Fen Blow: So much for cheap plastic and batteries

PUBLISHED: 11:54 06 January 2006 | UPDATED: 13:21 28 May 2010

So that s it. The remains of Christmas have been consigned to the green, brown or blue bins - unless, like us, you re still waiting for Fenland District Council to roll out the new bins. Mind you, we did get a leaflet that promised delivery last May so

So that's it. The remains of Christmas have been consigned to the green, brown or blue bins - unless, like us, you're still waiting for Fenland District Council to "roll out" the new bins.

Mind you, we did get a leaflet that promised delivery last May so they could arrive any time now.

Not having children or grandchildren, it's only at Christmas that I normally meet any infants. And then I never cease to be amazed how much junk they each accumulate.

It's not just the size of their presents and the resulting acres of wrapping paper. It's the cost and quantity of toys they receive.

Most of them seem to be made of cheap yellow plastic and all need batteries.

I wasn't at all surprised to read the results of a recent public opinion survey which revealed that the average child received presents to the value of £332. And one out of every 10 of these presents was broken by New Year's Day. What's more, each little darling will break a further third of its presents by the end of March.

This means that by Easter, across the country, some £870million worth of children's Christmas gifts will have ended up in a bin or an attic.

And it's my suspicion that all this happens because, deep down, children don't much like what they're given.

Oh yes, they may have asked for all those over-priced items, but that is probably because they saw them on the Disney Channel or another child at school boasted that was what he or she was getting.

The best Christmas present I ever had was a piece of old linoleum. My father had turned it over. On its back, he'd painted a layout of roads, roundabouts, fields and lanes. It was spread out on my bedroom floor and for a couple of years I happily pushed my Dinky Toy cars, buses and lorries around it. Bliss, utter bliss.

So was your Christmas shopping worthwhile? Were those brief moments on Christmas morning worth the agony your credit card is now suffering? This could be just the moment for all grandparents to start teaching their offspring that next Christmas they expect to receive £332 of Gordons, Bells or Baileys - and the children will get home-made Christmas cards and scarves.

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