"I know that you really want to buy that special present for your child that you really can't afford this coming Christmas, but listen carefully and lighten up. They don't need it! You are the only present they need! You influence their happiness today and shape their character for the future.
If your partner and children really love you, believe me when I tell you that they wouldn't like to see you saddled with unnecessary debt at the start of the New Year just to see them momentarily happy at the end of this one. A loving partner will be much happier to receive a more modest gift on Christmas Day from a less anxious you. Also, a loving child will continue to love their parent who expresses love to them.
As for those children who have parents who tend to materially spoil them whatever their age; when they marry, they are most likely to expect their partner to spoil them too and are odds on to view the materially spoiling of their children as representing an act of love. In such situations, the giving of cash, expensive presents and constant treats gradually come to take the place of parental hugs, kisses, praise, the sharing of experiences and the giving of time.
In the final analysis however, what one remembers about their childhood are all the times that their parents were there for them; to see them in the Nativity Play, to hear them in the choir, to see them run at sports day and to cheer them home enthusiastically, even when they came home next to last in the race. These are the precious memories they will recall in their adult years. They'll remember the time they bloodied their knee in a fall and you provided the hug and magic kiss that made it better. They'll never forget how you responded when they did grievous wrong and had been found out; of how you reprimanded them firmly yet lovingly, before giving them a second chance not to offend again. They'll appreciate how you were clever enough to know that they'd need second chances many many times before they eventually got it right. Most important of all the many things they will remember however, is how their parent's values acted as an anchor in their often tempestuous and stormy lives during their teenage years and when they left home to find their own way in the world. They knew that whenever they strayed in their attitude, values and behaviour, that when the day came for them to return home to port, that their parents would still be where they'd left them: having stayed constant to their beliefs and wholesome in their way of life. In such manner, rest assured that you will be your children's prime model in the shaping of their future character and even the characters of your grandchildren.
So, this Christmas, rejoice in your good parenting past and present and know that when you are longer alive, the things your children shall remember about you will not be any of those expensive gifts they ever found beneath the Christmas tree wrapped up in fancy paper and tied with ribbons. The things they shall remember about the parents they loved will be those endearing things you said to them and did with them, the games you played with them and the stories you told them, the many times you cried with them during sad moments and laughed with them in times of great joy. They will remember the 'unforgettable' ; all of the real presents within the personal purse of any loving parent to give their child. So get real, stop being a featherbrain and take your head out of the clouds Mr and Mrs Noddy. Merry Christmas one and all x." William Forde: December 19th, 2013.