By now you should all have seen the new John Lewis Christmas advert with the tag line ‘Some gifts are more than just gifts.’ If not google it. Basically, it implies that Elton John, as a child was bought a piano one Christmas, which contributed to him being a well know and successful musician.
So, do you think this is true? Do you think that the toys and gifts that we buy our children influence their future? Or make them more likely to be able to follow their dreams? If little Elton wasn’t given a piano as a child would he not be the man that he is today?
As a child the toys that I received, which stick out the most for me include; numerous Barbie dolls, Princess dolls, Mr. Potato Head, Lego, Scalextrix (More of a gift for my Dad) and soft toys. Did these toys inspire my future career choices? Well like Barbie, I believe I can do anything I put my mind to and I spent many years working my way up in the fashion retail business, as I love clothes. I am still obsessed with Princesses and love a bit of glitter! But apart from that I’m sorry Mr Potato Head but you didn’t encourage me to become a doctor who does transplants or even a farmer who grows potatoes. So unfortunately, I’m not sure if I was heavily influenced by my Christmas gifts.
However, saying that my brother had a PlayStation and used to play this game where you could make your own computer game; characters, scenery etc. He used to play it all the time and was completely addicted to it. Now he’s an animator and makes children’s animated programs amongst other things.
The problem is; as parents, how much pressure does this put on us when it comes to purchasing the right gifts for our children. We can’t all afford to buy pianos, singing lessons, top of the range bikes, electric cars, pets… the list is endless. And let’s be fair, the majority of children may nag for 6 weeks to the run up to Christmas for a particular gift but by boxing day that particular gift is old news.
But fear not, not all gifts which may influence your child’s future career need to be expensive, or at least there maybe cheaper alternatives out there. This is shown in the recent Lidl advert piggybacking on the John Lewis Christmas ad, which quotes ‘It’s a Lidl bit funny’ as they promote their £89.99 keyboard.
My brother started off by creating comic books by simply using paper and coloured pens. I used to make dolls clothes using scraps of old material and a cheap sewing kit. Playdough, Lego and craft kits don’t have to cost a fortune, and I believe when you can ride one type of bike you can ride them all. The price tag or shiny brand sticker makes no difference to your cycling skills.
So, parents, this Christmas relax. You don’t have to spend a fortune to be encouraging, supportive and great parents!