Pres­sure of Christ­mas

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Sorry. This is a col­umn about Christ­mas.

I know, I know, but I jus­tify this pre-Yule­tide in­tru­sion in your well­be­ing be­cause I had my third Christ­mas-re­lated thought this year.

You see my el­dest has reached the age where she needs a desk for her bed­room. The topic came up this week and it prompted Scrooge McDad to won­der idly if he could make that a Christ­mas present.

Isn’t dis­guis­ing a nec­es­sary pur­chase as a Christ­mas present the kind of thing we money writ­ers are sup­posed to sug­gest to peo­ple in a bid to keep the costs of Christ­mas af­ford­able and avoid a Christ­mas credit card hang­over?

A bit of a bor­ing gift though, a desk. So I found my­self think­ing that there had bet­ter be an­other gift, some­thing a bit more fun, and as mum likes to choose some­thing a bit spe­cial too that would make three big­gish gifts.

But then, I think, her three cousins send gifts. Grandma in Eng­land sends one too. So does Gran­nie in Ran­giora. So does Grandpa. Of course they do. It’s an ex­pres­sion of love. And, usu­ally I try to dis­cour­age this as I feel it is un­nec­es­sary, gifts also come to her from friends.

Oh and then there’s Fa­ther Christ­mas’ stock­ing. He still de­liv­ers be­cause we put out magic rein­deer food.

I think you’ll agree this avalanche of gifts is get­ting ridicu­lous. How did it come to this? I blame the Ghost of Christ­mas Past and it’ll be­come the ghost of my daugh­ter’s Christ­mas Fu­ture if I al­low the above to hap­pen year af­ter year.

You see Christ­mases were a big deal in my child­hood. There were loads of presents. True, there were no in­jec­tions of toys out­side of birth­day and Christ­mas, but my past has left me, and my sis­ters and fam­ily, re­peat­ing the pat­tern of when we were kids and Christ­mas was just the best day of the year.

I have in­her­ited many good habits from my par­ents, in­clud­ing a work ethic and a thirst for knowl­edge but I think when it comes to Christ­mas the be­hav­iour I in­her­ited is less sat­is­fac­tory. Add to that the rise in gift-giv­ing be­tween fam­i­lies and I have the hor­ri­ble sus­pi­cion my daugh­ter will end up with a Christ­mas pat­tern that’s even more stuff-ori­ented than mine has been. So where to from here? I reckon I have a few weeks to plan a bet­ter Christ­mas than last year and one that is less sick­en­ingly present-laden and more, well Christ­massy.

It’ll be a time of wrestling with con­flict­ing forces. On one side there will be the de­sire to see lit­tle glow­ing faces open­ing presents and to some ex­tent the un­avoid­able pres­sure ev­ery par­ent feels to de­liver a spe­cial day.

On the other side is the sure knowl­edge that if we just carry on as we are, an in­her­i­tance of ex­cess will be passed on. I’d wel­come your sug­ges­tions on do­ing Christ­mas the right way to rob. stock@fair­fax­me­ nz.

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