Why Meghan Markle Shooting Down Archie's Christmas Gift Idea Is Brilliant Parenting
Take a page out of the royal book.
Meghan Markle didn't hesitate to let her 4-year-old son Archie know that there's a limit to how much she is willing to spend at Christmas, and her approach should inspire parents everywhere.
Though typically very private about her children, Markle shared a sweet detail about one of Prince Archie’s hobbies in an interview recently resurfaced by People and first posted by Gold Derby. The event took place in Montecito, California, where Markle lives with her husband, Prince Harry, and their two kids, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.
Markle was moderating a panel following the screening of The After, a Netflix short film starring David Oyelowo and directed by Misan Harriman, when she revealed that Archie had developed an interest in photography, inspired by Harriman, a photographer who has taken several portraits of Markle’s family.
"The inspiration runs deep," Markle told the panel, as reported by People. "Our 4-year-old" — she paused before correcting herself — "4-and-a-half-year-old son. He would say, 'No, I'm not 4. I'm 4-and-a-half. Misan was showing him how to do photography the last time he was with us, and I bought Archie a camera."
When Archie saw the camera, he right away saw that something was different. "He said, 'But it's not a Leica, like Misan,' " shared Markle, with a laugh. Leica cameras run well into the $5,000 range, just for the base camera. "I said, 'You are not getting a Leica! Not even for Christmas,' " the Duchess of Sussex continued, before shooting a look at Misan and adding jokingly, "So thank you for the inspiration across the board."
In addition to being delightful, her anecdote is a great example of how to set expectations, especially around the gift-giving season. Markle establishes a clear and immovable boundary by being honest with Archie — he won’t find a Leica under the Christmas tree; there’s no way that gift is coming. Her answer shuts down any false hope that Santa may yet deliver the gift of his dreams, and also gives space for his interest in photography to develop into a sustained hobby that can grow in step with his focus and skill.
According to parenting expert Amanda Muse, who spoke with Global News, being open with our kids about finances and gifts can help prevent unrealistic expectations. “We’re just honest. It’s like, ‘I’m sorry, that’s a little outside of mommy’s budget for this Christmas; let’s revisit this,’ ” she said of setting expectations for her kids, who are 5 and 7.
Muse also suggests parents set clear boundaries and expectations when it comes to creating Christmas lists, ensuring they know that the list doesn’t guarantee anything. “Lists can breed greed, and they confuse the lesson that if you work hard and are good, you’ll be rewarded,” she said.
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