It is, isn’t it? Never before have I anticipated Christmas morning with quite the glee with which I am looking forward to this one. Now Finley is two and capable of understanding what’s happening, I simply cannot wait to see his little face when we come downstairs on Christmas morning to a room full of gift’s…
Although my mother thinks I am a wicked old cow, I have got to confess that I am not looking forward to all the plastic, noisy junk Father Christmas is likely to drag down our chimney. Yes, readers, I am the Scrooge of all that is gruesome, and multi-coloured, and nasty and Batman shaped. I can hardly bear the idea of another BatMobile he will line up with the other thirteen. Feel sick at the thought of yet another box of lego. I am a self-confessed toy-a-phobic, and in all honesty feel that children get enough junk all year round without me adding to it at Christmas Time, so when buying for kids, I have my own set of strick gift choosing criteria….
Oh gosh, am I appalling the nation again???
I believe that we have a duty to teach our children to honour precious things. To buy them gifts that will teach them to value design and craftsmanship and to present them with objects that financially precious or not, will, according to their intrinsic authenticity, become the heirlooms of the future.
Not ordinary, run of the mill, pick them up in the library books, but one special, beautifully illustrated hardback classic every year that will over the years, form a library of books to always be treasured.
First and foremost, children should value family ties. So I will give child themed albums, framed photographs of family members, scrapbooks of special memories, photo printed mousemats etc, etc…
Children should be taught the value of home, and more specifically the importance of shaping a room that nurtures and comforts them. Giving them something for their room offers them the opportunity to shape their own space, and to understand that creating a room of our own matters.
Old things have qualities we cannot instill in anything we buy new. Children, often more than adults appreciate this, and love to learn the history of any given object. So to give a child a gift of the past, particuarly if it is family vintage, seems to me to be a special way of honouring where we come from, and offering the opportunity to stir memories and start conversations…
Self esteem is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children, but it is also one of the hardest to bestow. When we frame one of their childish pictures in a seriously grown up frame we tell them that they are talented. When we bless them with a photograph of themselves, or put their name on a t-shirt, a pencil or a mug, then we tell them that they matter. That they exist and that they are important. When we buy the make up or pretend high heels our little girls crave, we tell them that they are beautiful and we respect the fact that they are growing up. And when we buy them arts,or crafts stuff, a more complicated jigsaw than before, or a very grown up box of watercolours, then we tell them that we have faith in their ability to create something wonderful and in all truth I know of no greater gift…
Ritual matters to children more than anyone else. It shapes their days and provides comfort in the certainty of what is coming next and celbration in the tinest of moments. When we mark those moments with special things like exta special bath stuff, a fabulously silly toothbrush, their own personalised knife and fork set or a cosy patchwork quilt, then we tell them that we too, know that these rituals matter and we want them to be as special as possible.
Christmas marks the finale of another year and is in essence an annual passage of rites. To give them something that commerates this year and makes next year even more special is a lovely gift that can be treasured when little boys are men. Each year I buy Finley one tiny perfect ornament to be added to his very own tinsel tree and take the time to choose something that will stand the test of time…
I supplement each of these gifts with lot’s and lot’s of chocolate (of course!), cheap colouring books and crayons, one or two gloriously tacky toys from the pound store, a few items of clothing, a tangerine and a pound coin for his money box…
I’m not that wicked am I??