Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Christmas: presents

Warning: this is a bit of a ranting, moaning post. Please do skip past it! But I think that it does us all good to have a moan to get things off of our chest sometimes.

What really annoys me about Christmas today is the 'I want' attitude that is often encouraged amongst young children. I don't mind the commercialisation so much, after all the shops are just trying to stay in business. But parents encouraging their youngsters to dream big without any awareness of where the money comes from seem to have created a naive grasping of 'more' to the whole gift giving business.

According to this article from the Daily Mail the average child's Christmas list adds up to £900 whereas they are only likely to get an average of £207 each. To be honest I'm surprised that the wish list isn't any higher, I'm sure that my boys could easily topple that value with a long list of luxury items. But I am amazed that the average spend, according to research funded by the Early Learning Centre, according to the Daily Mail article, is really as high as £207. Who do the researchers ask?

I rarely have any spare money but as a family we are far from the poverty line. There is no way we would be spending that much money on one child, the closest we have come to this is one year purchasing a computer but even then that was for us all to share. My boy's Christmas presents this year included one toy, some clothes, a book and a torch (something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read). They did also have stockings which were slightly generous this year as Father Christmas clearly knew that they needed some new stationary but no gadgets or gizmos that would send the budget soaring. I did spend more than I had planned as my eldest is now in adult sized clothing, he's grown out of nearly everything!

The £207 figure does seem a bit plucked out of the air until you start googling 'average christmas spend per child' where you start to see some pretty scary comments of people confirming that they will spend £1000 per child. All I can say is wow.

At the end of the day it's none of my business how much people choose to spend on their children as long as they can afford it. But I do not like how it is becoming normal to spend vast amounts of money at Christmas and that some of those on low incomes are feeling pressured to take out high interest loans simply to ensure that their children enjoy Christmas. That's not such a merry Christmas thought.

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