Emma Tapping, a UK-based blogger and mother of three, posted a picture of her Christmas tree to Instagram and Facebook recently.
Tapping, who primarily blogs about ways to save money and take advantage of deals, had no clue what would happen next.
First, some people posted critical comments saying there were too many presents.
Then, some pages started screenshotting the tree and putting critique’s alongside it. One page said the photo showed that “it’s nearly time for all the materialistic parents to compete and broadcast how many presents their kids have.”
That post alone has received over 100,000 shares, with many more shares coming from similar pages.
But Tapping, alerted to the harsh criticism, posted a rebuttal on Facebook.
She said the picture was not meant to brag, but to just show her tree.
She said despite rumors she’s 35 and had her oldest kid at age 21. She also has a nine-year-old daughter and 19-month-old son.
And she said the presents under the tree are not only for her children, but also for herself (from others), her partner, and her mother.
Tapping added to the Daily Mail that the 300 gifts around the tree cost only $2,283 (£1,500), and that she bargain hunts all year to buy gifts that don’t cost too much.
“I was more shocked by the reaction of people who instantly thought I was a bragging parent with spoilt little brat children. I was shocked how judgemental people were. My attitude is what I buy my kids is my business, no one else’s,” she said.
“The worst comments were for me were about the kids, the lady that stole the picture knew it must of been a kid’s Christmas tree, hence ‘materialistic parents,’ so that was upsetting that people didn’t think about that before judging.”
She added on The Morning that her kids are not spoiled.
“You can buy your children two presents or 200 but it is the way you bring them up. They could have two presents and still be a little terror,” she said. “My kids know the difference between right and wrong, they appreciate everything they get and they don’t get spoilt throughout the year, we don’t go on expensive holidays. If they break something like their phone they have to save up their money to replace it.”