Admittedly, I am not a big fan of Christmas. But I do try. I like decorating the tree and even quite enjoy buying presents although I feel a bit queasy about the expense involved. I mean, it’s not as if children these days are short of things – the days of just getting bought things for your birthday and Christmas have long gone, sadly.
But what I really resent is the extra things, rather than just the presents for nearest and dearest etc. For example, I buy and send very few cards. But the boy sends a card to every child in his class, plus favoured friends in other years and teachers. And then there’s the presents.. so that’s a bottle of wine to his form teacher (poor man deserves alcohol) and to the headteacher (a bribe that will hopefully cushion boy’s easy transit to senior school). I don’t go any further but others dish out gifts to teaching assistants, school secretaries, passing maintenance men and whoever else. Some even give goody bags to all the other children in the class.
And that’s not all. I thought Secret Santa was just for office workers, an opportunity to tell a colleague covertly what you feel about them – pile cream for the pain in the a**e etc. No, instead I have to shell out a fiver for a present for a child that he really doesn’t want or need.
But I’m not buying into another trend: the Christmas Eve box. This is where the child gets a present on Christmas Eve in a special, decorated box with a dvd, new pyjamas etc – it’s meant to show them the magic of the night before Christmas. And then there’s the mandatory Christmas treat outing – skating, going to Winter Wonderland, pantomime or whatever.
Frankly, any parent who gets through to the New Year in the black is doing well.