OK...So I'm being a bit of Grinch maybe...but I seem to be reading a lot of hardship stories in the papers lately from parents who are bemoaning the fact that they wont be able to buy "as many" presents as they usually do due to financial hardship. The latest, in my local paper is a mother who is going to tell her kids there is no Santa simply because she cant buy the usual amount of presents due to her benefits changing. Not because she can't buy any. at all...but because she can't buy as many as before. So when did this come about? When did it become fashionable to lavish loads of presents on children at Christmas? Maybe I came from a frugal family (well I did actually) but when I was a kid and my parents played Santa it was one main present usually something I wanted - though not always, a couple of secondary things like jumpers, shoes etc...which actually would have been part of the household budget but exciting to me because they were from Santa and the best part ...the stocking full of cheap stuff...erasers, diaries,fruit, nuts etc. A Dandy from one set of grandparents and a Beano from the other set and I was in Christmas heaven! Looking back ,I know now that my parents were very hard up at times but I never knew about it and never ever felt deprived or that I hadn't got enough. So I just wonder about some of these parents I read about today. How many exactly have they being buying and why can't they just cut down a bit rather than burden their own kids by telling them there's no money? When did this Christmas excess begin? And why does it always seems to those least able to afford it who have been indulging like this?