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What to say to child when you can’t afford the ‘main’ gift?

374 replies

UnTrussworthy · 21/10/2022 13:58

My 4yo DD has asked for a particular present this year. One toy, that’s she’s been asking for for months and months since she seen it.

We can’t afford it, at all. It’s too expensive with the cost of living crisis so we just can’t do it.

DD believes that Father Christmas makes all the toys before they’re given to the shops to sell and that’s why he can afford to give presents to all the boys and girls who have been good.

I did try and brush it off when she mentioned it after realising there’s no chance we can get it. I said Father Christmas might not be able to bring her a present like that this year and if there was anything else she could ask for. She said she asked if she had been a good girl and I said she has but sometimes Father Christmas gets to pick what he brings, which she just got upset and thought she had been bad because now he doesn’t want to bring her said toy.

What can I say that A- keeps the magic and B- doesn’t make her think she’s not been good enough to deserve it. I am so filled with guilt worrying about her little face on Christmas when she thinks she’s coming down to the toys she’s asked for and she isn’t.

OP posts:
LeafHunter · 21/10/2022 14:00

Change the narrative around Father Christmas. He brings the stocking and parents bring the gifts. Read some books together where he’s filling up stockings etc.

Whinge · 21/10/2022 14:00

Are you happy to share what the present is? There might be a cheaper version that would work, or a MN might have seen an offer that helps make it more affordable.

DottieCotton · 21/10/2022 14:01

I'm not entirely sure how to explain it as my children are much younger but is there anyway you can find the item on vinted, depop or eBay for cheaper? I'd have a nosy on there beforehand just to see if you can find it, I've been pleasantly surprised before today at what you can get.

If not hopefully someone will come and give you a good way to tell DD - it's shit this year, isn't it but hopefully you'll find an alternative she's happy with.

Summeryjustice · 21/10/2022 14:02

Every year my kids ask for all kinds of crazy things from fathers Christmas because he’s magic so they think he can bring a play station/quad bike/pony. We just say repeatedly that he will bring you something lovely but he doesn’t always bring what you ask for. He is magical and mysterious so you don’t have to have all the answers 😉

crymeout · 21/10/2022 14:03

Can I ask what the toy is OP?

I would say that Santa does the stockings and delivers presents but mummy and daddy pay for them- although that might be a bit much for a four year old. I didn't do this with my five year old and now she thinks she can ask for anything and she'll get it because she's on the good list (I'll deal with that soon).

Or, could you get her a smyths catalogue or browse toy shops online with her but refine the budget on the filter so that she doesn't see anything over x amount? She might see something she prefers.

weewill · 21/10/2022 14:03

Could you look at getting it second hand?

I'd also change the narrative around Father Christmas too.

IDontDrinkTea · 21/10/2022 14:04

Can you share what it is? We might be able to think round ways to make it in budget

RandomMess · 21/10/2022 14:04

Perhaps explain you need to send the money to Santa and sadly you can't afford that much

moonlight1705 · 21/10/2022 14:04

Do you have anything like nectar points or anything voucher wise from banks to help bring the cost down? Or see if it is on ebay/marketplace as someone has suggested.

StrataZon · 21/10/2022 14:04

I always told mine that we still had to send the money to the elves who made the gifts. So they could only ask for what mum and dad could afford to pay for!

Orangio · 21/10/2022 14:05

We didn't have much money growing up. Santa brought the stockings, with cheap niknaks in them. Our parents gave us the main presents, wrapped under the tree. They couldn't afford much, but they told us that and we understood. Trust your daughter with the truth, but start breaking it to her now so you don't spring it on her on the day.

Beamur · 21/10/2022 14:05

Father Christmas only brings stockings.
Big gifts are labelled who they are from.

Lovemusic33 · 21/10/2022 14:06

But 2nd hand?

What is the gift? Is it possible it maybe on offer on the run up to Christmas? Could family chip in and buy it together?

RobertaTheRobot · 21/10/2022 14:06

She's 4 you can still change the father Christmas story slightly. We have a dc who is 5 and we changed it so that he only brings the stockings, and then everything under the tree is from us or family etc

BIWI · 21/10/2022 14:07

What is it and how much is it?

TBH, unless you're talking about hundreds of pounds, if she's been asking for it for 'months and months' as you say, could you not have saved for it? Christmas is still 2 months away.

minticecreamisjustok · 21/10/2022 14:08

Say that you also buy the presents and Father Christmas will bring a surprise. Otherwise be honest if it is too expensive or ask relatives to chip in instead of buying something random.

Soubriquet · 21/10/2022 14:08

I would go and get that particular present and then scale back on anything additional.

So instead of 10 presents planned, you get her the one she’s desperate and then two or three others.

UnTrussworthy · 21/10/2022 14:08

@LeafHunter I did think about changing the story but I feel like she’s going to have questions about why it’s changed and I don’t want her to not believe yet.. 😫

@Whinge Its a Minnie Mouse kitchen.. it’s very specific unfortunately. She already has a mud kitchen outside and I’ve pointed out other kitchens (Non-Minnie mouse) to try and get her to prefer something else, I’ve tried to sneakily show her some Mickey Mouse kitchen accessories that I found online and suggesting they would look nice in a nice wooden kitchen.. but nope.. it has to be the pink plastic Minnie Mouse kitchen 😂

Changing how Father Christmas works might be our only option I think. I just really hope it doesn’t make her question whether he is real or not!

OP posts:
Soubriquet · 21/10/2022 14:10

If you’re in London there’s this one second hand


TulipVictory · 21/10/2022 14:10

Could you get an alternative kitchen? sometimes you can pick them up really cheap second hand on Facebook marketplace and then get some nice Minnie Mouse stickers and decorate it? 😊

PersonaNonGarter · 21/10/2022 14:10

She’s 4. She will believe what you tell her.

Father Christmas brings the stockings. Main gifts are from parents, family and friends with a label.

EstellaRijnveld · 21/10/2022 14:12

Go on the Christmas board and look for the bargains thread, they're on thread 6 atm. Live discounts and bargains are posted on there and I've saved so much money following that over the past few years.

Consider selling old toys & old household goods to put towards Christmas. I sold an old gold necklace that I've not worn in yrs for £300. Also consider picking up a Christmas temp job, there's loads advertised atm.

captainjacksparrow · 21/10/2022 14:12

Are you in London?

What to say to child when you can’t afford the ‘main’ gift?
stormelf · 21/10/2022 14:12

I know it may be a bit late as your DD believes father Christmas makes all the toys, however could you encourage her to believe that he only fills stockings for children and that adults have to buy the other gifts? This is what we've told our just turned 5 year old. I've told her she can write a letter to father Christmas for her stocking but other gifts are bought by parents/grandparents and they may be too expensive to buy.

Is the specific gift possible to buy pre owned at all? I buy all, or as close to all as possible, of my children's gifts pre owned. This is for two reasons, one environmental as it's so much better to reuse resources but two, it's a lot cheaper. My dd's 5th birthday we got her the princess dolls she's been wanting for ages. There is no way we would've afforded them brand new but pre owned was financially viable. She loved them and doesn't care that they've been played with before.

jannier · 21/10/2022 14:12

This is the problem with saying santa brings the main well as not saying a thank you to the real gifter.
Id explain that santa has lots and lots of children to give to and especially this year many who's mummy and daddy's have no money for extras so he's had to cut back to little gifts this year to take food and little gifts for thoes with nothing

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