Pushy parents are sending the cost of the annual Nativity soaring, spending up to £150 on their child's outfit for the school play.
So great is the demand for designer Nativity outfits, nicknamed 'manger chic', that personal shoppers at one department store have been charged with the task of encouraging parents to see sense.
A spokesperson for Debenhams said, "The amount of money that some parents want to spend on their child's Nativity play appearance would enable Baby Jesus to leave the stable and check into a five star hotel."
It would seem that for some affluent parents tea towels and tinsel are no longer good enough for their little darlings.
Parents of children who have been given the more obscure roles such as 'donkey' or 'Shepherd' are lavishing even more money on their outfits to make it up.
Some of the most requested items for the school play include:
- Brand new ivory white bridesmaid dresses costing £40 for the role of "Angel"
- New Artic Fur throws costing almost £60 for the role of " Sheep"
- New grey fleeced duffle coat with hood, costing £14. When ears are added it makes the perfect "Donkey" costume.
- Blue Velvet dress costing £21 for the Virgin Mary
- Baker stripe Velour dressing gown costing £25 for Shepherds
- Glamour jewelled turban costing £8 for Wise Man
Whilst every mum (and dad) may be familiar with that sinking feeling every year when they read the letter from school that begins 'Please could you provide..', throwing money at the problem isn't always the answer.
Make-shift outfits are part of the charm of the school Nativity, and ultra competitive parents who claim they are trying to do the best for their children may be teaching them to value consumerism and competition above all else, which is hardly in keeping with the spirit of Christmas.
What does the future hold for our traditional school Nativity play?
If this trend continues, will we see Joseph and Mary turned away from the inn for not being in accordance with the establishment's dress code?
Perhaps the three wise men, Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, will present the Baby Jesus with their gifts of Chanel scarf, Birkin bag and Vitton watch, by the light of several Jo Malone scented candles.
What do you think? Should 'nativity chic' parents be applauded for being involved with their kids, or are they missing the point of Christmas?