'I'm not buying my toddler any Christmas presents this year'

With a cupboard full of unopened presents, Lillian Saleh is thinking of doing the unthinkable - rewrapping them for her toddler to open on Christmas Day instead of buying him new ones. It’s not like he’s going to notice.

With a little over three weeks until Christmas, it’s time to get serious.

Last year, our little boy was just eight months old but that didn’t stop me maxing out the credit card, decking out the house and buying him every “Oh he is so going to love this” present.

In reality, he couldn’t give a toss about all the decorations and half of his presents — many from family and friends — are still jammed, unopened, in a wardrobe.

Fast forward a year and I’m now the mother of an inquisitive, (over) confident, rough little boy who loves to push and pull and test his strength by launching himself on and off things.

The thought of putting up a tree terrifies me

All those colourful lights, baubles and tinsels are just too tempting for a 19-month-old to stay away from.

Don't try to fix everything. Give young kids a chance to find their own solutions. When you lovingly acknowledge a child's minor frustrations without immediately rushing in to save her, you teach her self-reliance and resilience.

I’m also contemplating being a grinch this year. We head off on our first family overseas holidays two days after Christmas so I’m really tempted to just re-wrap my son’s unopened presents from last year and save our dollars for the trip.

Closeup of red bauble hanging from a decorated Christmas tree. Retro filter effect.

Christmas trees might be festive but terrifying if you have little kids around. Picture: iStock.

I’m sure his reaction will be just the same — he will show more interest in the wrapping and box than the gift itself.

I was so excited for his first Santa photo last year, checking out all the different setups at shopping centres before settling on one. We’d even bought our son a new outfit — but the picture was a disaster.

He was so freaked out by creepy Santa he screamed his head off. The picture is hilarious and will do the rounds at his 21st.

Authentic Real people with different ages and real bodies. Photos are taken with spontaneity and real emotions and Captured the specific decorations, and festivities in Quebec such as Christmas and traditions. The family is around the Christmas Tree.

Not every child is happy to get a photo with Santa, Lillian Saleh discovered. Picture: SuppliedSource: istock

I’ve been doing my research again this year. But my little boy is no pushover.

While he is happy to touch the Christmas tree baubles and tug on the tinsel, he genuinely seems terrified of shopping centre Santas.

So this year, it looks like there will be no new presents and no Santa photo. Which means plenty of cash for cocktails by the pool.

Let your kids fail. To learn self-sufficiency, kids need to occasionally dust themselves off (literally and figuratively) without your help. "Most parents know what their children are capable of but step in to make things easier for them," says Sheri Noga, the author of Have the Guts to Do It Right: Raising Grateful and Responsible Children in an Era of Indulgence. Remember: Long-term benefits—a teenager who knows how to do her own laundry, for example—trump momentary discomfort. Before you rush in to help with any physical task, ask yourself: "Is my child in real danger?" Then—and this applies to other challenges, like the social studies poster due tomorrow—think about whether your child has the necessary skills (dexterity and balance) or simply adequate sleep and a snack. Yes? Time to back off and see what happens.

Merry Christmas to me!

This story was originally published on The Daily Telegraph and has been republished here with permission.