I wonder if the kids of today realise just how well off they are, compared with the time when I was young in the late thirties and early forties, or in even earlier times!
Today there are iPhones, iPods, iPads, X-Boxes, thousands of downloadable games, push bikes made of carbon fibre, dolls that walk and talk, and many other choices to be made – a child’s paradise to be sure!
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One fairly ironic point I’ve noticed over the years though (to interrupt my train of thought), is that children, especially the younger ones, seem to prefer playing with the boxes all this expensive equipment arrives in – very frustrating for a parent who has spent the next month’s housekeeping on the presents!
But to get back to where I was and the point I was making. The children of today are thoroughly spoiled because we now live in a world, where computers have taken over. They design most of the toys available today; with very little help from humans and they turn out more and more exciting stuff at a rate no mere person could possibly match. Add to that the massive profit making mentality of the supermarkets and department stores, so that they swamp us with powerful advertising from mid October onwards and it’s understandable that things have gone the way they have.
What worries me is that today it is all too easy. Kids just sit around and it all comes to them. But I have noticed that the children don’t remember much of what they are presented with, there is too much of it and too little effort has to go into making or using anything – it’s all there, in a massive pile, under the Christmas tree.
When I was young, and for hundreds of years before I’m sure, a child considered him or her self very fortunate if he received more than two or three presents, all of them simple, some handmade at home, carved lovingly out of wood by Dad, or knitted by a loving mother to dress a cheaply made little doll. There were rarely piles of presents under the tree, just a few small gifts hung among the branches, or hidden inside one of Mum’s old stockings over the hearth.
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The main thing about Christmas, (apart from the religious experience a lot of families enjoyed), was the fact that often it was the only time of the year that everyone got together, to enjoy each other’s company and the festivities of the season, simple as they may have been.
There wasn’t the desire to impress with massively expensive presents as there tends to be today, there wasn’t the desire to spend the whole holiday in a drunken state, unlike today when many family get-togethers or pub visits end in brawls and often serious injury for some unfortunate.
I remember most of my Christmases as a young child and I think it is, as much as anything, because I had to create it myself. I was given toys like Meccano, and wooden kit sets of sailing ships that I had to build and paint myself, books to read and activity-materials like balls, bats, etc. I had to use my brain and because of that it was all locked in my sub-conscious, part of the experience that made me what I am today.
I actually feel a little sad for today’s youngsters and I worry about how they are going to turn out, given the lack of respect and discipline in their teaching today, and the all too easy way everything comes to them. I just hope that I am wrong – but however it eventually turns out, I wish ALL children a very happy, electronic Christmas!
What are the biggest differences you notice in Christmases for children today compared to when you were growing up?