Kids Scale Back For Santa This Year

   By drodriguez  Dec 15, 2009

Sitting on Santa’s lap may never have been quite so telling as it is this year.  Santa Claus impersonators around the country are reporting that children are asking for more modest gifts this year probably due to the financial struggles they hear about at home.  Letters posted to Santa Claus in North Pole, Alaska where there is a Christmas-themed shop set up to receive wish lists from children is reporting a sentiment reflective of the tough economic times.  Rather than the normal expensive video game system, many kids are asking for more practical items like school clothes and lbrary cards.

A recent article from the Wall Street Journal reports on the change children have made to their wish lists this year.  Operations manager, Paul Brown, from the Santa Claus House in North Pole, Alaska has seen the change coming in the last couple of years.  Brown says of the letters to Santa that they receive, "When we had the housing crunch, we saw, ’Please help us stay in our house,’ This year it is more job related."

As a part of training, many Santas are now receiving tips from their employers on how to deal with questions regarding the recession and how to calm a worried child.  Some of the advice given to theSantas today are to let the child know that things will get better and instead of promising a specific gift to tell the child that Santa will bring a surprise this year. 

The Wall Street Journal goes on to report that Santa is not always the best indicator of how the season will turn out, economically speaking.  Some recent government data shows that sales inched up from October to November indicating that holiday shopping was well on its way. 

What do you think of the reports that children are scaling down their Christmas lists this year?

Have you seen evidence of this yourself?

Make a Comment

LoriAbramson by LoriAbramson | Louisville, KY
Dec 30, 2009

I seem to have lucked out in the child dept. My daughter doesn't understand economic issues as of yet and has never been personally effected by them yet she has always had the simpliest of lists. When she was 2, all she wanted from Santa was french fries and coke. This year, now that she's 4, she asked for candy, cookies, art supplies and a stuffed panda.

funinme by funinme | Roseville, MI
Dec 24, 2009

I agree. This year should be about family and if you have children teach them the importance of giving to others that are in more need than them. This year I had to cut back on Christmas gifts. But at the same time I told my children there a so many children in the world who will not have one thing for this Holiday and that they should be thankful that we are able to enjoy what we have and the huge great dinner that we are going to eat. Also this year I had my children give hats and scarfs to foster children because they were less fortunate than them. This helped them to understand the importance of family gathering and not just presents.

mommys3angels by mommys3angels | Pepperell, MA
Dec 23, 2009

While I think it's great that this generation seems to be more modest, it saddens me that they are so aware of the economic situation. I know it is hard to shield them from the troubles and stressors we face during this trying time, but it can be done. My husband lost his job in January, two weeks before the birth of our third child. We made it a priority to keep things as normal as possible for our other two children especially with the impending changes coming with a new baby and an inevitable move for a new job. This year hasn't been without hardship for my kids, but I think that things could have been a lot worse.

gramma by gramma | portsmouth, VA
Dec 22, 2009

The economy is making it necessary to focus the meaning of the holiday instead of commercializing it.

abbybell by abbybell | GROTON, CT
Dec 22, 2009

This year I plan to start my christmas shopping the day after christmas that way I can get all the holiday items on clearence, plus if I spread out the shopping and put items on lay-away it will not leave me broke and not feel like i am spending too much.

BadgerBride by BadgerBride | Champaign , IL
Dec 22, 2009

Hopefully this will have a positive impact on kids and help them to be less present hungry during the holiday's. When I was young the holidays was about spending time with family and friends. We didn't really get a lot of presents and I don't think we were any worse off for it. I think it's a great time for parents to teach their kids the true meaning of christmas and maybe take them shopping for a present to give to someone less fortunate than themselves.

mardel by mardel | SCHAUMBURG, IL
Dec 22, 2009

Unfortunately nowadays kids are seeing the effect the economy is doing to their parents and other people. They can't act like children without worrying if mommy and daddy are going to have enough money for toys and food. The little ones may not know the situation but for kids who are older and more aware just seems that the economy is affecting them. Christmas at my house is all about family but I also like to reward my kids with a special toy for working so hard at school.

Jenny623 by Jenny623 | Williamston, MI
Dec 21, 2009

Santa has never been a big thing in our home, and having lists have a different meaning. In our home, Santa only brings what is in the stocking. We have always wanted the children to know that the gifts left are those from Mom & Dad, and family, and that we all work very hard to get them the extrra special things. Yearly we "give" to those less fortunate in different ways, so my 5 year old knows and is greatful for all he has. Although he knows of the economy, and mentioned that this year seemed to be we gave more than last year, and asked if it were due to the Mom's and Dad's not having enough money. Family and friends are always more important than things.

coupons4tucson by coupons4tucson | Tucson, AZ
Dec 20, 2009

It's gotta be the older kids realizing their parents financial situation. As much as parents can tell young kids that Santa may only bring a few items on their list, the young still seem tol have no boundries for how long their lists are. I do know that in my house my kids ask for everything that they see and it goes on the list, but when sitting on Santa's lap only the top 2 presents are expressed. It doesn't mean that they don't want the other things, but that they REALLY want those items.

basilandcatnip by basilandcatnip | GARLAND, TX
Dec 16, 2009

No, I still hear kids asking for things. It's the parents that are more concerned on how to organize with grandparents and other family members to make a few of the items on the kids list happen.

joy9281 by joy9281 | TOLEDO, OH
Dec 15, 2009

Kids are so aware of the hurts and stresses in our lives. This is what makes children so special and makes it so important for us to protect them and watch yourself around them.

momagarry by momagarry | MILWAUKEE, WI
Dec 15, 2009

I agree this season should be more about family.

Monzav by Monzav | Iowa City, IA
Dec 15, 2009

While I agree that this tugs a bit on my heartstrings, I think it's actually very sweet of children to be so conscious of the economy. It really shows the heart of younger generations, and the intelligence children possess in expressing their concern for these things in this way. Frankly, I have not seen this in my household much haha! My 5 year-old still managed to rack up a 70+ item online wishlist, although she did mention in passing how she expected "just a couple" of gifts. Hmm, maybe I am seeing some of this! I kind of like it because children are learning lessons in modesty, which is a necessary lesson for anyone.

tif_ki by tif_ki | Sebring, OH
Dec 15, 2009

this is very sad to see it this year. my 9 yo son had a very mosest christmas list this year and after talking to his bff mother her son has only asked for 2 things. I didnt look at it like this for him. poor guys =( we will have to have a heart to heart. I thought It was just part of him growing up.

msfriendly by msfriendly | MONROE, WI
Dec 15, 2009

The holidays should be more about families and celebrations instead of gifts. I hope this trend continues.