Wrapping it up

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Cara McKee, a writer and mother-of-three living in Largs, is looking forward to Boxing Day…

The kids are getting excited about what’s going to be under the tree this year after a rather fabulous haul last year. The boy is 11 now, and he’s obsessed with gaming and gadgetry, while the girls (nine and six) are loving dolls, cars, Lego Friends, and stationery. Last year we got family presents of Xbox Live Gold and Amazon Prime, which we’ve enjoyed all year, lots of Lego (always one stray piece to be found by unsuspecting feet!), and some amazing dolls. Lottie dolls arrived, with skateboards and telescopes, as well as ballet outfits. The girls love playing with them, they can stand up, and they satisfy their feminist Mummy too. Win-win all round.

They have a STEM collection – so I’m hoping Santa will be dropping more of those down the chimney! My girls also love Argos’ Design-a-dolls, which are cuddly as well as being properly girl-like and dress-upable (that’s a word, right?). We even found a Brownie uniform for them on eBay, which was brilliant.

Of course, there are some gifts which aren’t so welcome. Fancy dress high heels will disappear rather rapidly (to save growing feet) pink things aren’t popular, and plastic tat just seems to collect in drifts. But the thing that really annoys me – and the kids – is all the packaging! Oodles of boxes, bags and moulded plastic, with rubber bands, little screws and tags, and who knows what else. The kids were describing it this morning as pass the parcel and swapping tales of chopping dolls’ hair while trying to cut plastic tags holding their heads onto boxes, and of those same plastic tags then sticking out of the dolls’ heads and scratching the child. Perhaps the most annoying one so far though was the gift of a car given at playgroup, which required a screwdriver to get it out of the box. Unsurprisingly, nobody at playgroup had a screwdriver!

Boxing Day was called that because it was the day when employers would give ‘Christmas boxes’ to their servants. Now it is the day you spend trying to cram all the boxes into the recycling bin. So much packaging that because of the sheer volume it cannot all get recycled! And nobody wants to give a gift that a child can’t even open.

Our favourite packaging is a nice cardboard box. They can get reused, they’re great for kids’ games, and they can be made out of recyclates to start off with. Our best one so far was the one John Lewis used to deliver a sandpit. The box was so big that we turned it into a playhouse which lived in our dining room for months on end. I swear it got more use than the sandpit ever did. We’ve had box drums, dolls’ houses, fairy villages, and a whole city’s worth of road layouts (the girls are mad keen on their cars). I wish we could get rid of all the plastic and fiddly nonsense at Christmas and give the kids more boxes to play with on Boxing Day.

Read Cara’s blog at caralmckee.blogspot.co.uk

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