Gift guides are pretty popular amongst bloggers, especially at Christmas. I occasionally read them for a bit of inspiration, especially for the kids. I’ve never had a 5 year old boy before – so reading guides from people who have bought gifts for 5 year old boys can be pretty useful.
One sort of gift guide I will never read though are any for stocking fillers. We just don’t do stockings here. I know my family never did it when we were little, and Graham can’t remember if his family did or not. We have some hanging up in our living room simply because the kids decorated them at a Christmas fair last year. Come Christmas morning, they will be empty as they are now.
That’s not because we are mean or anything like that, but what we absolutely do not need at Christmas is yet more stuff to find homes for and clutter up a house. Stocking fillers to me suggest tat. Stuff that no one really needs but it is bought to simply fill a stocking. I know some people buy useful stuff like socks and underwear but we just buy that throughout the year as and when they need them. The children absolutely do not need any more colouring pens or pencils, colouring books, bubble baths and definitely no more chocolate – all the usual stuff you seem to find suggested in gift guides as ‘stocking fillers’.
The kids get an awful lot of presents as it is at Christmas – from us, their aunties and uncles, grandparents, great grandparents..and there’s also two birthdays in the run up to Christmas, not to mention all the lovely stuff we get sent to review. No way do we want to add to that with a giant sock stuffed with rubbish they won’t use. It’s the same with advent calendars with toys in and Christmas boxes…it’s yet more stuff, making an already materialistic event even more about the stuff they get. It sometimes feels like it is all about how much money you can spend. Rather than spend the money on that, we would rather use it to take them to Christmas fairs and on days out where they can get into the Christmas spirit and have fun. A Playmobil advent calendar costs about £20. That would be £60 on bloody calendars. No – we would rather do something like we did last year, taking them on a steam train ride, or something like that. They won’t remember an advent calendar toy in 10 years time, but I bet they remember the steam train ride!
I know some families choose to do stockings from Santa and ‘main presents’ from parents, or variations on that. We differ from that. All of their presents come from us – Santa is purely a courier in our family. We pay for the presents, and Santa looks after them and delivers them…if they’re good of course. It means that they will hopefully understand that they can’t always get what they want because we aren’t made of money, and to be honest, we get the credit for getting them the presents! It worked well for my brothers and I when we were little and it’s worked well for us so far with our kids.
Saying all that, I’m a massive believer in people doing things their own way. Just last year I had a huge rant on Facebook over a meme that was going around telling people how to celebrate Christmas. If someone wants to spend £1000’s on their kids, that’s absolutely fine. If someone wants to buy their kids just one present for Christmas, that’s fine. if you want to do stockings and toy advent calendars and Christmas Eve boxes, that’s cool. If you are like me and hate them, that’s also cool. Each to their own and all that shizzle. It’s not for anyone else to dictate how you celebrate anything.