There’s been a lot of talk in the media this week about how much we should spend on our kids at Christmas, after a women in the UK made headline news for ‘pressie-bragging’.
It’s a tricky topic and one that is bound to make those of us who indulge our kids feel even more guilty. Because there may be all manner of reasons behind the decision of how much to spend on presents, ranging from how much money we have in our bank account and our beliefs about the true meaning of Christmas, to our concerns about upholding certain values, not ‘spoiling’ our children or promoting materialism and consumerism.
And that decision is certainly made much harder these days when we are constantly reminded of the people who have so little. Those haunting images of refugee children still living in shelters, whose one wish for Christmas would be the safety of a roof over their heads for their family, (rather than the latest Lego drone), is enough to make me put the bon bons guiltily back on the shelf.
But like Emma Tapping, I personally believe that what we spend at Christmas is our business and no one else’s. Sure, in the past I’ve been guilty of silently judging the parents who pampered their kids with the latest iPhone, (while mine whinged on and on at me about their vintage Nokias), and made my middle class life so very difficult, but I’m equally certain that others have judged my choices.
Who knows why Emma feels the need to be so overtly generous. Perhaps she came from nothing and it brings her genuine fulfillment to give her children what she never had. Perhaps she is a compulsive shopper. What is certain is that she needs some advice on which images to upload onto Instagram.
We do what is within our means and what fits our sensibilities. Over-generosity is not a sign of corruption.
(And can we please stop judging people on how they parent).
This year we have reduced the value of NC and Kurt’s Christmas pressie loot – partly because they are older, but mainly because the old man refuses to get a proper job to keep us in the luxury we had become accustomed to.
However, our kids will not go without. They will be spoiled, (by the standards and cultures of many), and as much as I might wish that the video below would be representative of their reaction if I sold all their presents and surprised them with a shoebox of crappy craft from the local Christmas market, it’s unlikely.
(All the fucking feels).
However, there has been no real complaint thus far. They didn’t question our decision and their Christmas requests were quietly planned according to the limitations of their new budget.
Perhaps our work here is done after all.