Remember the excitement of wakening up on Christmas morning and realizing Santa had been; the running fast down the stairs to see what he had brought and playing all day with your new toys. Your parents trying to get you to eat some breakfast in among the excitement and the smell of Sunday dinner which somehow seemed to permeate through the house all day. Remember how it was even more exciting if there was snow – building a snowman together and dressing him up or pelting each other with snowballs; going down slopes on a sleigh, a plastic box, basin or whatever would slide; the cold on your hands and your nose and then coming inside for hot chocolate and warm up beside the log fire. The sparkle of the Christmas tree lights and eating chocolate from your selection box. Everything seemed so exciting and you just didn’t want the day to end!
What is Christmas to our children?
Is it the same as Christmas was for us or has Christmas 2015 become something totally different?
• There is so much more internet shopping now –Children can look at all the toys right at their fingertips on laptops and IPad; they can go browsing in Argos or Smyth’s toy store, just with the flick of a switch and the touch of a button; children have more of a selection to choose from.
• Everything is either a gadget or involves technology – if it doesn’t make a noise, have flashing lights, move or have some function, it’s not wanted; and that applies from the youngest child to theeldest – ‘A mum watched as a young child began to bash his book off the floor, and not understanding his frustration asked him for an explanation, to which his answer was “turn it on Mammy, turn it on.”
• But, do children need lots of toys, the latest gadget, loads of sweets and the latest must have technology, in order to be truly happy? Do we need to put ourselves into debt, max the credit cards and end up paying off Christmas for the next 6 months; in order to feel like we have given the children all they need/want/deserve? – The answer was given to us by the children themselves in a recent survey where children were asked what they wanted or needed for Christmas! Some of the answers were “soft towels that smell good”, “school books”, “Dad not to hurt Mummy”, “white socks size 3-8,” “school bag,” “drink bottle,” “my sister to be well,” “somebody to love me and spend time with me.”
So don’t worry if you can’t afford the latest and greatest or the most expensive toy in the toy shop, research shows that all is well if children’s basic needs are met and all is OK in their world.
Your children will be happy if you spend time with them, bake or colour in or craft activities; take time to really hear them and respond to their needs. Time is the greatest gift you could give your children!