Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat and my children have discovered toy adverts on television!!
This may sound a little strange but we only moved back to the UK earlier this year after a number of years in Singapore where they do not advertise toys on the kids TV channels. I didn’t really notice at first, it was a bit of a creeper, but all of a sudden, every time an advert came on my little ones would shout either “Mum, Mum, please may I have that” or, more likely, “I want that”. Add to that the fact that my five year old daughter is now able to write reasonably well and has taken to keeping a notepad by the TV in order to make a list of things she likes and I think I’m in trouble. She’s even making a list for her three year old brother!
The thought of what they want, or think they want, is terrifying. The supermarkets are already selling Christmas food, the other stores have decorations going up and if the kids excitement level keeps rising at the current rate this Mamma in going to be a goner before Christmas day!
So how to do I get through Christmas without a) bankrupting myself and b) giving my children the idea that they can have everything they want whilst still getting that ‘eyes light up’ moment that makes Christmas morning so special with young children.
Firstly, I am also keeping a list. I’m monitoring their reactions to the adverts and seeing which ones make them shout “I want” and which ones make them really excited.
Secondly, I’m setting a budget. I plan to do this every year but it never goes to plan. Well, this year it I’m sticking to it.
Thirdly, I’m farming out gift ideas. Once I have a list of the things I want them to have I am going to give it to their Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles and ask them to purchase from the list rather than ‘freestyling’ as usually happens.
But most importantly, between visits to Santa and the local pantomime, I’ll be giving my children an insight into how Christmas is for the children who are not as lucky as them. We will be supporting the Kids Company Christmas appeal and buying a gift for a vulnerable child and they will be helping to buy that gift with a small contribution from their money boxes.
Now, with all this stress there has to be an upside and I am already taking full advantage of the tried and tested child rearing trick of the ‘Santa is watching you’ method of behavioural management. This will be in full operation from now until Boxing Day when the Easter Bunny will take over!!!
Good luck out there!