There’s a fair amount of Keeping Up With The Joneses that goes on at this festive time of year.
Thanks to those pesky adverts during the Coronation Street cuppa break, your kids have probably already got a good idea about which ‘toy of the moment’ they’re hoping to get their hands on this Christmas. And nobody wants their kid to be the one that rocks up at school without, meaning the pressure is really on parents to make sure the gift under the tree this December 25 is just right.
Or should that be gifts?
According to figures released by Halifax this year, 49 per cent of parents will buy their children between six and 15 presents each this Christmas, spending an average of £177 per child - an eight per cent increase of £14 in the last year.
Even more is spent on tech-loving 10-13 year olds, who receive an average £228 worth of gifts while, unsurprisingly, one-year-olds came in at the bottom of the heap, with an average of £109.81 being spent on them on their first Christmas.
I was a little saddened to read that 24 per cent of parents believe that, if given the option, their children would prefer money over presents at Christmas. Apparently children receive an average of £120 in cash from their parents, friends and relatives at Christmas, something I for one find a little baffling. I’ve always thought the excitement of sitting around the tree with your family, taking it in turns to open the parcels you’ve so thoughtfully chosen for one another was what it was all about. I can’t imagine being handed an envelope with some cash in it, especially as a child. There’s a reason Santa’s elves aren’t depicted as bankers in business suits. Any other time of year, a gift of money would be lovely, but a Meadowhall gift card is hardly going to keep the kids entertained while you’re snoozing infront of the TV after your big turkey dinner.
Something I did find rather heartwarming to read was that almost a fifth of children use their own pocket money to buy Christmas presents for other people.
I still remember the first year I bought ‘real’ Christmas presents for my parents - A VHS tape for my dad (they were very happening in their time) and a scarf for my mum - after saving up my pocket for several weeks. I remember the pride I felt at being able to go into the shop with my brother, pool our cash and buy the gifts. I’m a firm believer that Christmas actually has very little to do with presents, but if there are gifts, they should be bought with love and appreciated just as much - whether it’s that new iPad or a hand-knitted scarf. That’s the message I hope we’re passing on to the next generation.