A report on BBC 1’s ‘The One Show’ last night revealed how children in the North West were spoiled over Christmas to such an extent that their parents were going into debt to pay for it all. One woman from Ellesmere Port admitted to still be in debt for a portion of the £1,500 she spent on Christmas last year, and that she was determined not to go into debt for Christmas 2010. By saving money in advance and sticking to a budget she managed to avoid placing any money on her credit cards, and thus avoided debt altogether for this Christmas.
However, another woman wasn’t so lucky. A single mother in receipt of benefits admitted to buying everything that her young toddler pointed at on the TV screen, or in the Argos catalogue, totalling over £600 worth of presents alone. The woman’s son received presents such as a ride on motorbike, a Thomas the Tank Engine Train Set and a ride on quad bike – because she couldn’t decide whether to choose from a range of electronic motorbikes or cheap quad bikes.
While this sort of indulgence may seem harmless, as we all like to spoil our children from time to time, going into debt for them is not the answer as it gives children an unrealistic idea of what money is about, and how the world works. In The One Show studio was Davina McCall, who herself is fairly well off it has to be said, and she admitted to buying her children just one present each at Christmas. Davina stated that, because she has a large extended family, her children all received presents from other family members so do not require large amounts of gifts at Christmas.
It’s interesting to see that millionaire Davina McCall can show restraint at Christmas, whereas the woman on benefits in the report lavished her son with gifts. Educating your children on dealing with your finances is every bit as important as dealing with your children’s health – something that Davina also knows a thing or two about with her latest workout DVD, and her new ITV show that began last night ‘The Biggest Loser’, which aims to get people to change their lifestyles to become fitter.
How much do you spend on your children at Christmas?