I read an interesting article in last Friday’s Age called Spoiling Christmas. “Australian parents intend to spend an average of $584 on Christmas gifts for their children this year according to this week’s “Toy Treasure Trove” report from BankWest.“
Does anyone spending this sort of money actually know what Christmas is all about? I vaguely remember it having to do with a baby being born. Or was it about an egg and a bunny? Nope, beats me. I can’t remember. Somehow images of Coke-Cola’s invented Santa, sleighs, snow and clever marketing are trying to make us believe that unless we max-out the credit card we aren’t in the ‘loving, giving, festive’ mood.
Everyone is entitled to do with their money what they wish, however, I do think from reading this article and related comments that some people have lost perspective on what Christmas is all about. One person wrote that they only buy their kids 8 gifts each. Thank goodness. I mean, 9 would have been over-the-top. But 8 is very sensible.
I don’t know many children who need $584 worth of stuff…and I certainly don’t know any children who will be emotionally better off or well-balanced if they do. My children would be lucky if they have $100 spent on them (all three of them in total). They are emotionally depraved of course – judging from these photos.
How have I managed to get away with this? I have set expectations low from the beginning and stuck to my guns! For instance – I don’t do big birthday parties. Mostly we have close friends and family over. There are usually 20 people by the time this happens and we celebrate with some nice homemade food. I tell people not to bring anything. Of course some do, but the expectation isn’t that they do.
My 9 year old son Conor was over the moon this year because he got a sticky-date pudding for a birthday cake, had a lolly bowl and he got to make loot bags for the kids.
Christmas is so exciting for children. The anticipation is what makes it so great – having to wait for something. But if you are getting toys all year round, then Santa is really going to have to pull a few punches to compete at Christmas.
So make it easy for yourself – just don’t give them anything during the year for no reason, keep birthdays simple, and then at Christmas, give them one nice toy and they will be rapt. Also saves your precious money for more important things, such as reducing the interest on your mortgage. Not very sexy, but very sensible!
I hope all of the readers enjoy their Christmas, in whatever way they celebrate it. I know I will. Then again, after looking at the faces of these poor deprived kids….maybe I need to go and spend some more money, get them decent clothes and haircuts, perhaps a Wii, …