How to sensibly limit gifts for children?

The trend toward expensive Christmas presents seems to be weakening this year. According to a representative survey by the Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (GfK), Germans will dig deep into their pockets 2 percent less this Christmas than they did in 2020 and will spend an average of “only” 325 euros on Christmas presents on the festively decorated (virtual) store counters this year.

The trend in terms of spending on Christmas gifts is not downward in every household. In fact, every tenth person wants to spend more money on toys, board games and puzzles. In other words, according to the study, “families with children may want to spend less money on gifts overall than they did last year, but they’re not cutting back on gifts for the kids.”

And they are doing so more quickly than in previous years: more than a third of those surveyed said they had brought forward their Christmas gift shopping this year so that their children would not have to look into an empty gift bag on Christmas Eve due to global supply bottlenecks.

How Christmas wish lists fill up …

How christmassy it will be on the children’s individual wish lists this year in view of this state of mind, however, is a completely different question. After all, every year before the festive season, an almost threatening purchasing backdrop builds up for parents. Quite a few moms and dads see the wish list as a kind of docket that sends them rushing through the aisles of stores and online stores. This pressure is fueled to an extent that should not be underestimated by the “advertising temptations” to which children are heavily exposed, especially in the run-up to Christmas.

Often, the toys advertised in commercials end up directly on children’s wish lists. Other “literature sources” for the letter to Santa are the wishes of friends at kindergarten or school. Here, too, children get inspiration for their Christmas wish list. Finally, don’t forget grandma, grandpa and other relatives who naturally want to give the child presents and ask what he or she wants for Christmas.

… and how parents can deal with it

A long Christmas wish list does not have to trigger a panic about presents. Instead, it can be seen as an opportunity for parents to discuss the wishes they have written down with their child. Does the child really need a third car racetrack, a second console or another superhero toy figure? Which of these is a real heart’s desire and which passion would probably fizzle out shortly after unpacking?

Much of this can be clarified before the Christmas wish list is sent off, gradually making the list shorter. Likewise, conversations with grandma, grandpa and co. in advance can help prevent the list from becoming so long in the first place. This works especially well when there is an “inter-family” agreement on “less is more.”

And last but not least, little tricks can help to ensure that the wish list is not written on endless paper:

  • How about, for example, agreeing as parents with the child that the desired gifts should not be written down, but exclusively drawn? After all, we all do not know how Santa Claus is about reading comprehension of different languages. Moreover, painting requires more time and demands more creativity. All the more likely that children will then automatically limit themselves to less, because they consciously and creatively focus on certain wishes.
  • The capacity of a Santa gift bag is indeed limited. After all, we should all think of the poor reindeer, too.
  • Sharing is the new having: If only one child wishes for quite a few things, there will be less for the others. After all, the hard-working Christmas elves in the toy factory at the North Pole want to take a rest and can’t make that many toys.

Limit when giving gifts

We all know that when there is too much of one thing, the value of that thing suddenly diminishes. Some call this inflation, others weariness of abundance. It is no different with gifts for children. After all, they need both a lot of time and a lot of space and attention to devote to each toy extensively. Therefore, it is advisable for parents and grandparents to agree on a large, high-quality gift and to add one or two smaller gifts.

Then the child will have enough time and concentration left to look at the carefully selected gifts, examine them and play with them.

For those who are still overwhelmed by the choice of Christmas gifts for their child, the Rule of 4 from British pop star Ed Sheeran is highly recommended. The world-famous singer and songwriter has made it a rule to give his daughter exactly four presents:

  • one that she wants
  • a gift that she more or less needs
  • a gift that she can wear, and
  • one that she can read.

Finny Kids App: Pocket money under the Christmas tree

The Finny Kids app is the first mobile banking app for children between the ages of 7 and 12 and teaches them about the world of money in a playful way. Gamification, i.e. the adaptation of gaming elements for the child-friendly communication of financial knowledge, is a central aspect of the Finny Kids App. The mobile banking app, which was developed especially for children, also conveys the value of money – and especially at Christmas time, knowledge about one’s own finances becomes particularly valuable.

Is an app suitable as a present under the Christmas tree? Why not? After all, the conscious use of pocket money is always in season. And especially when everyone is sitting together at Christmas, exciting knowledge quizzes on the subject of money with corresponding (monetary) rewards and also playful challenges that fuel the desire for financial understanding in an age-appropriate way can become joint family fun.


Click here for the GfK survey (German only):

Ed Sheeran’s Christmas gift tips can be found here (German only): . The four-gift rule is also explained here in English: