A Very, Merry Fundamental Christmas Message

September 17, 2012 Published by

We’re always being asked for our Christmas predictions or our top 10 toys for girls/boys/preschool. So here is our list, well it is more of an ‘anti-list’ in the form of a Christmas Message to all.

You see, we try to resist making lists as far as possible – there are already too many lists out there: Dream Toys, John Lewis’s, Toys R Us, Hamleys, Tesco etc’s Christmas top 10 – it goes on and on. It’s that time of year when everyone’s producing a list of top toys.  Most of these lists are reflections on what is selling well or what is going to be constantly on TV adverts in the run up to Christmas. This is NOT the same as a list of the best toys, or a Christmas list for parents indicating what they should be looking at for as their children’s Christmas presents.

The media love this bite sized, easy to digest nugget of insight into the toy market but what’s the point of it and who is this information useful for? The consumer?

I doubt it. If this information was aimed at consumers it would be be more specific – parents don’t want to know what’s selling well, they want to know what to buy their kids for Christmas. They want ideas for presents that children will enjoy and play with past boxing day. How many times does a child pester for a present they see on TV and put it on their list to Santa only to get it and ignore it after 5 minutes because it didn’t live up to expectations.

Besides, what are these lists saying? How can you compare a children’s tablet such as the iPad 2, Kurio or Innotab 2 with a swingball, a magic kit or a Sylvanian Families play set? So the harassed parents look at these lists and are left feeling guilty that they are not buying their kids the best toys, or worse, that these are the best toys for their children so they need to remortgage their house to buy their little darlings the best. Have you ever noticed that none of the pocket money toys make it onto these lists? It’s hard to find toys under £20 on them, so we’re just adding to greed and consumerism by giving parents the message they need to spend hundreds of pounds on their children in order for them not to feel left out and to have a happy Christmas.

So can we have fewer lists please?  If we have to have lists, let’s be open about what they’re saying and who they’re for. And for that matter, maybe the media could spend a bit more time doing their research and not just publish list after list so that consumers can use them to get good ideas of what to buy the kids for Christmas.

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This post was written by Dr Amanda Gummer

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