Are we creating a lot of spoilt little Emperors?


I am increasingly worried that
my kids are becoming spoilt. That they are going to one day very soon begin to EXPECT certain things. I hate to think that they will feel entitled to a certain way of life just because we have had the money to provide it. The very essence of the time we are living in, is the fact that you can have everything when you want it – it seems that the days are gone when people saved up for things or did without. It is more than evident at this time of year.
Kids write long lists and parents rush out to fulfill every wish and more – I am becoming the same. The mummy guilt strikes. And because my kids are still young they have no concept of money so I am able to keep it cheap (ish) so far. But what happens when they ask Santa for Iphones and laptops? When the Christmas list becomes the equivelant to the GDP of a small country?! Do you give them everything?


Let me take you back to my childhood for a moment (We didn’t have buckets of cash but believe me I was far from hard done by!) Life was most certainly different even 30 years ago. We didn’t go out for lunches, coffees or dinners – unless it was a very special occassion. Yet my kids are regularly out and about, toddler boys favourite treat is a Costas! We didn’t get loads of new clothes – I remember my mum getting knock off designer sweatshirts for me out the back of a van that came round our street once a month! Birthday parties weren’t something that you had evey year and if you did have one, it was usually round someones house with a few mates having sandwiches and balloons – hiring a hall and entertainment was something only for an 18th not a 4 year olds party. We didn’t go for random days out to softplay or farm parks, that was something you did during the summer when your dad was off for a fortnight. The rest of the year your mum stuck you in the garden with her mates’ kids while they sat and drank coffee.

If my parents knew I really wanted something for Christmas then chances are I would spend the whole of December gearing myself up for the disappointment of not getting it to then be blown away by receieving plenty of stuff that made me happy. But I was under no allusion by the time I was in my teens how hard my parents were working to make this happen. And we never got everything we asked for.


Which brings me onto Christmas. We would be taken to see ONE Santa and that was a guy in a supermarket not some specially selected entertainment the likes you see nowadays, like ‘Supper with Santa’ (yes, I did this with my kids and it was bloody amazing, if totally OTT!) I know of people who throughout the month of December do so many festive days out that their kids must see at least 4 Santas! Christmas, like everything else these days has become a bit over inflated, even for a die hard festive fanatic it has got a bit much. Kids are encouraged to write lists with the proviso that if they are good Santa will bring them everything they want. And those bloomin’ Elves! 😂 An American import that has gone crazy. Even if it is a bit of fun, the whole ‘big brother is watching’ undertone is a bit freaky to me.
I’ve always wondered how kids justified what other kids get for Christmas. We are told that if we are good Santa will come. So how come he gives some kids loads of expensive presents while some get a few token gifts if anything at all?

Our kids are really too young at the moment to have much concept of money and expectation but I hope to instill in them the importance of not getting everything they ask for. (Easy when they are little I know, but how do you cope when they are older?) I want them to grow up and realise they have to work hard themselves to buy the things they want. I never want them to think that someone elese will get it for them. If they are so used to being utterly spoilt then it must come as a great shock when they are out on their own and no-one is treating them like prince and princesses. I have had to work hard for everything I have – I have also had a LOT of help from my family I don’t deny. But I believe there’s a difference between helping your children in a way that makes them want to succeed in life and helping them to the point you hinder them.
Are you worried that your kids are expecting more and more? What is Christmas like in your household?


It’ s all new territory to us and as the children get older it is becoming more apparent how difficult it’s going to be. I know of a few friends who do one big present from Santa then all the rest are from mum and dad. I like this idea as it starts to show children that mum and dad are working hard to pay for the rest. But I am also a traditionalist and we always got everything given from Santa, we never questioned why mum and dad got us nothing?! I also want to keep the magic of Christmas. The feeling of seeing a pile of pressies when I was young was heartstopping and now watching my sons face last year whe he gazed in wonder and whispered ‘Santas been!’ was even better than all my Christmases.

Let me know what you think, as always I love hearing from you!

Hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and I will speak to you again in the New Year. I am taking a blogging break over the festivities and trying to put my phone away for some much needed time offline! (Of course It’ll be a Christmas miracle if that happens!)



  1. We have never gone totally mental at Christmas and always got the kids to write realistic lists to Santa with only three or four things that they really really want on it. Anything extra they get on the day is a bonus. We tend to get them one big present and a few little things to go with it. We have also started to explain to them how hard mummy and daddy work to take them on holiday, out for food, to buy new clothes etc. I’m hoping that by talking about money and how you are not just handed it at an early age will help them not turn into over privilidged adolescents. We have also spoken to the boys about children who don’t get anything for Christmas, don’t have mummies and daddies and some don’t even have a bed to sleep in, hoping that they realise how lucky and fortunate they are but to also become Kind and considerate adults. Fingers crossed. It’s bloody tough going.

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  2. I struggle to find the balance of not wasting a whole load of money on things they see on tv and ask for on a whim (and we have no room for!) and wanting them to feel a little bit spoilt and special.
    I really am lucky that when my children (7 and 3) did sit down and write christmas lists it was cheap stuff like drawing pads, pencils, keyrings, bath bombs, clothes which I’m happy to buy all of.
    Our presents come from Santa and my eldest is under the assumption that we send money to Santa so that it allows me to say that anything expensive that she may ask for, we can’t afford to send money for that.
    This is the first year that we’ve not made arrangements to visit Santa. It seems everywhere comes with some fandango fancy additions that end up costing a family of 4 anything from £30 upwards.
    And don’t get me started on Elf on the Shelf!! I absolutely don’t have the time to think about creating scenes every evening then clearing it all up again!

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  3. Kids write a list, I look at it and tell them that some of the things they are asking for are just too expensive or if they really want that item that will be all they will get with just small presents (stocking fillers) to that end 15yr old is getting a phone, perfume and stocking fillers (choc, sweets, lush bath oil,). The 12 yr old asked for lower price items so will see more under the tree – converse were on the list, I refuse to buy them except as a present given how fast her feet grow! 3 yr old asked for a kitchen. Hubby told older 2 if they want a holiday next year then they need to understand that they wont get everything on their lists! X

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  4. In answer to your question, yes; I think a lot of parents are creating little emperors. Here in New Zealand, lots of people complain that Christmas has become too commercial but that only becomes an issue if you buy into it! When I was a child, our stocking was just that – a fabric sock shaped holder so there was a limit to what could be physically placed in it! These days stocking have become sacks which hold far more items so I think a lot of kids are getting a lot more stuff these days. Personally, I’m not into lists. Sure ask your kids what they’d like and share some ideas with relatives but the best presents our boys (now 11 and 15) have received have been original ideas from people who put some thought into what they gave. Our boys have a sack but these days it’s filled with practical things (towels, sunblock, surf bootees) and they get one larger present from us. Our eldest son needs a laptop next year for school so we’ll get that in January in a sale. Our youngest is getting a Nerf gun. Funnily enough, our eldest son has just been on an expensive school trip and said he didn’t really want or need much this year as he appreciated how hard it was for us to come up with the funds for the trip. I get the boys to help me buy presents for other people and we try to buy sensibly from shops and local artists who are ethically minded/original. But remember, there are other ways to “spoil” children. I think your use of the word EXPECT alludes to that. When kids/teens EXPECT everything on a list or have unrealistic expectations or are not involved in giving themselves, they become selfish. A few years ago, we started a new tradition. I got each of the boys to put $10 of their own money together to buy gifts for the local Women’s Refuge. It’s a small gesture but I hope that as they grow older, they will realise what Christmas is really about – family, friends and a generosity of spirit.

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