Enormous financial pressure on families at Christmas

Published: 09 November 2012

Labelled for Life

Labelled for Life is the latest tool in the Mothers’ Union’s Bye Buy Childhood Campaign, which aims to empower families to challenge the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood through positive action.   The guide explains how marketing is aimed at children, gives practical ways to manage commercial influences on the family, outlines codes and regulations governing marketing to children and offers suggestions on taking further action to end commercialisation of childhood.  It is available from the Mothers’ Union at a cost of £2 and is non profit making.  To obtain a copy download the order form, call 020 7222 5533, email [email protected] or call in the Shop in 90 Deansgate.

Ditch the Christmas List

As we enter the most commercialised time of the year, with family finances under pressure, Mothers’ Union is calling on parents to ditch the Christmas list for their children.

A survey commissioned by Mothers' Union into Christmas pressures on parents which showed that 72% of parents have bought their children a gift that was on their Christmas list which they really couldn’t afford. An identical number (72%) of parents have worried about receiving their bank and credit card  statements in January. In addition, 46% of parents have taken out a loan, or got themselves into financial difficulty to give the family a good Christmas. 

Many parents (36%) also feel pressured at Christmas into buying presents which they believe to be inappropriate to the age of their children, with 59% agreeing that they have bought their child a gift from their Christmas list which was unsuitable for them. This pressure is particularly marked in larger families: 68% of parents with more than three children have bought their child a gift that was on their Christmas list that they didn’t think was suitable for their age group, compared to 55% of parents with one child.

“The pressure this brings to bear on family relationships and happiness is enormous” said Reg Bailey, chief executive of Mothers’ Union, “Our survey shows that Christmas is the time of year when parents feel most pressurised into buying their children gifts which are over their budget, or inappropriate to their age. We want to ensure parents have the confidence to manage Christmas without debt or the stress of disappointing their children. The majority of parents we spoke to (69%) said that Christmas lists create disappointment for children if they do not receive all the gifts that they have asked for.

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