There’s a meme going around Facebook at the moment about Christmas gifts. Have you seen it?
It’s about limiting your kid’s presents to just one from each of four categories. There are several versions of it but they all have the same premise. Restraint and moderation.
The “four gift rule” – it’s a very admirable idea. It encourages children to just ask for four things this Christmas. Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.
A toy, a pencil case for starting school, a pair of brightly coloured swimmers and a picture book about fairies.
Who wouldn’t want that kind of simplicity?
The thought being that our children are spoilt rotten and that by teaching them to stop asking for the entire contents of K-Mart aisle five we will teach them to be better human beings.
Research tells us that the average Australian home contains over 100 toys and that the average parent spends $310 on toys per child at Christmas.
Listen: The Mamamia Out Loud team debate whether the office Christmas party needs to go. Post continues after audio.
We are a nation of consumers and thought of as a generation of parents who over-indulge our kids so an idea like “want, need, wear, read” is something we should encourage.
And if you do manage to stick to it then I bow down to you. The skill required to not just tell your kids that’s all they are getting but follow through it is truly top of the class parenting.
I would love to do this, truly. But for me it takes away one of the joys I get out of Christmas – giving. Unlike the popular stereotype of overindulgence, I, like most parents I know, spent the entire year telling my kids no.
No you can’t have an iPod.
No you can’t have a remote control car.
No you can’t have alien slime.
No you can’t have Minecraft Lego.
No. No. No. No. No.
The few times I dare to venture to a shopping centre with them it’s a constant dialogue of can-I-have? No. Can-I-have? No, wait for Christmas. It’s tiresome.