17 December 2019, by Flora Isabelle

Is there purpose to your Christmas gifts?

It’s the time of the year!

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As I write this, Christmas will be with us in less than two weeks and it’s officially my favourite time of the year! Perhaps it’s the cold-ish weather (it was supposedly 23 degrees this morning?!), or the fact that all the coffee shops are now hawking peppermint mocha drinks but it does create a wonderfully festive atmosphere all around yeah?

This Christmas, we will be spending it with our extended family in London. It will be Nate’s first “real” Christmas I guess? One with the trees, stockings, pot roast, and other British traditions. If we are lucky, maybe snowfall too. Considering that he is only two and was probably too young to understand what was going on the last few Decembers, this is going to be the first proper celebration for him! And hence, this also means presents.

Presents have been a rather tricky issue in this household because I personally don’t believe in them. I mean, I buy him a ton of books and various toys (especially during the 11.11 and Black Friday sales hahaha) but we don’t have the practice of making a big deal when it comes to receiving gifts on birthdays and Christmas. I guess it’s cause I don’t want him to grow up with such expectations of rampant spending or worse, sense of entitlement.

Buttttt, since this year’s Christmas celebration is not done in my household but in one that goes all out with the presents under the tree, I wouldn’t want to be difficult and impose my beliefs on them either. Hence I’m going with the “four gift rule” that has gained significant traction over the past few years.

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If you didn’t already know, this rule is basically one where parents pledge just four presents for their kids: Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.

There has been some debate about this rule – some parents like myself, find it sensible but there are some who find it sanctimonious or even stingy.

To me, the whole idea of tearing open and unwrapping four presents is actually already quite a deal but there are comments online who liken my mindset to that of Ebenezer Scrooge hahaha. I’m confident I’m not that close to being the grinch of Christmas cause after all, he does loveeeeee his books and I had requested for the books and clothes he receives to be themed around his favourite topics of fire trucks, tractors, police cars and other vehicles which he is crazily obsessed with.

The money saved is also a plus. I undeniably can be quite a shopaholic and when I hit the shops, I more often than not tend to buy people things even though I know they don’t need it. This rule has hence become my guidance to resisting that urge to splurge. And honestly, I don’t think my two-year-old can tell the difference between H&M and Hermes. In fact, he’ll probably prefer his new Paw Petrol jammies (wish the fashion police in me could say the same though hahaha).

But the other school of thought is that Christmas is after all only a once a year affair and we shouldn’t begrudge parents who choose to do their best to make their kids happiest. In fact, this rule might have in turn generated reverse snobbery where the less you buy your children at Christmas, the better parent you are deemed to be.

Personally, at the end of the day, I will say it’s to each his own. They are our children at the end of the day and it’s our call as to how we want to raise them or buy for them. As long as they are grateful and happy (and nice!!!), then that’s all that matters isn’t it?

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