My children want expensive gifts for Christmas

Your Question

My children wrote their Christmas wish lists last week and they want really expensive gifts that I don’t think we can afford. It’s been a hard time for all of us and I want them to enjoy Christmas. How do I address this?


Hi there,

Thank you for reaching out to Ask Robyn with what is going on for you as a parent. We know this time of year can be tough and stressful for many families and it can be hard to reach out for support. First of all, we want you to know that you are not alone in having this additional stress coming up to Christmas, many families feel the additional financial pressures around this time of year and it is so much harder to manage with children too.

When you mention Christmas wish list is it a Christmas wish list for Santa? If you are trying to keep the magic of Santa around it could help to address it in a way such as “Santa will try his best to get you a gift on your wish list, he wont be able to get you everything but he will try his best, and some times Santa might have another idea of a surprise for you that isn’t on your list.”

Although it can feel hard to say no, it does allow you to start the conversation about money. You can address it in a way and say that you have been in touch with Santa and he has a budget that he has to stick to for making the toys so we may have to consider some smaller or cheaper options for Santa.

Older children/ teenagers do tend to be more understanding and if the wish list isn’t related to Santa’s gifts it may be worthwhile having a conversation around money and big gifts, give them the opportunity to consider a smaller gift or reconsider.

We understand it can be tempting to purchase the expensive gift and how we would all love to see our children happy on Christmas. We can try to move the focus to games and spending quality time with family, remind them that this time of year isn’t just about the presents. Validate their feelings of disappointment around changing the gifts, and praise them when they reconsider. Include them on planning fun activities together as a family so they can have things to look forward to over the holidays. You may find this article from our website helpful:

We hope you have found this helpful. If you would like to talk more about this, you can contact ISPCC’s Support Line which can be contacted by email to [email protected] or by phone from Monday to Friday 9am – 1pm on 01 522 4300 

Take care,  


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