What do kids really want for Christmas?

By Michelle Fisher · 20 November, 2017

What do kids really want for Christmas?

Are you wondering what to buy your kids for Christmas? Do you feel that to give them a great Christmas you need to give them everything they have added to their Christmas list? Have you considered blowing the budget just to create an even bigger pile of presents under the tree than you did last year? Advertising and social media can make us feel that the way to give our children a happy Christmas is to shower them with material things. This can put an enormous strain on our finances and make Christmas a really stressful time for us. So before you buy the next Christmas gift ask yourself this question, “What do kids really want for Christmas?”

This is what kids say makes them happy

Research has shown time and time again that it isn’t wealth and material things that make us happy, but good relationships that are necessary for lasting happiness. When we relate that to children, it’s the relationships that they have with their parents or primary caregivers that are at the base of their future happiness. Psychologist John Bowlby, a pioneer in the study of parent-child attachment, believed that this relationship has enormous influence in shaping a child’s self-esteem, their expectations of other people and view of the world in general. A recent study by The Children’s Society interviewed thousands of children and asked them what makes them happy with their lives. The results showed that what they really want is their parents to take the time to talk and listen and to show them warmth.

Your time is free

I’m not for one minute suggesting that when your child opens a longed for gift that they won’t be absolutely delighted and feel happy. What I am saying is that kids have told us that what really makes them happy is having their parents spend time with them. So with this in mind ask yourself if your kids really need that extra Christmas stocking filler or one more present under the tree? The answer will probably be no. Hurray, that’s one less exhausting expedition you have to make!! How lovely to know that the thing your kids really want for Christmas is your time and your time is free!

The benefits of giving kids your time

So as well as raising happy kids what are the other benefits of giving them our time?

  • Giving undivided attention to your child sends a very important message. It says, “You are important to me. I am interested in what you have to say and I enjoy being with you”
  • Focusing your attention on each of your children boosts their self-esteem
  • Individual attention helps you get to know your child better and understand what s/he thinks and feels. This means you can help them manage their feelings and work towards their goals
  • It keeps the lines of communication open
  • It strengthens the parent-child relationship
  • It develops positive behaviours because your child is receiving positive attention from you
  • It creates happy memories
  • It’s what your kids really want for Christmas!

You can read more about the importance of spending time with your child in my earlier blog.

20 low cost easy to prepare Christmas activities

You probably already have lots of activities you could do with your kids during the Christmas holidays, but if you’re searching for some low cost, easy to prepare ideas I hope that the list below is helpful. Most importantly, let your kids choose which activity they would like to do. If they have chosen it themselves you can be sure it is really something they want to do.

  1. Make Christmas decorations together
  2. Go to a Carol service or go Carol singing together
  3. Watch a Christmas movie. Make it into a movie night, serve popcorn, ice cream and drinks and cosy up on the sofa
  4. Go to the park and talk about the way things look in winter: the trees, the sky, how people dress when it’s cold and collect pinecones
  5. Attend Christmas school events together
  6. Read books together. For older children ask what book they are reading and then read it yourself. In both cases talk to your child about the story and what they like/dislike about it
  7. Make Christmas cards
  8. Make Christmas shapes with the cookie cutters and playdough
  9. Make paper snowflakes
  10. Wrap the Christmas presents together
  11. Sing and dance to Christmas songs
  12. Make salt dough ornaments
  13. Colour in some Christmas pictures
  14. Make a bird feeder
  15. Go for a walk in the dark to look at the Christmas lights
  16. Ask children if they would like to choose three of their toys to donate to a charity shop and get them to help you take them there
  17. Play Christmas games for teens
  18. Play Christmas bingo
  19. Get the whole family to play a Christmas game
  20. Make mince pies

I hope you and your children have a lovely time doing some of these Christmas activities together and enjoying each others company. Wishing you all a very happy, playful and fun festive time.