As Christmas Day Toy Joy Fades To Boxing Day Boredom, Is A Huge Pile Of Presents Ever Enough?

13/12/2016 14:18 | Updated 15 December 2016

Toy adverts are dominating TV screens and parents, including myself, are crumbling to the pressure of constant pester power, but is it all worth it when most children are bored with their Christmas presents by the end of the festive season?

In my role as Head of Communications at fair trade charity and retailer Traidcraft we asked the UK's parents a few questions about Christmas.

We found that 67% of parents expect their children to tire of their new toys by the end of the holiday season, while almost 3 in 10 parents think their children will be bored of their gifts on the big day itself.

So while we're under pressure to pile the presents high - according to our survey at least - the excitement barely lasts beyond Boxing Day.

This lack of interest comes despite the majority of parents surveyed (60%) estimating they spend more than £100 per child on Christmas presents, while almost a quarter (24%) spend over £200 per child. Our survey also found around 90% of people receive at least one unwanted Christmas gift every year.

We've all probably experienced a time when we feel under stress or pressure to buy Christmas gifts that are maybe beyond our means. To many of us at Traidcraft, it feels like as the pressure to buy more grows, we creep ever closer to forgetting the true meaning of Christmas.

Maybe at Traidcraft we worry more about this than most because the findings from our survey come as a stark contrast with the lives of some of the children and families that we work with in developing countries.

I'm lucky enough to travel as part of my job and meet the people who benefit from our charity efforts first hand. In Kenya, where we work with farmers struggling with the effects of climate change, I recently met children who were excited by the prospect of getting fizzy drinks for Christmas.

In Nepal this summer I met the 'Stonebreakers', some of the poorest people in the world. Whole families, including the children, make their living collecting, breaking down by hand, and selling stones from the riverbed. The average income for Stonebreakers is just 75 rupees, or 50p per day, and this supports an entire family.

Stonebreaker Suvash Parijar is father to five year old Sudip. Like all parents Suvash feels the pressure to provide. He told me how he is forced to beg and borrow to keep his son clothed and fed. Unless he wants Sudip to starve, Suvash has no option but to work on the riverbed. Often he is left with little choice but to beg and borrow to get them what they need.

If Sudip asks for something that Suvash cannot provide he has to find a way of explaining why to him - a situation to which all parents the world over can relate and none would envy.

Thankfully there is hope for Suvash and families like his, who are supported by organisations such as Get Paper Industry (GPI), a Traidcraft partner that provides education for children of desperately poor rural families. This access to a free education can eventually help lift the whole family of poverty, changing the lives of generations for the better forever.

So while many of us understandably feel the pressure to provide at Christmas, it's worth taking the time out to stop and think about what really matters. Show-stopping gifts are great, but there's more to life than the latest big ticket items which, according to our survey at least, bring just a short-lived sense of joy.

This year at Traidcraft we have been running our Show You Care campaign, which encourages UK consumers to shop with thought and love, buying meaningful gifts in the run up to the Christmas period. To my mind at least, fair trade gifts really are a win-win way of spreading festive cheer.

To support Traidcraft's Show You Care campaign this year, visit www.traidcraftshop.co.uk

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