Like most of the Christmas present buying world, as of last week I havebeen lost in the commercial frenzy known as Black Friday, or is it Cyber Monday? Yes, I have been Christmas shopping.
This in our house is an arduous task involving lots of lists andcoordination with in-laws over who is buying what and where from, andwhether anyone is chipping in towards main presents for the kids andwhat not. It has nearly broken me, although due to the Internet, I will admit that its a hell of a lot easier these days than when we all hadto go around actual shops and stuff.
This year’s Christmas shopping chaos was largely started by my husbandarriving home from work one evening with a little bag from Paperchasecontaining four stocking filler sized presents for the twins, afterwhich he lost interest and
made me sort out the rest of them moved on to the bigger gifts.
In fairness to him, he’s dealt with the bulk of our large Christmasgifts for the kids this year. I can’t fault his enthusiasm, althoughdon’t feel too sorry for him, he also managed to acquire a brand new TVand speaker system during this process (I’m still a bit baffled at howhe managed to get me to agree, although he did promise to redecorate the living room, which I think is what lawyers call a CompromiseAgreement).
But now the present shopping is done, and aside from the teen boy, everyone has been catered for.
But the teen boy? Does not know what he wants.
Well, he does. Apparently he wants things that are going to cost mealmost absolutely nothing, which sounds amazing but probably isn’t.
You would think that given we’ve told him he just has to name one thingwe could buy just for him, he’d be full of new ideas. But no.
It kind of put me in mind of when people say “ooh kids, they’re farhappier playing with the cardboard box than the present that comes init”, or something.
Then I thought, wouldn’t that be fabulous? What if you really could get a load of teen suitable presents from stuff that you had lying aroundor that didn’t cost you anything at all.
So, let’s examine the list of the stuff that my teenager really wants that will cost me practically nothing (according to him).
1. Your old mobile phone
Getting an iPhone upgrade this year? Well then, you my friend have theperfect free present for your teen. As soon as your upgrade emailarrives in your inbox, your teen will be circling like a vulture aroundyour current handset. They just want your old mobile phone. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t worth much as long as it is an iPhone (this is themost important thing), because all their friends, their friend’sbrothers and their friend’s brother’s six year old cousin’s dog all have iPhones and they are the only one without one. Which is like some kind of social suicide. If you can’t afford a new one for them then yourold one will do just fine
until they can con you into a new one.
Real cost: A new mobile phone contract for you and an unlimited data and text plan for your teen (but paid for by you, obvs.)
According to my teen, nothing says I love you or Happy Christmas morethan a sizeable bank transfer to their account. It is also the noeffort present option, because you don’t have to wrap it, and you haveloads of money in the bank because you’re an adult (yeah, right…).
Cost: Nothing because you haven’t bought anything (teen logic)
Real cost: All your hard earned cash which they then will spend on MacDonalds and a shit-load of other useless tat.
3. Your Widescreen TV
You know that TV that my husband just bought? Well it didn’t take long(about 36 seconds fwiw) for my teen boy to point out that if we movedour existing family TV into his room we could also move all the assorted games consoles in there too. It would be more peaceful for us and also make it “the best Christmas ever” for him. Somehow even though he gothis own way (his father’s son) he still asked the question “so, when you get another new TV in a few more years, can I have the one you’ve justbought?”. Yes already eyeing up my brand new TV. Sodding hell, isnothing sacred?
Cost: Nowt, you already own it.
Real cost: A new TV every 4 years or thereabouts *sob*
My teen has a Christmas list, a Christmas list with a difference. Forthis is a list of things to fill his face with that will make thefestive period complete. When he was little he was happy with somechocolate coins at the bottom of his stocking but now? Now, he has hissights set on the entire contents of my fridge, cupboards and freezer(usually leaving a trail of crumbs, plates, glasses and packaging in his wake). The more expensive the better – M&S party food is the maingoal but anything in the kitchen is fair game. And the best bit? Thefairies replenish our cupboards (and also do the cleaning up). Didn’tyou know? Forget the fact that last year I battled round a busy M&S two days before the big day to procure said delights, only to find that a £5 tub of luxury cashew nuts that I was saving had been cruellydevoured in secret (and the empty pot replaced in the cupboard as ifuntouched). Nothing left to give to guests with their drinks. Nothingleft to enjoy my bastard well self. *still bitter*
Cost: Well, the food’s just there isn’t it?
Real cost: £100s – I’ve always lamented the extortionate cost of our Christmas food shop and now I know the reason why.
5. My Car
My teens are a few years off learning to drive
thank God, but judging by some of our neighbours with older teens, when they hitthe magic age of seventeen then the usual thing to do is to give themyour own car and then buy yourself a nice new one. Frighteningly thisis probably a good move to a certain extent (well, I’ve never been goodat buying second hand cars and ours does have a full service history ofsorts). So they are going to want my car one day too, aren’t they? *sigh*
Cost: Just your old car, sitting on the driveway, it isn’t as if you even use it Mum.
Real Cost: Sell a kidney on Ebay to fund the cost of their car insurance for the year/the cost of new car finance.
|A “handy” Venn Diagram|
They do say the best things in life are free, but in my case I beg todiffer. I weep for the days I could fob him off with some Duplo or aset of Thomas the Tank Engine books. Something that had an affordable,fixed cost.
Teens, costing you the earth since well, forever really. Now, where did I put that cardboard box?