Has Christmas Become Too Extra?

Yes, it’s probably too early but I’m already thinking about Christmas and for the first time since becoming a mum, I’m worried.

I’m worried that Lily will talk to her nursery friends and wonder why she doesn’t have an impish elf playing tricks around her home in the run-up to Christmas Day. Why she hasn’t FaceTimed the big guy from the North Pole who’s due to bring her presents in the next few weeks. Why I wasn’t able to catch a picture of Santa in the act, or why he didn’t leave his signature snowy footprints on the floor.

In my mind, and please don’t take this the wrong way, it’s just my opinion but… it’s all too much. Christmas is becoming too ‘extra’ and it’s less that I’m struggling to keep up but more that I don’t actually want to. And I’m not even sorry!

Christmas

I refuse to pander to the commercialised, money-making ventures that form these new traditions. They prey on your fears that you’ve not done enough, not bought enough, that you won’t have that ‘perfect’ experience. That your children will feel like they’ve missed out because everybody else had this, that or the other.

And these things, they take stuff that a lot of parents don’t have. Time to move the elf every night and think of new and exciting scenarios to pop them in and upload to Facebook. Money to pay for fancy video calls, photoshopped images and special kits for making the magic even more real.

But that’s the thing about magic. Does it need to be ‘more real’?

What happens when children don’t get all of these things? If their parents ‘miss a trick’? Is it all making the lie too unbelievable? How will our kids feel about the differences between their Christmas experiences and that of their peers?

If you’re working full time to make ends meet, how the hell are you supposed to fit in elf antics? If you’re already stretching your money as far as you can to buy Christmas presents, do we really need to be adding all this additional junk to the mix?

I wonder if anybody else misses just having those simpler traditions? You know — new pyjamas on Christmas Eve, picking a new posh bauble from the shop for the tree each year (instead of buying a whole new set to match this year’s chosen colour scheme — heaven forbid you should do the same thing two years in a row!) and the selection packs from your Gran.

When did we swap sherry, mince pie and carrots for specially-designed gourmet Santa treats and sparkly reindeer food?

It’s all too expensive, it’s too modern and it’s taking away the real spirit of the festive season. Or perhaps you just think I’m being a Scrooge?

Don’t get me wrong, I adore Christmas and I always have but I don’t like the frenzy of what it has become to us as a society.

Poor parents uploading photos of their child’s presents and asking whether it’ll be enough, the panic practically seeping through the pixels of the screen. Will they think they’ve been bad because they didn’t get as many toys as little Noah down the road? Oh goodness, I better pop onto the catalogue and skint myself even further by ordering random presents I’m not even sure they’ll like simply to reassure myself. You know, my Grandad got 1 x toy for Christmas. ONE TOY.

What are you cooking for Christmas breakfast? What do you mean you’re not making a nutella pastry Christmas tree or ombré pancakes in festive colours? Oh I’m sorry, I remember the days when we dug into our chocolate oranges at 7am without the need for special breakfasts — I mean, isn’t Christmas dinner stressful enough?

‘They won’t believe Father Christmas is real unless they can see evidence of him’ seems to be the general opinion to which I say ‘bullshit’. The vaguer you are, the more freedom you give your little one to use their imagination. The magic is built on mystery and if you start to take that away, you’re sowing the seeds of doubt in their minds.

I’m extra in lots of other ways so if you want to go OTT with Christmas then you go ahead, that’s totally your choice and I truly hope you have a wonderful holiday (because Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, after all) but I just worry about what comes next? How far can we take it before it all starts to go wrong?

Christmas is supposed to be about family and appreciation (I’m not religious so that’s my view instead) and this year, I’m looking to celebrate in a simpler, slower way. How about you? What are your views on some of these newer, more modern traditions?

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3 Comments

  1. August 29, 2018 / 12:08 AM

    I completely and absolutely agree! I do try and make Christmas magical for my little ones, but that doesn’t have to mean anything time consuming or expensive, just because it’s the in thing to do right now. Spending time with your little ones, doing christmassey things like seeing christmas lights turned on, making christmas cards or sprinkling homemade reindeer dust are all really cheap and do able things. It is possible to make christmas even more magical without having to follow the trends or do what every other parent seems to be doing!

  2. August 29, 2018 / 3:53 AM

    my daughter loves her presents, don’t get me wrong, but she also understands that Christmas, like other holidays, is really about family and spending time with the people you love. i don’t know how she got there, I won’t take any credit, but I love it

  3. Alexandra Hodgson
    August 29, 2018 / 7:34 AM

    Ooh you know I love you Lucy, but I do disagree with some of the things here. Elf on the shelf is a choice and for me flippin’ school brought it into my life but they enjoy it so much. We don’t “need” to do it but yes it makes me sad for the children that maybe feel left out when they don’t have an elf at home. The elf doesn’t need to be doing anything amazing. The Santa call and photoshopped Santa by the presents are FREE apps. Where I have the problem is with it all being uploaded. Why do we need to show the world what our elf is doing? I certainly won’t be posting photos of all our presents under the tree. I hate when people make it about comparison. For me I think all the magic of advent and making the whole month about the build up and excitement means that I don’t feel pressure to buy them lots. It’s all about the experience for me rather than the gifts. The blasted elf does annoy me, but with Pinterest it gets easier and easier to find ideas, they enjoy it so much that I’ll do it as long as they believe. I think you need to do the things that you enjoy and form your traditions from all the ideas that are so readily available to us in this social media age and then sod the comparisons, definitely don’t worry about if you’re doing enough. So long as Lily is happy and it’s still fun for you bring on the traditions.