Nikki is a freelance writer and social media consultant four children.She has 3 sons aged 18, 10 and 8 and a daughter who is 4.She has been writing on blog Stressy Mummy for 3 years.
If you hadn’t noticed already, I think Christmas is a coming.
The big stores have clogged up the important television slots with their festive adverts. The supermarkets are full to bursting with all things Christmas and every child in the country is busy scouring the Argos catalogue for an endless list of shiny toys that will drain their parents’ bank accounts and will probably never get played with.
Cynical? Moi? I actually love Christmas. Well, I love the idea of Christmas. For me the time to stop in, spend some quality family time and enjoy nice food, great company and the odd glass of mulled wine is one of the highlights of the year. Yet the oncoming present shopping fills me with dread, as does the prospect of the large stack of toys that will be sat staring at me after the lights have twinkled their last and the decorations are done.
My children are spoilt at Christmas and whilst I am guilty of spoiling them as there is always just one more present that can be bought, but they get so much from everyone else and they really do have absolutely everything they could ever need or want. People are already starting to ask me for present ideas and I have no idea. I have no idea what I am going to buy them.
Why is it that we feel this need to overspend on our children at this time of year? Do they really benefit from it? I’m not sure that they do. What children benefit from is time, attention; a day of snuggles in front of the TV, a nice family walk, crackers and games around the table.
They don’t need their parents to overspend and overstretched themselves by buying the must have the gadget of the year. Going into debt at Christmas is a silly idea. Set a budget and stick to it. Be realistic. Look at what they really need and want. Think outside the box and choose a gift that means something, maybe something that lasts beyond Christmas like a magazine subscription or tickets for an event that you know they will love. Don’t buy things for the sake of buying.
I know quite a few people who stock up with bargains in the January sales to be unleashed the following Christmas but if you aren’t that organised (I’m certainly not) there are so many other options. Shop around. We live in such a throw away society these days that charity shops, online auction sites and car boot sales can be a great place to get something that is like new but at a much more reasonable price.
When it comes to gifts for other people, get the kids on board and plan some home-made gifts and cards. Look at blogs and Pinterest for an endless supply of ideas of amazing present ideas and don’t worry if your craft skills are not up to scratch, sometimes the simplest ideas can be the best and I think home-made gifts are always well received.