How Much Is Too Much At Christmas?

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’.

Decorated Christmas tree on white background
Decorated Christmas tree on white background


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.

Is Giving To Family Really Better Than Receiving At Christmas?

There’s a serious issue threatening to wreak havoc on the Midlife Mayhem Christmas this year.

Scrooge extinguishes the Ghost of Christmas Pa...
Scrooge extinguishes the Ghost of Christmas Past. Original 1843 illustration by John Leech (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



It could turn into one of those horrible, familial diplomatic crises, on a par with Abbott’s opening speech at the G20 Summit last week.




You see – I take Christmas seriously. NO-ONE messes with my Christmas.




But, unfortunately, it has already come to the attention of Scrooge (the old man) that the family numbers are increasing on par with the Chinese population crisis in our family, because younger members of our extended family insist on procreating like rabbits and providing even more little bundles of joy that require presents at Christmas.




And did I mention that most of the rabbits come from my side of the family?




Scrooge is not happy. He hates Christmas anyway, and has already begun to worry about festive issues, such as where we can possibly sit our over-sized Christmas Tree in our Borrower-sized apartment, (he even tried the ‘do we really need one this year…’ approach at one ridiculous point in his thought processes), can we afford Christmas Drinks, and how much is my Christmas outfit going to really cost.








Embed from Getty Images

Yes, my darling, our apartment is going to take on the look of Santa’s Grotto in Hamleys this year. If only he appreciated just how creative I can get with such a small space to dress and a ton of tacky Christmas decorations from the $2 emporium. I’m already thinking life-sized reindeer, artificial snow, stockings suspended from every light fitting and setting the balcony alight like a trashy trailer park Christmas Tree to really fuck off our stuck-up neighbours in The Block.




But he does have a point. Christmas is getting seriously expensivo and threatening other ‘luxuries’ on the family spreadsheet – like ‘health’, ‘the vet’ and ‘exfoliation.’




All these sprouting nieces and nephews can get expensive, especially now I have no real reason to go crazy in baby shops, and tend to get a bit carried away at the sight of booties and tiny, glitzy tutus.




But, here’s the real problem – if we cut the adult presents, I won’t get pressies from my siblings either! This means I could end up with guilt-cash from the old man, a ketchup gun from Kurt and some very expensive beauty product NC has had her eye on for sometime, (for her), on Christmas morning.




I can visualise the tantrum already.




Look, I know it’s shallow and selfish and extremely un-philanthropic, (sorry, Bill!), but I like opening presents, and my chances of getting something I actually like will be sorely limited if left to the choices of my immediate family, who obviously don’t know me at all.




Whereas my besties and my sisters have a chance of getting it right.




They know never to buy me clothes, won’t buy me a set of blue towels when I ask for white, size 18 French Knickers or an electric carving knife.




I’m not really a bad person, and love ‘giving’ too. In fact I almost like giving as much as receiving.








What can I say? I had a tough childhood…