Presence not just Presents

With Christmas around the corner, parents everywhere will be trying to get their children everything they ask Santa for. Many of them will get into debt or put the presents onto store cards & credit cards. But is there really a need to get so much for our children?

When I was a child, I was always spoilt…especially at Christmas. I would have always got what I asked Santa for & then some. Looking back I would say I got far too much, not that I was complaining! I am not sure how it was all paid for… although I know Santa doesn’t charge, he didn’t provide all the gifts.

When I became a Dad, I felt like I needed to buy lots of presents for my children, even when they were babies & they didn’t really know what was going on. Over the last couple of years, Mrs B & I have decided that we aren’t going to buy loads of presents & that Santa only brings 1 big gift. There are a few reasons for this; 1) we know that the rest of the family will be buying gifts for the boys and 2) the boys will never be able to play with all the gifts so what is the point of buying them?

Mrs B and I both have workplaces that don’t close at anytime of the year, including Christmas, so there is always a strong possibility that either one or both of us could be working on Christmas Day. Thankfully, we both managed to get Christmas Day off together this year. We will be armed with a Duracell factory and a fully charged screwdriver. As it is one of the few days we are off together over the festive season, it makes family time more precious and important to us. I’m not complaining about having to work over Christmas, as I know there are people out there who are not home at all, like the men & women in the Armed Forces. I am also very thankful that I am able to go to work & have a job I enjoy.

Recently I saw an advert a man called Phil Beastall made in 2014. The advert was about a man who was counting down the days to Christmas. On Christmas morning he played a cassette tape his mother had made for him before she passed away. (For anyone under the age of 30 a cassette is what we used before CDs. I can just imagine teenagers everywhere scratching their head “what’s a CD?!”). The tagline was ‘Love is a Gift’. You can see the advert at the bottom of this post. This advert hit me like a dig from Mike Tyson. It had a great impact on me because my Dad passed away over 10 years ago and I would love to hear his voice again, especially at Christmas time. But what I do have is memories of him. I don’t remember what he bought me for Christmas, because the toys and gifts I got are now irrelevant. The time we spent together is what’s important to me.

So what I want to do is make sure my wife, children & family remember me for being present and not for buying lots of presents. To many people this may seem like I am just being a tight arse but I know that Love is the best gift I can give. My children will still have presents from Santa and from us but they will also have me being with them, loving them and playing with them. And I know that deep down, they would rather have me being there than have 600 gifts under a tree.

There are thousands of people out there who would rather have their loved ones at Christmas instead of the latest game console or designer handbag.

Having loved ones around the tree is better than gifts under the tree.

The meaning of Christmas isn’t about buying presents, it is about sharing the gift we can’t buy… Love. Share it with family, friends, neighbours and even people we think are d1cks. During World War 1 they even had a truce at Christmas. Soldiers, from both sides, would mingle, play games, have joint burials and sing carols together. Christmas is a time of love and peace.

So this Christmas, give the gift of love.

To all those people who work over the festive, from healthcare workers, emergency services and armed forces, thank you for sacrificing your family time to look after others.

Bearded with boys.

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