Family

Why the amount of presents under my tree do not define me as a parent!

So this week, the post about the “materialistic” parents has made an appearance. I’m sure you know the one where the presents are piled 2/3rds up the tree and then everyone jumps on the bandwagon and talks about what a despicable person this mother is for showering her children with such a ridiculous amount of gifts.

And whilst the pile of presents in the photograph is bigger than anything I have ever seen, why do people feel the need to immediately attack the parents who, in their opinion, buy too much?

I am renowned for going overboard at Christmas and spending too much money but surely that is my choice? I earn it at the end of the day!

After scrolling through some of the comments, the assumptions made about the “type of parents” that shower their children with gifts infuriated me.

I’ll leave you with my favourites (and my responses) below:

“These people need to realise that there are people worse off than them!”

Absolutely true. We work hard and earn a good wage, which means we are fortunate enough to be able to buy our children nice things at Christmas. This doesn’t mean that we don’t consider people less fortunate than ourselves. We give to charity every month, I sponsor a huge amount of people throughout the year for all kinds of charities, I give donations to the Huggard Centre for the homeless as well as donating blankets and coats to a lady who is handing supplies out in Cardiff. We always buy gifts for RCT’s Santa Appeal, last year I bought a pair of shoes for a child in Uganda and this year I have even bought a stocking for a homeless dog! We can’t solve all the problems in this world but we do as much as we can to help, and if everyone made these small contributions, imagine the difference it could make!

For anyone who would like to contribute to RCT’s Santa Appeal, the link is here.

If people want to buy their children lots of presents, they shouldn’t put the pictures on Social Media.

I have thousands of pictures on my laptop which are backed up to an external hard drive but I am still terrified of losing precious memories that I won’t be able to get back. Therefore, I upload a selection of the best pictures from different things that we do as a family to social media so that if the worst happens I can still salvage the best.

The piles of presents and the kids reactions on Christmas morning are part of those memories and I can honestly say that I have never once uploaded a picture of my children opening their gifts with an ounce of smugness or even a thought of other people doing so. I love looking at people’s Christmas Day photographs and not once have I judged anyone for how much or how little they have bought for their children. It’s a personal choice and one that is absolutely nothing to do with me or anyone else!

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I post a lot on social media, maybe too much, but what you see is what you get – the good, the bad and the ugly. My life is far from perfect, for obvious reasons, but it seems you get applauded for sharing bad times, being classed as brave for talking about mental health battles or evoking sympathy for discussing your child’s illnesses but can be seen as “bragging” or “materialistic” for sharing happy memories and special events.

There are very few days of the year where I switch off and simply enjoy a day with all my family as much as I do on Christmas Day and I will record and share that day as I see fit, not as others think I should.

Children need love not presents!

This one made me so mad! So anyone that buys their children a lot of presents at Christmas doesn’t show them any love! What a ludicrous and sweeping statement to make! I love the bones of my children. They give me no trouble and I sometimes have to pinch myself to believe that they are mine and that I am lucky enough to have them. I shower them with affection and tell them I love them several times a day. The number of presents under my tree has no relevance whatsoever to how much my children are loved and how dare anyone imply that they do!20171224_212111

These type of children will grow up selfish and spoiled.

Whilst I may go overboard at Christmas and birthdays, my boys have very little throughout the year. The majority of their new clothes, boots, trainers etc. are bought as gifts for these occasions and should they want the newest X Box game or some V Bucks, they have to pay for it themselves with birthday or pocket money which they have saved up. Fin is often sporting Cian’s hand me downs and Cian is currently inter changing between three pairs of rugby boots, which have been handed down to us by my friend, until he gets the new ones he has asked for as a Christmas present. Anyone who has met my children will tell you that they are far from spoiled. They have impeccable manners and are always grateful for everything they receive, no matter how small.

It’s a pity these parents didn’t give their children their time and not their money!

Again, what a ridiculous statement. Despite me and Andrew working full time, we do our utmost to support the boys in whatever they do. We have never missed a Christmas concert, harvest, carol service, assembly or parent’s evening. We are at every school rugby match or sporting event. We spend the summer and most weekends in West Wales at our caravan having quality family time and going on walks, scooting down the coastal paths, climbing mountains, having picnics or playing cricket on the beach. Some weekends, we don’t spend a single penny but we can still have an absolute blast!

We read with our children, help them learn their lines, assist with their homework and spellings and help them practise their languages. We take them to training sessions and rugby games 4 days a week and are here to wave them off to school each morning and most days to welcome them home.

To imply that I am substituting time with my children for material gifts is absurd, and quite frankly insulting.

It’s not what’s under the tree, it’s who’s around it.

I wholeheartedly agree with this. Christmas Day for us is hugely about family. We have visitors to our home in the morning, have a delicious Christmas dinner, then spend the afternoon visiting uncles, aunties and cousins before finally going to my sister in laws for family games with all our nieces and nephews. And that, to me, is the magic of Christmas Day. Life is so busy that we don’t get to see extended family members as much as we would like and yet that one day of the year, no matter what the circumstances, we all get together and have an amazing time.

This Christmas, I will take photographs of my living room and the piles of gifts as I always do, but I will also share photographs of my children and grandchildren and the joy on their faces as they open them. I will share photographs of us all sitting around the table pulling our crackers and tucking into our dinner. I will share photographs of my boys playing rugby with their cousins in my mother’s living room while the adults look on covered in melted chocolate from the After Eight Challenge or wearing one of the kid’s latest toys.

And I will share photographs of us all in the evening laughing, drinking and taking part in the annual family quiz of the girls versus the boys and the banter that will inevitably ensue.

And if anyone wants to judge me for my pictures or my posts, they know where the unfollow button is!

Beth

xx

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