Christmas Presents – To buy or not to buy?
Giving in to peer pressure when you’re a 40 something mum of two.
As a Confidence Coach I’ve always instilled in my 11 year old the need to be kind and be true to yourself.
As a teenager I suffered terribly from Approval Addiction. My best friend was amazingly confident and popular and I would often go along with her choice of clothes, hairstyle etc. Often with disastrous results. I wasn’t a trendsetter. I was a girly-girl who wanted to be myself but it was the 80s and everyone was ‘out there’ and cool (or so they thought). I look back at the photos of myself now and wonder what the hell I was thinking.
I kick myself for not having the courage to be me and I’m determined to do all I can to prevent my pre-teen from suffering from the same affliction. I pride myself now on being able to stand up and be me without worrying what others think (well mostly).
Until that is, it comes to Christmas. And here’s where I have a major dilemma.
Peer pressure and the judgement of others makes me question what I believe to be right.
Every Christmas Eve I look on social media and see all the photos that show presents piled high ready to be opened by excited children and then I look at my own children’s handful of presents and I feel bad. Every year I ask my son what he’d like for Christmas and every year he either can’t think of anything or he chooses one or two items.
If I buy him a pile of presents that he neither wants or needs then who am I actually doing it for? I cannot bring myself to spend a small fortune on games that will remain unopened years later in a cupboard. Or clothes that he will grow out of before he gets round to wearing them.
And yet I still feel bad?
I feel like Scrooge.
Will other parents think I’m a bad mother?
Will my son suddenly question his lack of presents compared to his friends?
Will he feel less loved?
And then I kick myself for being influenced by the opinion of others.
I would much rather spend my money on making memories with my children while they’re still willing.
Going to the pantomime on Christmas Eve has become a family tradition. And if we’re feeling flush we treat ourselves to a weekend away in a lodge with the kids and dog.
My eldest son has autism and has no interest in presents whatsoever. This year I’m hiring a hot tub for him for the week. He loves the water and it’s something he can enjoy with all the family. There’s nothing like sitting in a hot tub on a cold winter’s night gazing up at the stars. Bliss.
When I think back to my happy childhood memories I remember the family and friends who came round on Christmas Day. I struggle to remember many presents except for a Sindy House that I completely loved for a few days before longing to return to making a house out of shoeboxes and scraps of wallpaper. That was much more fun.
So if my son questions his lack of presents this year (he never has before) I’ll be educating him on how lucky he is to have what he has.
And hopefully I’ll end up with an adult son who will help to make the world a better place.
Or that’s what I’ll be telling myself when the mum guilt creeps in.
Rachael Barnes is a Confidence and Self Worth Coach who specialises in helping people to overcome their fear of being judged. Helping them to move forward with their lives and businesses. 1:1 sessions with Rachael in person or via video call start from £45. You can contact her here.