Toby Young Toby Young

What do you buy your child for Christmas when he wants a life-size moon rocket?

Toby Young suffers from Status Anxiety

Shame has descended on the Young household this Christmas. When my wife picked up our four-year-old from school last week she was intercepted by his teacher who wanted a quiet word. ‘Oh no,’ she thought. ‘What’s Ludo done now?’ In fact, it was more a case of what I’d done — or failed to do. The teacher explained that she’d asked the children to write letters to Santa, saying what they wanted for Christmas. At the top of his list Ludo had written: ‘Lite bulb’. When the teacher asked him why he’d chosen such an unusual present he told her that the bulb in his bedroom had stopped working months ago and his deadbeat dad still hadn’t replaced it. Ludo’s hope was that if Santa brought him a light bulb for Christmas, his daddy might finally pull his finger out.

One of the reasons I’m so embarrassed by this story is that, for weeks now, I’ve been complaining about how greedy my kids are when it comes to Christmas presents. Ludo has never asked for anything as modest as a light bulb before. On the contrary, he has presented me with endless lists, some stretching to several sides of A4, nearly all of which contain items like ‘S Box’ and ‘Wee’ accompanied by detailed drawings in case he’s spelt them incorrectly. He spent the best part of an afternoon drawing a picture of a ‘Roket’ and then painstakingly explained that it wasn’t supposed to be the actual size. He wanted a real rocket, one that could take him to the moon.

The sheer ambition of Ludo’s requests is quite endearing. Clearly, he is still an innocent when it comes to money. Not so my six-year-old daughter. Sasha knows that if she asks for anything costing more than £25, she’s unlikely to get it.

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