1 year, 4 months, 3 weeks & 3 days into Daddyhood

In the Daily Mail on 4-Dec-09, there was a story about how parents are spending £150 on costume’s for their child’s Nativity play. I don’t know if this was up to £150, from £150 or an average of £150. Either way… I am appalled! (as Appalled-from-Dorchester might say, by way of a responding letter to said newspaper).

There is a TV series on this week, in which Kirstie Allsopp describes and demonstrates the various ways in which she is making her home all Christmassy and festive, without resorting to spending stupid amounts of money in the shops – i.e. she is making stuff. My response to said TV programme is Hoorah! and Good on you, Ms Allsopp! and things of that nature. At which I shall hereby get to the point of this piece…

That being…

What happened to the pleasure of making stuff?

We seem to generally try and encourage our children to “get their hands dirty” (as well as their faces, their hair, their clothes, their parents, etc) with glitter glue, paint, air-drying clay, mud and various edible substances (if CBeebies and the playgroups I frequent are anything to go by)… but what about us grown-ups? And furthermore, what about getting messy and making stuff with the kids?

Re the Daily Mail story, this could be just another of those instances of a tabloid picking up on something which is true in some cases but not indicative of a general trend. However, my instincts (as a parent, as a grown-up, as a 30-something member of the society in which I find myself) tell me otherwise. My instincts tell me we are (now more than ever) a shopping-obsessed, spending-obsessed, appearances-obsessed society, consisting (in part) of parents who are missing out on the simple joy of putting together a Nativity costume, with their kids, out of an old tea towel and some crepe paper, in favour of spending (probably alone – i.e. without any input from the child who will be forced to wear such) as much money as they can afford on a designed Nativity outfit, which will (they hope) make them (the parents, not the child) look good. Okay, maybe I am being a little presumptuous on one or two points here… but… well… I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Nativity costumes in Sainsbury’s… not for as much as £150, but still… how much creative effort and family “bonding” is invested in picking one of these off the shelves, to be purchased along with the turkey, the sprouts and the 2-litre bottle of Bailey’s, as opposed to the old tea towel and crepe paper (or something) my mum used to send me off to school with? I’ll tell you how much. None, that’s how much!

I yearn for the day I can cut & stick & wrap & scrunch & sprinkle & paint & roll & squidge & shake & tear & splat & splodge with my daughter, who, to be honest, at seventeen months, is a little too young for such things as yet. Until such time, though, I call for my fellow parents to raise their creative-messy-sticky-glittery heads  high and cry…

Long live Kirstie Allsopp!!