I have always been a “Christmas person”. I love decorating the tree, listening to the Christmas songs, wrapping presents, seeing a happy face when I give a loved one a gift they will really love. Above all I like the focus on family and friends. Before I had Lily I loved Christmas, but what I didn’t know was how amazing it is when you are a parent!
The thing is I was sitting here thinking about how many presents I have got for Lily so far, there are so many great toys and games out there, and there is a lot of pressure to buy in excess. Scrolling through Facebook, Argos popped up on my feed with the caption along the lines of “Go on spoil them, they’re only young once” alongside a selection of toys I had been looking at for Lily earlier that day. As Christmas approaches there are multiple photos of trees put on social media with millions of presents underneath them. However I haven’t gone mad on presents this year for Lily, she has got a fair few, but I just feel that she is still young enough (and I hope will always be grateful enough) for just a few presents to be more than exciting enough. On her second birthday back in May it took us all afternoon to get through her presents, as she was so lucky everyone had been so generous. But the reason it took so long was she was so excited for each and every present she wanted to play with that toy straight away, she wasn’t worried about opening more.
There is so much pressure on social media and TV, or in the playground talking to the other mums to buy buy buy, but I just don’t think that is what Christmas is about. Actually with young children they really have no idea what’s going on, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing to set expectations at an affordable level. What’s the point of spending a fortune on presents if it means you can’t afford the day trips during the rest of the year. As children get older there may be more pressure as they compare gifts with friends at school, ask for more expensive games and the latest fad, mums talk in the playground about what they have forked out for this year. But Christmas day is one day, by the time they get back to school most of them will have forgotten half of what they got, fads last such a short amount of time, and it’s important to teach them to be grateful as well.
The best bit about Christmas for me has been seeing Lily’s face as we do magical, fun activities as a family. For example our recent visit to Tulleys Farm, or seeing Santa at ESK Warehouse (I will be posting about soon). Christmas isn’t just about that one day where we give and receive presents. It’s about the lead up: Visiting Santa in his beautiful grotto; Going to see reindeer being fed; Making Christmas cookies; Putting up the tree; Making homemade decorations; and writing a letter to Father Christmas. There is so much fun to be had in the lead up to Christmas, most of which can cost very little, or nothing. Next time I feel the pressure to spend more than I can afford, I will be thinking of another fun (free!) activity I can do with Lily in the lead up instead. She won’t be getting a mountain of presents on Christmas Day, but she will be spending the day with people who love her, having quality family time, and we will be doing so many things in the lead up to create magical memories, that last a lot longer than a Hatchimal will!