Try as you might, I’m afraid you cannot ignore it much longer. The summer, much like our popularity in Europe, is now a distant memory of brighter times. Yes, Christmas is well and truly upon us!

Some of you will laugh in the face of this, smugly declaring you have done all your Christmas shopping. Meanwhile, back in the real world, the rest of us are just starting to look for that perfect present. In our family we have long since given up on presents between adults, which was always just an exercise in consumerism and wastefulness in the extreme. We are all grown up with kids, so we just buy for them now, and that’s hard enough.
As with all things in life, from child birth to house moves, a good list is the key to success. By now you should have started to pick up random bargains you’ve stumbled upon over the year to make up half the list. That just leaves the main presents for your own kids. And so the fun begins.
With 3 children it just gets more and more complicated. For example, the financial value of the presents must be broadly speaking the same. This is not for their benefit you understand, merely to satisfy us, the parents, that we have not unduly favoured one child over the other. Utterly ridiculous of course, as they (like some adults…) have no concept of monetary value. Also, you’re trying to ensure they have the same number of presents each. 1 main present and 3 or 4 peripheral ones say. Again, this is pretty pointless really. Once you gather gifts from friends and family there’s such a huge mountain of them it really pales into insignificance.
Then there is the great unknown. The plump jolly fellow with a beard and a red coat. There is no telling what he might bring! Sometimes bizarre, often silly, his gifts are almost always small and amusing. He clearly puts quite a bit of time and effort into filling their stockings.
My wife and I don’t really buy presents for each other, not because we are miserable, timeworn, trolls (although there may be a bit of that!), but because it’s just more ‘stuff’. I guess we could treat each other to experience/spa gifts, but then it’s just a faff trying to work out when to fit them in, and what to do with the kids while you’re doing them etc… Just not our thing really.
In short, we are extremely restrained in our Christmas shopping compared to many, but it is still a constant battle to minimise waste and maximise enjoyment over the festive period. My final random thoughts on this – More presents and more cash splashed doesn’t automatically result in more smiles.