That scene with the kid Joe, from Santa Claus The Movie (1985), the one where he’s eating the plate of food put out by the little girl and then… the crack of the can of Coke… Ahhhhhhhh! For me that movie, that scene, means it’s Christmas time. If you have no idea what film I’m talking about you gotta find and watch that masterpiece of Christmas entertainment.
OK, that’s the last time I’m going to tell you what you ‘should’ do.
My Christmas growing up went like this. Around the middle of November my mum would send me to the video shop to get 9 or 10 Christmas films out. These videos would then be played on a daily basis until after Christmas and a hefty fine would be paid, every year! Why she didn’t just buy them is kind of beyond me.
Our tree was always up pretty early too. Definitely in November, I won’t guess how early but most definitely the first on our street. At that time there was no Facebook feeds and so the ‘bah humbug’ brigade kept their opinions to themselves and people just got on with things. Not quite like today where the first time someone hears a Christmas song on the radio there’s a rant as though the government had just increased income tax to 50%. I might have got a few digs at school for being the first to have a tree up but nothing more than that.
We then as a family, except Dad who was out working ridiculous amounts of hours to put food on the table, sat about most of the time watching Christmas movies. For weeks on end there was no stopping. It’s one of a few fond memories I have of my family growing up where we did something together, for the most part. Christmas day would roll around and there would be a sofa or armchair with presents wrapped in one style of wrapping paper per person. We would unwrap them in a fury and spend the rest of the day looking for batteries around the house, eating too much chocolate and watching more Christmas movies.
I grew into adulthood thinking this was how everybody did Christmas until I met my wife. Her family are a bit weird. They sit around and open one present at a time. It takes hours because there are so many of them gathered together. The TV doesn’t even come on the whole day. They play music and talk. They then sit together and have a Christmas meal fit for a king where almost everybody has contributed to the cooking. There are games and booze to round out the night and its pretty civilised. Like I said they are weirdos.
It wasn’t until I met this family that I realised that Christmas can be done differently. That I realised that how you do Christmas is a choice. My family prioritised very differently to hers but I loved them both. Right now my priorities are the kids. I want them to have a cracking Christmas but I want it to be special not because of the toys I buy them but because of the time I hope to spend with them. I want the gifts I get them to matter to them and I don’t want to spoil them, but I want them to appreciate what they get.
Many people are going to tell you over the next few weeks what you should and shouldn’t do for your kids at Christmas. You’ll have people telling you that you shouldn’t spend too much on your kids and those saying that you should lavish them with gifts. You’ll see posts come Christmas day of piles of toys and those of people who have given toys to the needy instead. None of this should make you feel bad or negative about what you do with your children as you should just do what is right for you and your family.
So, what is your Christmas?
It might be worth while asking yourself a few questions to be able to answer this one.
How did you do it as a kid?
What sort of Christmas did your parents provide?
Do you have the means to buy your children lots of presents?
Will they appreciate it?
Do they know the true value of gift giving and receiving?
Are you buying them things they need/want or just whats the ‘in’ toy?
How can you make Christmas special for your family?
What do you want to get out of Christmas?
I’ll finish by saying that whatever your Christmas is, own it, be proud of it and give it your all. Do what is right you for and your children. Enjoy your time together and I hope you get plenty of it. I know a lot of people will be working throughout Christmas and if that’s you then here’s hoping you get some good time with your family this festive period.
If any of this sounds familiar please like, share or comment.