Social worker's plea to parents this Christmas

Brooke Rolfe
News Reporter

Parents have been encouraged not to tell their children expensive Christmas gifts are from Santa.

In an alert to social media, a social worker argued children with less wealthy parents may feel “not good enough” in comparison to their peers if they don’t get a big gift from Santa.

“I can not stress this enough. Stop telling your Santa-aged kids that their iPads, iPhones and $200 toys are from Santa, because some families can’t afford that,” the woman wrote to Facebook.

“Little kids wonder why they got socks or a coat, or hand-me-down toys from Santa and other kids got an iPad.”

Santa-aged kids are at risk of feeling de-valued if they don't get expensive gifts from Santa, a social worker said. Source: File/Getty Images

The woman said it broke her heart every year after Christmas when parents came to her after being asked by their kids if they weren’t well-behaved enough throughout the year or if Santa didn’t like them.

“Take credit for the gift. Santa didn’t buy that iPad, mummy or daddy did. Leave the less expensive gifts to be from Santa. Be blessed you can afford what others cannot,” she wrote.

While presenting a compelling argument, experts contacted by Yahoo News Australia said this was not necessarily a blanket rule parents needed to follow.

Dr David Hawes, an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Sydney, said the way parents chose to go about gifting Christmas presents was a matter of personal preference.

Experts say parents should follow their own preference when gifting presents for their children. Source: File/Getty Images

“Parents should feel completely free to approach this kind of thing in whatever way fits with their values and judgement. I am not aware of any compelling evidence that either approach is harmful,” Dr Hawes told Yahoo News Australia.

Child and Adolescent Psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg agreed, and said the way the issue was approached often varied according to different family’s religious attitudes, values and beliefs.

He suggested parents take on a new Christmas gifting concept called the “want, need, wear and read principle”.

“This holiday season we recommend that you resolve to buy your children no more than four presents each. One thing they want, one thing they need, one thing to wear and one thing to read (can even be an e-book),” Dr Carr-Gregg told Yahoo News Australia.

“Some people have added a fifth component which is to encourage your child to choose a present that they will give away to charity. 

“Given that many Australians are struggling financially and often go into debt during these holidays, much of the angst around gift buying can be reduced by adopting this principle.”

Dr Carr-Gregg’s top tips for children’s Christmas gifts

  • Buy within accordance of your own values, attitudes and beliefs

  • Consider gifting just four gifts to children, each with a specific purpose

  • Adapt the “want, need, wear and read principle”

  • Parents should consider a fifth gift, for their child to give away to charity

  • Shopping mindfully might help avoid debt and angst often associated with the festive season

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