I was relieved to hear money saving guru Martin Lewis speak out (again) about crazy Christmas gift ideas recently. His argument made perfect sense to me – I only wish more people would subscribe to his view. He says it’s time to call time on Christmas excess and the debt burden it brings, and I couldn’t agree more with him.
The interview’s a great thought piece if you feel suckered into the budget blowing insanity of giving meaningless gifts to people who don’t value them, simply because you feel you probably ought to. You know the ones? The presents we buy and store under the tree or in a cupboard ‘just in case’, for kids who might drop by, or neighbours we barely know or friends who come visit ‘just in case they bring a gift’. Who the heck thought up these mad Christmas gift ideas?
Watch the interview with Martin here
There’s a few more seasonal budget killers that have become popular recently too. I’m amazed at how many people will listen to some old tripe about ‘a wonderful new gift giving tradition’! Surely any sane person knows this is just something dreamt up by an overpaid bozo in a corporate marketing department chasing an annual bonus? These ‘traditions’ have nothing whatsoever to do with the true meaning of Christmas and everything to do with parting us from our hard earned money!
3 Crazy Christmas Gift Ideas aka ‘New Traditions’
I’m probably going to sound like a proper old grouch now, but these drive me nuts:
I have no problem with the concept of the elf story. In fact it’s an inspired way of helping frazzled parents convince hyper-excited little ones to behave in the run up to Christmas and I kinda wish it was around when the teen was a sprog. I even like the ‘tradition’ of parents placing the elf in different locations around the house so he pops up somewhere new when the little ones wake up in the morning. So what’s my beef you might ask?
It’s the parents who leave presents alongside the elf, giving the impression the elf is rewarding their well behaved offspring with gifts from Santa. What kind of message is that? How will kids ever understand the concept of aspiring/waiting for a goal when they’re trained to get instant gratification from such a young age?
Christmas table gifts
I know people who get everyone at the Christmas table a gift, ready to open as they are seated. On top of their Christmas stocking and gifts from under the tree! And we’re not talking tat from Poundland or something you’d find in a Christmas cracker (they have posh crackers BTW, which is by definition crackers). Keeping up with the Jones’s seems to be alive, kicking and keeping us all mired in debt.
(yep, also in addition to Christmas stocking gifts and presents from under the tree) I know that many Europeans exchange gifts on Christmas Eve rather than on Christmas Day and that’s OK – that’s their tradition (they don’t exchange gifts on the 25th!). What seems crazy is the number of people now jumping on the Christmas Eve box bandwagon.
Here’s what a typical Christmas Eve box includes:
- Christmas Eve box £15
- New PJs/onesie £15
- New slippers £10
- Christmas story/DVD £6
- Soft toy £10
- Hot chocolate and marshmallows £5
- Reindeer Food £5
That’s a whopping £66 PER CHILD on top of what you’re already budgeting for! OK for some, but spare a thought for the families on a tight budget where this kind of indulgence is simply out of reach. How will those kids feel when their schoolmates boast about the largesse they enjoyed over Christmas. Are we guilty of promoting an increasingly divided society? I hope not.
I’m so lucky that the teen boy is not materialistic. We had a proper debate about this article before I posted it. His take on crazy Christmas gift ideas was ‘one gift from you is enough mum. I already know you love me so you don’t have to break the bank to prove it. There are kids at school whose parents have more money than sense who are never satisfied. And there are kids whose parents struggle to make ends meet who shower their kids with love and experiences rather than material things. I know which is better’. I can’t be doing a bad job at this parenting malarkey if I’m growing such a wise young man.
Have a blessed day