Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Shouldn't we get her some more?

'Essentials' from ELC
Let me begin by saying that for ten twelfths of the year I'm a paragon of ethical consumerist virtue. I think before I buy. I buy organic where I can, and if not I buy local, or British or Fair Trade accordingly. I even buy quite a bit secondhand and I like to think that I entered into parenthood with my eyes wide open to the array of nonsensical 'essentials' that companies tried to flog me from the minute I got my first 'maternity pack' of vouchers from the midwife.

But then we come to occasions. You know - the sort where you get presents. And I like presents - and the more there are the better. There's nothing quite like the pile under the tree at Christmas - I find squishing and prodding irresistible and regularly 'restack' everyones presents for 'aesthetic' and 'organisational' reasons. I also enjoy a good birthday haul - and it doesn't even have to mine. I love giving presents as much as receiving them - particularly if I've spent a lot of time planning and sourcing something, or coming up with a great, or unusual gift or 'experience', or I've made something myself. For adults, this at least translates into one or two thoughtful presents. But for some reason, when it comes to Izzy, I feel an overwhelming urge to splurge on as many things as possible and I really don't know why! I wasn't deprived of 'things' as a child - in fact with no siblings I probably had a lot more bought for me than my contemporaries in larger families. Having said that, I don't think (with two primary school teachers for parents) that I was unduly spoiled when it came to volume of gifts.

But when it comes to Izzy's second birthday next week, it's me who's having to be reined in from buying 'just one more thing'. I think this is probably why it was so funny to read the piece in The Guardian today on 'going cold turkey on kiddie consumerism', as I'm obviously not the only parent out there who, for whatever reason, can't stop buying things for their little ones. At least my mania only hits me for these two months over Christmas and her birthday in January - the rest of the year I tend to get by with 're-purposing' household objects into new toys. 

Oh well - I'm off to redirect this desire for 'one more' birthday gift into the creation of a pair of fingerless mittens, made from wool from my stash rather than anything bought new, and for the prosaic reason that my darling daughter absolutely refuses to wear her normal gloves at the moment.

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