Christ!(mas) – shopping is starting already

I’ve always loved Christmas. The cheesy songs, the actual cheese (though not this year again, sadly), the presents, the sense of magic.

What I don’t like about Christmas is the mass consumerism and the near-desperation of brands that go all out the make you buy more stuff.

This year we’ve made a decision to have a more conscious Christmas. This doesn’t mean that our kids’ stockings will be filled with lentils and sadness, but we’re thinking twice before going all out on new (inevitably) plastic presents.

Last year we bought Evan a plastic walker shaped like a zebra in a bit of a panic as really, what do six month old babies actually need other than milk and to wake up every five minutes at night?

The walker sat in a box until March, then we got it out, he played with it about five times as we don’t have a very big house. Then at just over one year’s old, Evan started to walk, so the walker was redundant. I sold it for a fiver on Facebook but it had cost us £35. At about £7 per play, this was not a good investment.

This year it’s going to be different.

The rules for presents for the kids are:

  • Nearly new stuff from charity shops
  • Nearly new stuff from selling groups on Facebook
  • Presents from art galleries and museums
  • Nothing big
  • Preferably nothing plastic (though I do think this will be near impossible)
  • A few new bits so we don’t get the parent guilts

So far, Joni is definitely on Father Christmas’s nice list as she has a load of presents and September has barely begun.

We went to watch Peppa Pig live in Hull last week and popped into Feren’s Art Gallery in Hull for a cup of tea. The shop was rather shrewdly positioned inside the cafe. When Joni wasn’t looking I got her a dinosaur museum themed fuzzy felt pack and a mermaid cuddly toy.

Mermaid and fuzzy felt
Wish I could be, part of your dinosaur museum

She loves dressing up dolls in different clothes so I got her a Melissa and Doug magnetic dress up set for £4 off Facebook.

Dress up dolls
Nope, didn’t spend half an hour preparing the girls, I mean dolls, for their close up

Last Friday we spent the morning looking in the charity shops in Woodseats, a golden half-mile of bargains. Again, when Joni wasn’t looking, I stealthily bought her a Dora the Explorer DVD, a fairy colouring book and a Peppa Pig book. It’s actually quite tricky to buy her things without noticing, when she’s stood next to me, but luckily as she’s super cute and friendly, she’s normally busy chatting to the shop assistants.

One thing I couldn’t smuggle under the pram without her noticing was a Zoe Zebra cuddly toy. It cost 50p which is an absolute bargain considering these things retail at £7.99. She was so happy, I was so happy, 50-freaking-pence, whoop whoop!

Evan has just got a book so far, but it’s early days and he’ll only be 18 months old so won’t be as fussy as Joni if he doesn’t get a tonne of cool stuff.

Considering Evan’s favourite things to play with are food and boxes, maybe a shoe box full of lentils isn’t such a bad idea…

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