How many toys will you buy your child this Christmas?

Posted Monday 18th November 2013   By Ericka Waller

So Christmas is coming, the goose is getting (force-fed) fat. Children are watching every subliminally-messaged, glitter-coated, batteries-not-really-included advert on Nick JR, and falling for the hype. Will you be buying in bulk this year?

I’ve debated whether children really need toys before. My experiment concluded with me donating two-thirds of their playroom to the local charity shop.

They simply did not play with them. They argued over them. They threw them at one another. They piled them into plastic bags to swing round their heads, but that was about all.

The only stuff that gets used are the books and jigsaws. Every day they ask me to read with them, to do a puzzle with them. Their favorite toy is… me. Insane I know, but there it is.

We used to give them pocket money to spend each week on Car Boot Sale booty. Now we choose a DVD instead and have ‘family-night-film-night’ each Saturday.

We all find our own special spot on the sofa. We all have a blanket, hot chocolate and bowl of treats. Thing-three invariably falls asleep within ten minutes.

The dog always ends up with her empty treat bowl on his head. The husband always surprises me with his vast knowledge of Disney songs. The children look at him as if he were made of magic.

I forget about the piles of washing and spaghetti stains on the table. I don’t care about the dust that dances in the half- light coming from the screen. I hold onto my babies and remember that they don’t stay babies forever.

This year I am going to make my Things a stocking of bits to open (fairy dust, chocolate buttons, bubbles, Bacon Frazzles, gloves, glitter pens). I shall place it at the end of their beds, positioned so they wake to the sound of their feet rustling wrapping paper.  The sound of Christmas.

At the bottom of the stockings will be a book I made full of (poor) drawings of the things we will do together on holiday in the New Year, instead of piles of presents under the Christmas tree.