Barry Peters: What price for a happy memory?

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One of my old family photo albums fell off the shelf at the weekend. I think it was a sign.

Among the shots of Rover the dog – the original wild Rover – and blurry John O’Groats memories, were pictures of Christmases past.

I recalled my best Christmas present. It was a ruby red Raleigh Chopper and there I am, in my socks, astride the two-wheeled beast on the kitchen lino.

I think second best was the year I received a typewriter. That’s probably why I’m here writing this column today.

But Christmas has become such big business these days. Shops rely on the festive period to hit budget targets and rarely has the final firework tailed off into the distant skies before the first decorations hit the shelves.

For parents, the pressure can be intense. Games consoles, designer labels, mobile phones and the like will be at the top of many wishlists - but at what price?

My happiest memories of Christmases past have nothing to do with the amount spent on a present - those memories are of silly games which left us in fits of laughter or simple games of bingo. They will live long in my head as I try to create treasured moments for me and my own children which will last a lifetime.

So when I see parents saddling themselves with debts which will last well into 2012, I worry that laughter is being sidelined in favour of a Christmas bought online via a punch-drunk credit card.

n YOU may recall me mentioning an egg stall by the side of the road in Pakenham - found on a summer bike ride.

I popped back last week for a tray of 15 extra large eggs - and my heart sank.

One night in early November, someone saw fit to steal a tray of eggs from there, costing £3. There’s a CCTV picture of the thief on the little booth. Hooded and a scarf covering his face.

You give Suffolk a bad name.