Should Children Have Christmas Stockings At All?

December 2, 2015 Published by

Should Children Have Christmas stockings at All (banner)

Little else compares to the excitement of Christmas morning, when children look over at their stockings that have magically been filled with presents overnight and see the first sign that it is Christmas day!

However a lot of the meaning of Christmas has been lost over the years to consumerism and there is a worry that stockings too have become a part of this.

In this article we will have a look at the arguments for and against giving children stockings and consider whether children should even have stockings at all any more. If you want some tips on what to fill your children’s stockings with this year see our Stocking filler ideas here.

The Problem with Christmas Stockings

If one child gets an iPod and another gets a toothbrush, the latter may think that Father Christmas doesn’t like them.

The trouble is that for some families the cost of stockings is going up and up and this putting pressure on everyone, particularly those struggling with the cost of Christmas. You may have seen shops advertising tablets and various gadgets worth £100 each as ‘stocking fillers’ – compared to a clementine and a bag of chocolate coins, that’s a huge inflation. Parents do this with good intentions; they just want to give their children the best they can. But children are just happy opening presents, they don’t have to be expensive ones!

Don’t forget, children believe these presents are from Father Christmas – they will undoubtedly compare presents with their friends and if one gets an iPod and another gets a toothbrush, the latter may feel they’ve been ‘bad’ this year and that Father Christmas doesn’t like them.

It can also give children the wrong message about Christmas; it’s meant to be about giving, not receiving.

Furthermore, some would say the idea of encouraging children to be excited about an old man coming down the chimney and, potentially, into their bedroom in the middle of the night is pretty worrying and sending all sorts of mixed messages.


Why Stockings at Christmas are good

Stockings are traditional and give parents a great excuse to stay in bed!

Stockings full of presents are part of the fun of Christmas and are traditional for many families – some adults still have stockings from their childhood!

They can also give parents a great excuse to stay in bed just a little longer while the children pile in and open their presents, spreading the present opening over the day and keeping children entertained.

It’s also a good opportunity for parents to gift odd bits and pieces they have saved up over the year, without feeling like they have spoilt their child. Presents can be small and practical – things like toothbrushes, pencils and socks that are useful, but would be perhaps less well received as a ‘present’ otherwise. 

Stockings can also actually be a way to combat consumerism – have you thought about including home-made thoughtful gifts or charity gifts? It’s a great opportunity to talk about the magic of Christmas, the spirit of giving and caring about others too.

So, should Children have Stockings?

The magic of Christmas stockings shouldn’t be lost because of consumerism and modern paranoia. It’s all about how you present it to children. It’s important to take time to talk to children about the magic, spirit of giving and caring rather than focusing on the fat guy in a suit coming into their bedroom and giving them everything they wanted / asked for. In fact some children will be understandably scared about the latter and it’s important that families can make adaptation to their traditions to accommodate these fears.

However, you can save money, avoid jealousy and encourage a good attitude for your child by setting a budget for their stockings. One or two more expensive toys (ideally still under £10) are fine, but stocking fillers can be small cheap things to unwrap and children will be just as happy. 

For the benefit of everyone, let’s all agree not to go overboard with stockings this year.

Have a look at our stocking filler guide, with Good Toy Guide tested and approved toys to suit different ages and budgets.


Little Girl Smiling by Personal Creations licensed under CC BY 2.0

Stockings by Jamie licensed under CC BY 2.0


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This post was written by Anna Taylor

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