What follows is Littlewood's Christmas Advert:
For those of you unable to watch it, the basic premise of the advert is a bunch of children performing a nativity play where they talk about their "lovely, lovely" mothers who are "wicked" because they've bought christmas presents such as an Xbox, a HTC phone and an Optimus Prime toy. There then follows an exhortation to go to Littlewoods stores for great gift ideas.
Now, I'm not by any means a kill joy but this advert is literally sickening. Much to my annoyance, it keeps on coming on the radio and whenever it does I find myself forced to turn it off - that's how nauseating I find it.
What the advert boils down to is emotional blackmail. If you buy your children really expensive presents for christmas then they'll think you're awesome. Implied of course is that if you don't spend hundreds of pounds on expensive gifts then you're a bad parent.
Well, I don't know about everyone else but when I was a kid I did get some expensive presents. And I won't pretend I didn't like getting them. But the novelty usually wore off after a few days and then the games were ignored. What I really loved as a kid was having both my parents around for christmas and spending time with me. That's what children want for christmas, they want to feel loved by their parents.
Alternatively you could do as the advert suggests and work long hours to save up the £600 or so that the presents mentioned woulc cost. But while you're working long hours your children won't have you around. Or you could buy them on credit and load yourself up with debt just to pay for some presents that your kids will forget about after a couple of months.
And this is what really makes me hate the consumerist message pushed in adverts like the Littlewoods one. They urge people to spend money they can't afford to buy things they don't need in order to make their children like them. And, by pushing this message, more children will find themselves with parents to busy working to spend time with them and more families will find themselves loaded up with debt this christmas.
More broadly this is the problem with our economic model. What we've effectively done is create an economy and society which knows the price of everything but values nothing.
So, if you really need to be told, don't waste your money on expensive presents. Spend time with your kids instead - that's all they really want for christmas.