Connie Primmer: Watch out, the Christmas guilt-trip has already started

I KNOW it’s a bit early to be getting irate about Christmas, but I was so appalled by what I saw this week that I couldn’t keep quiet.

Without naming any names, a certain retailer has started showing an ad of which the basic premise is a group of young children performing a Christmas song on stage, which sounds sweet enough, but before you go thinking they are singing carols about baby Jesus in the manger, the lyrics are actually just a long list of all the sparkly presents their ‘lovely mother’ has bought for various family members.

While I get that the whole point is to show the products available from this retailer, I was still horrified that the magic of Christmas has been simplified into such a shallow affair.

Putting the children in the innocent setting of a traditional nativity or pantomime and making them sing about how their Mums are great because they buy them loads of presents just seems like a shameless way of making the most of the already existing pressures on parents to spend money at Christmas.

Children are always going to be excited about what’s under the tree on Christmas morning but Christmas is about so much more than that, and making this Christmas song purely about the goods just seemed wrong.

More to the point, a Mother’s love cannot be measured in presents. What about the cleaning and cooking that goes into the Christmas dinner? Or spending quality time together enjoying the festive season as a family - and not just by traipsing round the nearest shopping centre.

And don’t even get me started on the blatant sexism in the ad. So only mums are involved in the gift-buying procedure are they? Do children who don’t have mothers not get a song to sing? What about the fathers who contribute financially to the presents? Don’t they get any acknowledgement?

It all just seems a bit tasteless when so many families are struggling with their finances this year to make parents, apparently mothers in particular, feel like they have to provide their children with the latest toys and flashy electronics for them to really enjoy Christmas.

Targeting children with ads for the latest toys is nothing new, but what offended me about this ad in particular was that it was so blatant.

It was the transparency of emotional blackmail that got me so annoyed; all pretence was abandoned, it was simply - children want presents, good mums buy their families the latest gadgets and games, that’s what Christmas is about because look, the cute children are singing about it in their school play.

Fair enough the companies want to make money, but I just think it’s a shameless play on parents’ consciences and a sad state of affairs if children think Christmas is purely about the glitzy presents.

I’m fighting a losing battle I know, but Christmas is not about splashing the cash, especially cash not many of us have nowadays, and if this aggressive commercialisation has already started in October, I’m not feeling too hopeful about the rest of the season.

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