I want to start by saying I am neither a Grinch nor a joy vacuum.
Those of you who know me and read my stuff regularly will know that I love Christmas, probably more than you.
I love so much about Christmas.
Spirit of Christmas Past
The family time.
The slower pace of life.
The food, the wine.
Being snug in front of the fire.
Creating traditions for my children, making and baking.
It all makes me positively giddy.
In my head, Christmas is exactly like those made for TV movies.
Soppy, romantic, full of love, snow, a quickly resolved misunderstanding and gingerbread houses.
It makes me feel all fuzzy and warm, and I make no apologies for this.
When I think back to Christmases as a child, I remember spending loads of time with my parents. I remember family and friends visiting, and playing games.
When I think back to Christmases past I remember a warmth – it really felt like a special time, and that’s what I want my kids to remember.
However, despite having a complete love of Christmas (and quite possibly being part elf) there is one little thing I’m not a huge fan of …
Spirit of Christmas Present(s)
That is NOT to say I don’t like giving or receiving presents – I do.
I just don’t think THAT’S what Christmas is about.
Let me explain.
More and more these days it feels like people are just buying gifts for one another out of obligation.
Because they should do rather than because they want to.
We have to buy great Aunt Pam a gift despite never seeing her because…Christmas!
Well, if we buy her something we must get something for Geoff and Max.
Where is the festive joy in that?
We shouldn’t be getting hung up on cost or quantity, we should be buying something we know the recipient will really appreciate.
This is something I am trying hard to get my children to understand and it’s difficult.
They are very lucky. Due to the nature of blogging they get a lot of things throughout the year and they get lots of gifts from family members.
And now, as children do, they expect it.
All. The. Time.
Last Christmas, I felt really sad (and if I’m honest – a bit of a failure) as I watched my children unwrap gifts and just cast them to one side. They had no idea really what they had received and who got it for them.
I decided we’d do something about it.
My children are not going to grow up to be entitled, they are going to grow up thankful with what they receive…if it kills me.
This year, as well as getting them to do a reverse advent calendar, we have set a one present rule.
Not one present in total (that’d be harsh, even for the mum who cancelled the birthday party!) rather everyone to only buy one present for each child.
No one will need to fret that they haven’t bought Seth quite as much as they have bought Aoife.
People will save lots of money, the children will actually know and play with what they have, and I won’t be donating unopened, unused things from previous years to the charity shop.
Don’t get me wrong, a massive pile of presents will make them all wide eyed with glee but once the unwrapping is done and half the stuff is broken by Boxing Day the joy swiftly diminishes.
Spirit of Christmas Future?
I would much rather teach my children that really thinking about someone and what they might like and carefully choosing just one gift means a lot more and is more special than just buying things for the sake of it.
I also want them to consider how just because you ask for something you don’t get it.
It’s not a right, it’s a privilege to get presents and one that’s not afforded to all children.
I want my children to expect little and truly appreciate it rather than expect lots and then become disappointed with it. I want them to realise that even with fewer presents they still have much more than some people.
Most of all, I really want my children to love Christmas for the time spent together rather than the money spent on them.
Maybe I’m asking too much for Christmas…I’ll let you know in the New Year!
Feliz Navidad to you all (not because he’s Spanish, he just learnt the song).