Are Our Children All Christmassed Out By December 25?

Christmas-Bored boy wearing santa's hat
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Christmas-Bored boy wearing santa's hat

Last Christmas my three-year-old son and I went to watch a local Christmas parade when a float carrying Father Christmas came past us.

Well, when I say float, it was more of a flatbed truck with a blaring stereo on it, some bedraggled decorations and a very disgruntled, rather disappointingly skinny Santa sitting in the back.

Then, at the point at which he was meant to look down on us and say ho,ho, ho, his beard slipped off and he swore instead.

My son looked up at me and said: "Mmm, I don't think that was the real Santa, Daddy!"

For him, like me, Christmas fatigue had already started to set in.

It's not surprising. For one reason or another it was the third Santa he'd seen that year.

Of course, they were all different shapes and sizes and it was tricky convincing him that, as we all know, Father Christmas really does exist.

For me the episode was symptomatic of the feeling that Christmas starts too early and goes on too long. And I believe it's not just 'bah humbug' adults who are beginning to feel it.

Our children are overdosing on Christmas too. And if we're not careful the result could be that it's just not that special any more.

I feel that the razzmatazz starts so early that, like the effect of having too much Yule long, children can feel sick of it by the time the actual day comes around.

As a child myself I loved the excitement of Christmas. But in those days it didn't start in October. Now, as a parent, I should be preparing to enjoy it with my own children. Instead, I have to make the terrible admission that I'm rather dreading it.

I love celebrating with my family. But I hate the Christmas muzak that's in the shops and cafes two months before December 25th, the endless festive ads on the telly and the hours of fruitless Christmas shopping, which we are encouraged to do earlier and earlier – Selfridges opened its Christmas store in August!

In my opinion this premature festive frenzy takes its toll on the children too.

These days they end up eating loads of Christmas treats (and often get presents) weeks beforehand, and they tend to have so many Christmas themed parties and activities at nursery and pre-school that I fear the whole thing can end up as an anti-climax.

Plus the anticipation and pressure 'to be good' goes on for too long. In my son's case, by Christmas Eve, the whole thing resulted in a spectacular tantrum and an early bedtime.

I don't think we can be alone in experiencing this. The way Christmas is so heavily marketed now encourages kids to begin effectively celebrating Christmas as soon as early November.

By Christmas Day they are in danger of being exhausted by the whole concept.

It's not that just the old argument about everyone having forgotten the message of Christmas, though one survey found that 22Slideshow-84805VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%