the landscape of their bedroom with all the others. Does your child love you all the more for it? Will they be a better grown up for having so many items to open on Christmas morning?
Meanwhile, the toy companies continue to churn it out, coin it in and shove their prices up. And we continue to buy into it.
So how about this. How about we buy unbranded, we buy Irish, we buy less? How about we say ‘I love you, but no’? How about we teach our kids the value of money, and that it doesn’t matter what the other kids around them have or are getting?
You may think that I am the biggest, tight-arsed Grinch going, but I’m not. I love Christmas. I love to see my girls happy. But they don’t need a truckload of toys for that to happen. Christmas for us is about family, food, fun, films in front of the fire. The pressies on Christmas morning are a bonus.