Andy McKay

Oct 01, 2007

Christmas present manifesto

It's only October, but presents for Christmas are being talked about. Every Christmas we end up on Boxing Day feeling terrible about the amount of presents that have arrived. In an attempt to stop this, we are publishing a "Christmas present manifesto".

Christmas present manifesto

Christmas is an overwhelming time for kids: there's all the magic of Christmas, a huge build up and a chance to spend time with family. The urge for people to give kids so many things is easy. There's so many toys that you could see the kids playing with. In a relatively affluent society it's hard to resist.

But we don't want our kids to have so many toys. There's a few things to remember - our kids have a lot of toys already (a huge number in fact) and most of them are plastic, a small portion recyclable. It's not a competition with other family members, the kids won't remember. You'll be generating a huge amount of waste over Christmas anyway, never mind discarded presents.

And finally, too many toys can actually be detrimental to development:

"They get overwhelmed and over-stimulated and cannot concentrate on any one thing long enough to learn from it so they just shut down. Too many toys means they are not learning to play imaginatively either"

On Christmas Day they'll be opening all your toys, and ones from everyone else. Ever seen a kid open toy after toy after ignoring, each one in turn? That's what happens when you get so many. So this year if possible we'd like it if you could think of the following:

Reduce: a small number of toys is likely to stick in their brain and more likely to be played with.

Reuse: the best toys are ones that have a history. Second hand toys are great, the box is just something to rip through.

Recycle: please, please avoid plastic. There are many great wooden toys, books, jigsaws and so on out there.

Interact: the best way to have fun with a child on Christmas Day is to play your toy with them. Chances are if it's plastic electronic junk, you won't be doing that.

What we like: books, jigsaws, games and anything that involves exercise. Thank you for your presents in advance and if you are really unsure, there are many kids and charities out there who would love a nice present.

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