“They cost how much?!”
Words that would be echoed in many households on the run-up to Christmas, especially those homes with teenagers.
While I waited for the response from Favourite Son, it suddenly dawned on me that I’d lost Christmas. I appreciate this sounds dramatic, but I did feel like the protagonist in a Disney film, about to endure a mild trauma before everything works out for the best.
In keeping with the theme, in a Disney-esque flashback, I recalled the year when, at about 2.30pm on Christmas Eve, Favourite Son announced he’d really been wishing for a skateboard but hadn’t put it on his list because: ‘If Santa was real, he’d be able to read the list in his mind.’ A skateboard was not waiting in the cupboard upstairs, all wrapped, ready to go under the tree!
I couldn’t help myself, I wasn’t ready to lose his belief/the battle just yet. I bundled both Favourite Son and Daughter into the car, making up some excuse that I had to collect something special for Mr McGowan (AKA Dad). I dashed to that once ubiquitous high street retailer, that seems to magic any manner of items on a conveyor belt from the back of the store. I quickly flicked through the pages of a tome of a catalogue, before spying the desired item. Without much care or consideration of the specifics, I popped a random six-digit code onto a slip of paper. I then rushed to join the queue of what seemed to be exclusively men, before handing over the slip to a nonchalant teenage cashier to process the purchase. Then I waited for the magical words – “953 to your collection point please”. Phew, Christmas was saved…for one more year at least.
It’s not always been easy, maintaining the magic. As parents, without the need for words to be spoken between one generation to the next, we silently agree to take on the mantle of the spirit of Christmas. But let’s be honest, much of Christmas is really consumerism, we are buying gifts to represent a concept that we know will bring our children happiness and joy – we do what we can to make our children happy – this is the value proposition. With Christmas, this involves buying things en-masse and it’s a marketer’s dream – a ready primed target market, who need no convincing that there is a need to be satisfied.