The run up to Christmas has made me think a lot about what family traditions we will form with baby P and how we wish key events like Christmas to be viewed. A big thing is presents, it has been since she was born as we’ve been kindly showered with all sorts of gifts for her from friends and family. I keep telling people they are spoiling her and that is a fear of mine, I don’t want my girl to become spoilt.
As it’s her first Christmas we’ve been very excited, she knows nothing but we’ve been giddy about having her with us throughout all festivities. Now when it came to her presents, I bought very little and only spent a couple of pounds and had no intention of wrapping them #badmum alert! I actually then changed my mind and did wrap them for our step son to open when he came Boxing Day, helping him feel a part of the special moments and allowing him the surprise of what she’d got. He adores her and filled in the role of Santa’s elf for her perfectly! In the future we’ve said we will ensure we spend equal amounts of both children as Baby P grows up she’ll have certain toys she’ll want etc and it’s only fair to treat them the same. But I don’t want Christmas to be just about presents, I don’t feel that it was for me growing up and I don’t want it to be for my child.
I’ve been told by several people that I’m guilty of spoiling my daughter, that I should put her down more often, not play as much with her or give her as much attention, that the baby classes and groups I take her to are spoiling her but I disagree. My belief is that spending quality time with her, cuddling her, playing with her, letting her nestle and snooze under my chin and loving her is not spoiling her, it’s just that, it’s loving her and my belief is that loving her will not spoil her. You cannot spoil a baby with love.
It’s material things that spoil a child, or the attitude you teach them to have about material things that spoils them. I remember Christmas including presents when I was a child but the key things I remember (here comes my nostalgic side) was the magical aspects, the belief that I’d actually seen Santa in the house (I genuinely thought I had) the feeling when I reached down to find that my Dad’s sock was full of trinkets. The excitement at finding the usual chocolate coins, new pennies and satsuma in my stocking. The giddiness at the extra foil wrapped chocolate tree decorations that appeared on the tree over night. Being allowed to drink my orange juice out of a wine glass and feeling posh because of it. Emptying and refill on. My stocking keeping everything in order and putting toys back in the box after playing with them making them look like they’d not been touched yet. Of course I also remember my Dad’s annual Christmas speech, mum’s luscious cooking and sitting around the table.
That’s what Christmas means to me, the time with family, the cooking and the eating! As I’ve grown older and a favourite pastime of mine has been cooking, I love cooking and baking over Christmas and then enjoying the delicious fruits of my labours. Even going to stay with my brother has meant I’ve still been able to enjoy cooking, my sister-in-law takes charge but I’ve always wanted to help out and have added some recipes to my repertoire. We as a family enjoy sitting around the table and it’s an important aspect of meal tunes for us, we often end up still sat nattering hours after the main course has finished, this year we served dinner at 3:30 and were still nibbling at the cheese board and chatting at 8:00pm!
This is what I want for baby P, memories and magic at Christmas, yes presents are a feature but I don’t want that to be the only thing. I want her to appreciate want she gets and yes write her wish list to Santa etc but I also want her to grow up grateful and understanding that there’s more to life than money and possessions. Some have shot me down and said that Christmas is just about presents to kids and only ever will be but I’m a believer that it will be whatever you make it for them.
Every year I ask what to get my two nephews in the states only to have my brother tell me not to get them anything because they’ve everything they’d ever want. Of course I ignore him and do but now I’m a parent I get where he’s coming from, they’ve plenty of toys and he doesn’t want them to grow up expecting or demanding, just like I don’t want baby P to. I want her to yes ask and suggest things she’d like at Christmas and birthdays but I’d also like her to appreciate that getting a gift is just that, a kind gesture and thought from someone and what should actually be appreciated. This Christmas a good friend knitted me and Baby P matching hats, it was a thoughtful, kind present that far outweighed anything of high monetary value and these are the things that count. The thought and effort people go to. Don’t get me wrong, I know teaching this won’t be easy and I’m sure she’ll have her moments just as I did as a child but that shouldn’t stop me from having this intention.
I guess really that’s what I want to intend, that my daughter isn’t spoilt and no matter what she gets, big or small, she is thankful for the generosity rather than the item itself. That to me is what will stop her from being spoilt, not me making sure I put her down, go to less baby groups and cuddle her less.
I will say it again, it’s been one of my mantras since she’s been born. You cannot spoil a baby with love.