Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Christmas Consumerism

A few weeks ago, Jack, Hamish and I went through their toys.  We talked about how there are some children who don't have very many toys and how we might go through ours and give the ones we don't use or like to the charity bin.

We don't have very many toys, mainly because our kids don't play with toys much they are more likely to play outside, do some craft, have one special toy for a week or watch a movie, so I wanted to make sure that the toys we did have were ones that were going to be used and not just thrown on the floor while they were rummaging.

The kids were great, they talked about each toy and whether they used it or not. Jack told me about toys  that were to young for them now or told me if I needed to check with Hamish before I put it in the bag and so slowly one by one we went through each toy.  In the end we gave about 1/3 of the toys to the charity bin.

So now it is Christmas time, and we have brought the kids a few new toys and other bits and pieces.  I have started to remember that gluttonous feeling that as a kid I got when I looked at everything I received on Christmas day and how I loved the feeling of excess.

It is that feeling that sits in the back of my mind and tempts me to buy more stuff for the boys, quietly it whispers..... Not enough, they need more, what about the pogo stick he's asking for, what if they don't feel like its enough.

Don't worry, because I'm aware of that feeling I'm not going to rush to the shops and fill the pillow case that is their Santa sack, but its funny how strongly I feel it.

This year we have talked to a lot of people about not swapping presents, moneys to tight, we don't believe that spending money on people shows love or even care, it more likely (but not always) shows a sense of expectation than true giving and so we wanted to say to everyone;
'hey, let's not spend money at this crazy time of year, we love you and know you love us and if at some time you see something you think we or the kids would love then buy it, but don't go out and buy something because this time of year demands it'

I feel glad and lighter that this is the way we have decided to go with many of the people we usually swap presents with, sure there are still quiet a few people who we will swap with and joyously so, but it is nice to feel like we are making a stand against consumerism, in spite of that voice.  Mind you I still ended up buying more than I had planned ...... As always

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