What is it about Christmas that makes us go a bit La-La-Loopsy?
I know I can be one of the most cynical consumers throughout the year, but come Christmas time I always seem to slip in that one extra present for Miss Logical and Master Mayhem that they don’t want, need, or even know exists.
Of course, it is just a Classic Case of Christmas Consumeritis where I start to feel all warm and fuzzy about how good they’ve been and how this present is going to blow their minds on Christmas morning.
And never fail, this extra present always ends up laughing at me, forgotten from the bottom of the toybox.
In accepting I have a problem with Christmas Consumeritis, I’ve decided this year to let go of past regrets about crap purchases and confess all, here, in that most intimate of places called the internet.
2009 – The Activity Table
2009 was our first year of having a child at Christmas. Not a baby, who has no idea what was going on, but a fifteen-month-old small person who we could lavish things on and in return revel in their excitement.
So when the toy sales came around I was primed and ready to get my little girl something amazing for Christmas. And that piece of amazing was a Fisher Price Activity Table valued at, ahem, $80. It crushes me now in hindsight to know I could have gotten her a packet of Yo Yo biscuits for a $1.99 and she would have been just as happy.
Because do you think she played with the bloody thing? No, and neither has Master Mayhem after her so I still don’t have a feeling of satisfaction from my purchase.
2010 – The Rockin Robot
The Rockin Robot was a present I had bought that went against everything I looked for in a product; it was plastic, made in China and two-year-old Miss Logical did not need it or even knew it existed.
I remember being thoroughly irritated when on Christmas Eve (we were a little pumped and decided to give an early present) we opened it up and there was a fairly major piece missing. I was annoyed at the shop who sold it, I was annoyed at the factory who packaged it, I was annoyed at the world we lived in at large that produced such crap toys but most of all I was annoyed at myself for being sucked in. I had lost my head at Christmas again.
This story actually gets worse as I rang the store and then sent Mr T to get a replacement….on Christmas Eve people! Christmas Eve! And do you know what? Miss Logical couldn’t have cared less. She was two for crying out loud, I had just produced a baby brother for her not three months before, did I think a Rockin Robot was going to top that! My only defense is that I was a mother of a two-year-old and a three-month-old. That’s all I’m saying.
2011 – The Tinkerbell nightie with matching wings
This one was bought purely with my heart and not at all with my more practical and sustainable head. Miss Logical had had a slightly challenging year as Master Mayhem had gone from placid-smiling-baby to very-determined-toddler and she had pulled off the big sister act with aplomb. I ask you, was I wrong to want to reward her?
In my (self-appointed) wisdom, I invented a ‘special present from Father Christmas’ that is only given to one little boy or girl each year who has tried extra hard at being good.
Oh God, I cringe as I write this next bit but, accompanying the nightie was a letter from Father Christmas explaining what a good girl she had been along with, wait for it…..a laminated certificate.
The thing was, she was only three years old and still not a hundred percent sure who this Father Christmas was let alone the importance of the extra gift and certificate…..don’t forget the laminated certificate.
I think I remember her putting the nightie and wings to the side and politely asking if she could now have a bowl of rice bubbles. I had sold my soul and still lost out to a breakfast cereal.
2012 – The bike
I thought I had my sustainable savvy hat well and truly on by now, but no. This time it was Master Mayhem’s turn for an unwanted gift and again it was big, we were going with a bike!
I loved the idea of getting up Christmas morning and running out to find a gleaming bike from Father Christmas under the tree. This never actually happened to me and I now wonder if there was a little part of this present that was more for me than Master Mayhem considering he was, ahem, two years old.
I feel I should point out here, more for myself than anyone else, that the only bike I ever owned had been a hand-me-down from my brother and had been (lovingly, I might add) stripped down and re-painted for me by an uncle. As my memory serves me, I bloody loved that bike. The fact that it had been my brother’s beforehand didn’t enter my head, it was mine all mine and I had grand plans to save up and pimp it out with some spokey dokeys.
I really wish I’d remembered the feeling I had for my hand-me-down bike because the thing is, and I just boggle at the ridiculousness of it, Master Mayhem had only just turned two and being small for his age couldn’t actually sit on the seat and touch the ground to balance. He rode it round the kitchen a couple of times with us pushing him but essentially we had given him a present he couldn’t use and didn’t really want.
So that’s me. My name is Bernie Eden and I have bought crap, unwanted gifts in the past however I vow to stay strong this Christmas and not go over the top.
Wow, that feels good to get that off my chest.
What about you? Do you have any Christmas Consumeritis regrets to share?