In safeguarding the future of ‘promising young men’, we sacrifice women
In safeguarding the future of ‘promising young men’, we sacrifice women

Holly O'Neill

6 etiquette tips to think about if you’re planning or attending a wedding in 2021
6 etiquette tips to think about if you’re planning or attending a wedding in 2021

Jennifer McShane

Chic tableware under €20 for everyone eyeing up open-shelving in their kitchen
Chic tableware under €20 for everyone eyeing up open-shelving in their kitchen

Megan Burns

This striking home in Marino Park, Blackrock, in of the market for €1.85 million
This striking home in Marino Park, Blackrock, in of the market for €1.85 million

Lauren Heskin

‘I slept with my sister’s husband and feel awful’
‘I slept with my sister’s husband and feel awful’

Rhona Mcauliffe

Win a pampering hamper with chocolate biscuits, luxurious candles and more
Win a pampering hamper with chocolate biscuits, luxurious candles and more

IMAGE

9 of the best beaches in Ireland (and the places to stay nearby)
9 of the best beaches in Ireland (and the places to stay nearby)

Lauren Heskin

Image / Self / Parenthood

A parents’ guide to Christmas spirit (and toy-hungry children)


by Kate O'Dowd
18th Dec 2020
blank

Are you a parent to little ones? Here’s Kate O’Dowd on how to balance your festive fantasies of calm relaxation with the plethora of battery-operated plastic (which will no doubt invade your home soon).


I don’t need to spell out what Christmas means to the average child. It’s not the warmth of a festively decorated home, filled with happy family and comfort food; nor the celebration of having traversed another long, harsh year; and it’s certainly not the birth of Christ.

It’s the acquisition of more miniature, plastic, battery-powered things to add to a collection so rapidly-growing that you end each day wishing a sinkhole would swallow the lower floor of the house. And what about you, the foster parent to this child of materialism?

Feeding the beast

Well, a certain mania takes hold of you, too; namely glittering over the hunk of stewing beef you’ve been calling family life, to ensure the only world-view-forming moments that make it into the long-term memory banks of your precious creations are those carefully curated during the latter part of December. Otherwise, they could grow up to be serial killers.

Of course, the easy thing, for you, would be submission. Buy the rubbish they’ve set their merchandise-grubbing little hearts on. Let your seven-year-old eat a selection box for Christmas dinner, in front of a massive telly, wearing an Angry Birds onesie, surrounded by every item on the 2019 Christmas toy hotlist. Sure, they’ll love you today (you’ll know by the lack of whining), but you’ve just fed the beast and next year it could be addicted to crack. Oh no, Christmas is a time for enrichment – or at least photographic evidence to this effect.Design Love Fest floral Christmas tree

Design Love Fest Floral Christmas Tree

Present Hell

Obviously, you’ll want to transform your home into Instagram’s chicest winter wonderland, complete with the Design Love Fest floral Christmas tree (if you didn’t see this all over Pinterest over the last few years, then you’re not on Pinterest enough, or maybe that’s just the right amount; I’ve lost touch) and serve up an organic, paleo, vegan, cooked goose for the dinner banquet. Your efforts will be just about noticed.

But the present struggle will be all too real. Unless your child is a baby, in which case, it’s jackpot time; they get wooden toys from Designist and picture books like Marion Deuchars’ Bob the Artist. If they’re verbal, but “dolly” is about as articulate as it gets, you need to interpret that as a custom-made cloth doll from Etsy; not the demonic Baby Wow Doll whose open mouth resembles far too closely that of an inflatable sex mannequin.

It’s when they’re old enough to tell you exactly what they’re after, that you’ll need to employ your parental genius. “Yes, Santa’s coming and knows you’re a good boy. Of course he’ll bring you the exact Paw Patrol Lights & Sound Air Patroller you asked for in your letter.” But let’s say Santa delivers his crass offerings the eve before, leaving your selection of Swedish genius puzzles to dazzle for the main event.

Finally, garnish your perfect Christmas with a sprig of no batteries for the flashing noisemakers and I think you’ll find it looks like an idyllic childhood. At least until St Stephen’s Day.

Featured image: Penneys. This article was originally published in December, 2019.


Read more: 8 gorgeous last-minute Christmas decorations to buy from Irish shops (for under €35)

Read more: See the finalists from Ireland’s most Christmassy homes

Read more: The family will love any of these 10 must-have board games this Christmas

Also Read

Miscarriage happens much more frequently than many of us realise or feel comfortable acknowledging
premium HEALTH & WELLNESS, PARENTHOOD
Lynn Enright: When will Ireland introduce paid miscarriage leave?

People experiencing miscarriage should not find themselves relying on sick leave or the goodwill of employers, but will a new Irish Bill change that?

By Lynn Enright

blank
REAL-LIFE STORIES
The reality of learning to love a tattoo that wasn’t *quite* what you wanted

Getting a tattoo isn’t for everyone, but a drawing on...

By Geraldine Carton

True friendship – where you can interrupt each other raucously without worrying about whether or not the room is ventilated; where you can eat off each other’s plates – exists in the past and in the future
premium REAL-LIFE STORIES, RELATIONSHIPS
Lynn Enright: ‘I can’t shake the sense that the loneliness I feel is somehow my fault’

Most of our friendships are a little thinner now, or just a little less joyous, writes Lynn Enright

By Lynn Enright

blank
HEALTH & WELLNESS, REAL-LIFE STORIES
‘Covid restrictions prevented us from sharing the birth of our first child’

We have prioritised the reopening of non-essential industries and ignored...

By Justine King

rejection
ADVICE
Dealing with publisher rejection: author Sophie White on being the ‘Master of Rejection’

This article was originally written by Sophie White, author of...

By Sophie White

blank
premium REAL-LIFE STORIES, PARENTHOOD
‘Where’s Granny? She’s up in the sky. Well if I grow a pair of wings, can I fly up to see her?’

Jennie McGinn lost her mother Annie in October 2020. From an unusually large, and unusually female family, she writes about losing the centre of their family orbit and how she has managed parenting a toddler and a small baby while wanting to spend time completely submerged in her grief.

By Jennie McGinn

blank
ADVICE
Life with Meghan helped Prince Harry understand unconscious bias. Here are the best resources to do just that

The Duke of Sussex has said his privileged upbringing meant...

By Megan Burns