‘That New John Lewis Ad’ Or ‘Better to give than receive? Try telling a Toddler that!’

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Is it too early to have a Christmas themed blog post? I hope not. I usually gage it by the Christmas lights being switched on in shopping centres so it seems to have officially started in some parts. I have an axe to grind, a bug to bear, a rant to rave…. Now when in my pre-parent days I heard people harp on about the over indulgence and materialism of Christmas I used to nod in agreement but secretly felt they were probably a bit of a scrooge or at least ‘tight’. Now, having become a mum and this year being the first that 2-year old BearCub seems to understand, I am outraged that the nets of marketing aimed at my seemingly innocent child have worked and fully ensnared him! Suddenly my son not only wants, but also expects, ‘everything’. Any shop we pass he is asking to buy a plane or car and any vague acquaintance that visits the house is questioned as to what they have bought him. I like to think I am not a materialistic person and we do try to avoid Milkshake in favour of Cbeebies in part due to the onslaught of child aimed mass marketing – in part due to the annoying presenters. Where has my ungrateful and greedy child come from? We have tried having the chat about not expecting presents every day and that gifts are deserving of special occasions only and I even put a ban on all gifts between a couple of weeks back and Christmas. However this all proved futile when BearCub’s Grandma returned from Australia and presented ‘just a few little gifts’ which turned out to be a massive remote controlled car and a mini motorbike – both gifts I’d deem as a main Christmas present – and with Christmas just 5 weeks away!!!! Grrr!

I really want my son to grow up with the literal awe my sister and I had when we would open our second-hand (and clearly used) presents with delight then go upstairs when it was over and find one last extra present – a Commodore 64 our mum had worked extra hours to get for us. We literally cried with joy and complete amazement! Instead my 2-year old already expects to receive whatever he wishes for!

I had a wealthy friend who would allow her children to select one toy to keep and then go with her children after Christmas to give their other gifts to less fortunate children. Maybe a step too far but I love the idea of teaching that giving is better than receiving from a young age.

You’ve probably seen the new John Lewis ad by now – you know the one everyone is raving about. Since being pregnant I have gone from a gal who had never cried at a film in her life to someone who gets choked at episodes of Holby City. The striking point of the J.L ad is the fact that we are so familiar with children impatiently counting down until Christmas in anticipation of the gifts they will receive that we are wholly touched when we realise this boy’s excitement is at that thought of giving a gift to his parents. This would obviously never happen in real life but, I do think it serves as a great reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. As to how we teach our little darlings that it’s better to give than receive when they are currently going through the stage of not at all understanding why they should share anything in the world…well if you have the answer please do let me know!!!



5 thoughts on “‘That New John Lewis Ad’ Or ‘Better to give than receive? Try telling a Toddler that!’

    Sarah said:
    November 23, 2011 at 8:14 am

    I think it’s normal for a toddler to see so much that is interesting and exciting and want the whole lot. They don’t understand restraint or money issues or anything. All they want to do is play.
    The understanding comes later. It helps if the toddler doesn’t receive masses and masses of presents so even if the frustration is agonising, at least the lesson is being learnt from an early age. Otherwise they’ll grow up thinking they should be spoiled rotten all the time.

    I have to buy second hand XBox games for my boys but they are equally delighted with a used game as they would be with a new one. It’s the game that matters, not how new it is. They also understand the financial question and don’t expect to receive masses of presents. I have to pay for us to go the UK which takes an enormous chunk out of my Christmas spending. We could stay at home and have more, but choose to go and have less material stuff but more family fun.

      morethanamummy responded:
      November 23, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      Exactly! And the ‘family-fun’ bit is the priceless bit!!

    Jess said:
    November 23, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I know I buy mine too much. However, at present don’t have a present expectation from my two year old. But I think the issue with the shop windows etc you’re experiencing is hopefully just a phase, as they seem to go through some random ones 🙂 maybe he senses it frustrates you when he does it, so now he’s just doing it to bug you. As we all know two year olds seem to be good at understanding what gets to us, from such an early age lol my latest issue re presents is that I have created an amazon wish list for mine, After much consideration I decided to do it, to help get presents I know they’ll use. But I did feel funny doing it, almost assuming people should be buying gifts for my children. But we’d had a lot of people asking what to get them and with my youngest 1st birthday just before Christmas (that will always be an interesting one) I did one. What do you all think about the wish lists, I did only send to people who had asked lol still felt a little weird though

      morethanamummy responded:
      November 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      I actually think this is a good idea Jess! At least you don’t get any unwanted/wasted gifts! And if it’s only given to people that are asking then what’s the harm?

    Cressi said:
    November 23, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    I have to say that mine adore giving presents too – but they do go through that phase of ‘i want i want i want’. We cured it a bit by making them save up for bits of expensive tat that we wouldn’t buy for them, and then compare the reality with the ad… That was a learning curve!

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