Barbies were always on the list, and the odd Ken to make the role play interesting.
One year it was a Cabbage Patch doll, cassettes to play in my pink Sony Walkman, a Pool Pony and a crimper.
I would have been happy if Santa delivered just one or two of these, especially if one of them was the Cabbage Patch doll as all the cool girls in my class had one.
(Santa did deliver. The name on her birth certificate was Katrine Barbara but I changed it to Natalie after my favourite on Young Talent Time.)
Gift vouchers did not yet exist, the closest thing being some cash in an envelope from your grandparents to accompany the perfumed drawer liners and embroidered hankies.
And to make sure Santa was clear on his instructions you’d head down to the Magic Cave to whisper it in his ear. On his lap! Oblivious to the concept of a global pandemic which would require your as yet unborn offspring to sit 1.5 metres from the jolly fellow.
Fast forward to that generation and my eleven year old Frankie just delivered her Christmas wish list. Via a PowerPoint presentation.
She summoned us to sit down in the lounge room and, using a wooden spoon as a pointer, talked us through her aesthetically-pleasing slides.
I was stunned and impressed in equal measures.
On the list, a zodiac necklace, PJs, jeans, an age-inappropriate crop top and one of those ridiculous two litre drink bottles that takes up an entire school bag and requires two hands to lift to your mouth.
She had priced up each item with the budget-friendly disclaimer that we could find it at a cheaper price if we shopped around. Her penultimate slide was the tally of all of her desired gifts.
The final slide?
A picture of the Nintendo Switch her older sister had received a couple of yuletides ago with a price tag that exceeded the sum total of her items.
Smart kid. If only she dedicated this amount of time and energy to her Maths homework.
Word soon spread among her friendship group of her special talent. Soon she was constructing wish list presentations for her whole gang.
If she’d come up with the idea of the accessible graphic design app that she used to create her presentation she’d be on the Young Rich List and able to afford everything on her list for every student in her school.
While her resourcefulness is admirable, the materialism worries me, and yes I know the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. (Speaking of Apple, she also wants a new phone case).
What we coveted as kids was based on what we saw that others had at school or what we’d circled in the Toy World catalogue. Now it’s based on a shameless shopping “haul” that’s been posted on Tik Tok or Instagram.
My beauty routine consisted of Clearasil and a dab of Rose Musk perfume from the Body Shop, now the teens are all about Drunk Elephant and Sol de Janeiro and I’m finding myself raiding my daughters’ beauty stashes instead of the other way around.
She’s not completely selfish, along with the Christmas wish list she’s compiled for herself, Frankie has put the call out to the rest of the family for their requests.
She’ll have her Christmas shopping done before I’ve even started mine. I work well under pressure. If I’m not stalking someone for their car park at Marion during a 24 hour shopping marathon it’s just not Christmas.
So what’s on my list?
I tell you what, I’ve been influenced by my 11 year old. The kid has taste. I might just buy two of everything on her list. And world peace. Because I really want to be on the Nice List.