The desires of some Guyanese children this Christmas

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When it comes to Christmas gifts, there is certainly a divide in Guyana.

While there is an ever-growing evolution of the “tangible expectations” among some children there are others who care more for the love and quality time that is greatly manifested during this season of bonding.

During the late 1990’s one of the most favoured toys for boys in Guyana was toy soldiers and Barbie dolls for girls. And according to several businessmen, these toys ranged from $2000 to the most $6000.

However, the gift choices this year for some kids can cost as much as $80,000.

After interviewing several children across this country, some of them expressed what they hope to be under the Christmas tree. Some of their expectations range from Samsung phones to digital cameras and even professional paint sets.

Even more interesting is the fact that the parents of some of these children informed me that they will definitely try their best to give their children the best for Christmas, regardless of what that “best” may cost.

I spoke to a young lad who said to me that he would be really upset with his parents if they did not get him a Samsung galaxy note 2 for Christmas. And even though the lad already had an I phone he wanted the Samsung too.

Some parents would attempt bending over backwards, taking out a loan and doing a somersault in order to meet the expectations of their children this Christmas as “Barbie dolls” and “fire trucks” no longer have the “X- factor,” for some children. And there are several factors which are responsible for this evolution. The influx of technology and varying sources of the mass media are two of them.

However, on a different side of the spectrum, some children, care not for tangible gifts. Instead, it’s the family traditions they expect; Waking up to the smell of pepper pot and freshly baked whole wheat bread, helping mom and/or dad decorate the house with colourful garlands, and eating meals together as a family is probably the most priceless gift some children look forward to.

It is a gift enough for some children of modest homes.

With the rising cost of living, for some parents expensive gifts can most certainly put a strain on their budget.

And while they would most certainly wish to get their children their heart’s desires, sometimes relying on the strength of personal bonds perhaps goes a longer way.

Take for example Terry King of Callender Street, Albouystown, who turned eight years old, last month. He said, “When mommy cook up peppa pot and bake cheese roll and suh I does be really happy but sometimes daddy does want go out by the rum shop and sport with uncle ‘big foot’ and mommy does go lie down pon de bed and cry. I don’t want eat till mommy eat. All I does want is mommy and daddy to be good, cuz when they do that, we does get to sit down and watch tv (television).”

Even eleven-year-old Georgie Matthis of South Ruimveldt said that his only expectation at Christmas is the presence of parents mother and father work in the United States whilst he is left in the care of a guardian who is a Jehovah’s Witness and does not celebrate the event.

Matthis said, “Auntie buys me really nice things but last year when she got me a new bicycle I didn’t ride it. Dad and Mom couldn’t make it home in time and I wanted to wait until they were here with me, to see me take the first ride. My auntie does not like Christmas. I feel sad when mommy doesn’t get to come home in time. It really hurts when they are not here. When they are with me I feel very happy because mommy wakes me up on Christmas morning, bathes me, tells me she loves me and feeds me pepper pot and bread that she order from the shop. Mommy don’t like cook. But I like how I feel when she feed me and when we open presents together.”

Another example, which I feel the need to mention, is that of Kessy Singh who lives with her nana (grandfather) in a very humble home in Sophia.

The 10-year-old said, “I never got a gift for Christmas but every year nana shows me how to make something new. I really look forward to it. Last year he showed me how to make ginger beer and I just excited. I don’t know what we making this year but I like when nana does put on oldies in the kitchen and an old song name ‘pretty blues’ come on and he does waltz with me. It does be fun. I like cook new things with him. That is the best Christmas gift to me.”

With these examples in mind, I feel compelled to remind that even as we celebrate this season of giving, it is also important to remember that it is also a season of revering and enhancing family bonds and traditions as is aptly displayed by some children of modest homes.

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