Tuesday 27 September 2016

All I want for Christmas is a little bit of humility

Published 20/12/2015 | 02:30

Lowering our expectations of ourselves and others around Christmas would ease the financial pressure that so much of us find ourselves under at this time of year
Lowering our expectations of ourselves and others around Christmas would ease the financial pressure that so much of us find ourselves under at this time of year

'Dear Santa. All I want for Christmas is a talking parrot, the Don't Take Buster's Bones board game and earmuffs. That's all I want for Christmas."

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This is my five-year-old daughter's letter to Santa - the first she has written on her own. (The talking parrot by the way isn't a real one - it's a colourful toy that will no doubt drive me mad on Christmas Day.)

It will cost about €60 to buy all these things - and even then, my daughter intends to share the board game with her brother.

Being an often exhausted mother dealing with the demands of three young children, the humility of this letter took me by surprise. My husband and I of course have already bought something to add to that humble little list - to bring the amount we spend on our daughter this Christmas up to what we consider a more 'acceptable' level.

The humility of this little list has got me worrying though. Is my daughter already selling herself short - at such a young age? And could this hamper her ability to make her way in the world as she grows older?

Humility is a lovely virtue but it's not the best card to have on the table when negotiating a pay package - or when asking for a raise.

It could also work against you when trying to secure a good job - or when seeking a promotion.

My experience of this world is that it is often those that shout loudest that do best - and usually at the expense of more deserving people.

Having said all this though, I know my daughter will be over the moon if the three things she asked for on her letter to Santa are under the tree this Christmas morning. More happy perhaps than someone who is used to shouting loudly.

Maybe this is the lesson that is worth taking from her humble little letter.

Christmas in an incredibly financially stressful time. We would rather have way too much than just enough - or a tiny bit too little. We order huge Christmas turkeys even though our chances of getting through the whole bird are minute. People start their Christmas shopping before the Halloween decorations are down - or earlier.

For those who leave shopping to the last minute, panic is typically setting in around now and as a result, there's expensive impulse buying.

Lowering our expectations of ourselves and others around Christmas would ease the financial pressure that so much of us find ourselves under at this time of year.

Yes, it's the season for giving - but a lot of that giving is misdirected at people who don't need it. If my eldest daughter - one of the most important people in my life - can be happy with a simple Christmas list, so can I.

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