Parents under too much pressure to fork out at Christmas, says priest

Parents under too much pressure to fork out at Christmas, says priest

Parents are struggling to support their children financially during the Christmas holidays, a Dublin-based priest has said.

Speaking about how Christmas has become over-commercialised, Fr James Noonan OCD, Prior of St Teresa’s Church in Dublin’s city-centre, said that buying presents “is starting earlier and earlier every year”, and that even before Hallowe’en, preparing for Christmas has already begun.

He added that this practice “puts a huge amount of pressure” on parents, especially families who are struggling financially or who don’t see their children often due to work commitments. “If all the emphasis is on just the presents and the size of the present then there is something again diminished in that situation. I think what the present represents is far more important,” he said.

“But I think people have got lost, especially those parents who are working. They often conceal by having to give a bigger present because they feel guilty because they’re not available to their children around the clock. I think the commercial world takes advantage of that.”

Fr Noonan added that although focusing solely on the commercial side of Christmas ignores the “Faith-dimension” of the Christian holiday, exchanging gifts is still an “important element”.

“It’s the one time of the year where people can show appreciation for one another and the giving of presents of course is a beautiful thing. But I think that we just need to keep the balance between what’s genuine in this and what comes from the heart, and what is just a commercial outlet for it as well,” he said.


Explaining how parents could best prepare for Christmas this year, Fr Noonan said it is vital to help children to remember that “they’re absolutely loved in their family and that their parents love them”, adding that parents should give their children presents which will “enrich their lives” and “develop their gifts”.