Has your child drawn up a Christmas list? Children all over the nation are apparently busy compiling their lists for Santa, weighing up the relative merits of a Blackberry Curve and a Kindle.
And lists aren’t just for teenagers. Little ones also scribble down their requests for all things bright and plastic, such as Dance Star Mickey and Zhu Zhu Pets Playsets.
I am normally a fan of the list – can’t get through my day without one, in fact. But I think Christmas lists are loathsome. They epitomise a spoilt generation that only has to ask and it shall receive, sucking the spirit out of Christmas and the joy out of surprises.
Parents spend all year locked in a bitter battle with the child that wants everything, from sweets at the checkout to an iPad Touch. Why give in to such wanton consumerism at Christmas? The festive season is all about thinking of others. It’s not about presents on demand.
But I am beginning to wonder if there is a place for the Christmas list in these cash-strapped times…
Few people can afford to blow hundreds of pounds on the wrong gadget or a rubbish toy – and the Christmas list guarantees your gift will be a success. Relatives can pick present winners, too. In other words, everyone spends their money wisely and no one has to dispose of a pile of unwanted tat in the New Year.
The list can also help with the Christmas budget. We often descend into some kind of money madness during the festive season, splashing our cash on all sorts of bizarre items. I’m thinking particularly of my Santa Clause candle holders and the freaky lifesize doll in my younger daughter’s bedroom.
A recent report by the Mothers’ Union charity found that nearly three quarters of mums buy presents for their children that they can’t afford, and 84% have bought their children ‘top up’ gifts at the last minute because they thought the present pile didn’t look big enough.
A Christmas list acts as a financial restraint. As long as you stick to the list, you can stick to your budget, which is why I’m handing out paper and pencils to my two kiddies this year. It’s not that they’re spoilt, it’s that I’m trying to save money.