Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Little Monsters Have Hijacked My Christmas; CITY LIVES

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Little Monsters Have Hijacked My Christmas; CITY LIVES

Article excerpt


I DON'T want to come across as a sourpuss, or mean-spirited, but I am absolutely dreading Christmas, for two very good reasons. First, it always costs me an absolute fortune because I have so many children to buy presents for. They are not my children, oh dear me no. They are the children of my friends, and my nieces and nephews, of which I think I have about 10 - I've lost count.

They all want Nintendo DSs and Harry Potter games and MP3 players and God knows what else. Their parents aren't shy about telling me what their offspring want, either; I always receive very precise instructions at this time of year.

Add to this all the clothes (from a lovely little shop on Upper Street in Islington called Igloo - I really can't bring myself to go to Gap), the mobiles, the cashmere blankets and booties and organic nappies I have bought all my friends who have had babies over the past 12 months (eight - one even had the temerity to have twins!), and I am virtually bankrupt.

And the thing that makes me really cross is that these mums think it is their right to receive gifts for having made what is, after all, a LIFESTYLE CHOICE, which means they never send thank you notes, or buy you something in return when it is your birthday to make up for the huge amount of money you have just spent.

I also object to the fact that mums are always making disparaging remarks about my childfree lifestyle. My friend Rebecca, on whose child I have probably spent about [pounds sterling]2,000 over the past eight years (most recently, a staggering [pounds sterling]29.99 on a virtual labrador), had the cheek to remark the other day that I spend rather a lot of money on skincare and rather a lot of time in bed at weekends.

And the second thing about parents with children at this time of year that makes me really angry is that they always, always bag the best days to have as holiday "because of the children".

Why is my Christmas and New Year less important because I haven't reproduced? Shouldn't those of us without children in fact have MORE time off at Christmas to make up for all those times we have stayed late, or cancelled a summer holiday because of something called half term, or for the fact we haven't had six months off in the past year as maternity leave? …

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