Growing up, the ‘naughty or nice’ mantra would kick in around late November for us kids, when we would make a concerted effort to at least think about our behaviour. Think hard if we expected a half-decent Christmas.
Now children know no matter what they do or how badly they behave, they are guaranteed their heart’s desires. Heart’s desires which are often set out singled-spaced on both sides of an A3 sheet of paper.
Bronnie and I dropped out of the gratuitous gift buying many years before he died. The mounting feeling of unease with the mountain of gifts the children received was compounded the day we found a heaving black bag of half-opened gifts the children had forgotten they had even been given. We are a big family on both sides so a gift mountain was easy to accumulate. Still, though, the unease that we were doing not much to instill a reality check persisted.