Christmas is about giving, a Government adviser on childhood has said, as he discouraged festive “pester power”.
Reg Bailey, who recently chaired a review into the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood, made the comments as he welcomed the message of a hit Christmas TV advert.
John Lewis’ ad depicts a young boy waiting for Christmas – not so that he can open his presents but rather so he can give a gift to his parents. The advert has attracted over 3 million views on YouTube.
Mr Bailey said the advert got close to the Christmas spirit by “being about giving”, but he cautioned parents to spend money on gifts “wisely”.
He commented: “Parents have high levels of anxiety about presents.
“They feel as though they have to purchase expensive gifts because that’s what all the other children have”.
Mr Bailey said: “This is a stressful time of the year. There’s pressure to buy expensive things. Children admit they pester their parents.
“But it’s terribly sad that we end up leaving parents feeling utterly guilty after Christmas, having desperately tried to make ends meet.”
He said: “Let’s reduce the anxiety and stress for parents because this is a time when people are in difficult financial straits. We don’t want everyone getting into debt”.
Last year Rt Revd Alan Smith, the Bishop of St Albans, said that Christmas has become far too materialistic.
The Bishop said Christmas festivities have been “hijacked”.
He said: “We are left with little more than a materialistic Christmas, less about giving and more about self-pampering”.