Last Sunday I played Santa at my local primary school’s PTA Christmas Fair for the second successive year. It was nice to do although rather hectic as a large proportion of the 200 pupils and younger local children whose parents were considering sending their children to the school came to tell Santa whether they’d been good and what they’d really like for Christmas. It was also encouraging to see how nice and polite the children at the school were as OMB is now in Reception class there. It was also good that my grotto didn’t collapse around me this year!
One striking difference between this year and last was the more modest presents wished for. Last year a large proportion of the children wanted expensive games consoles – it seemed like every other child in Y2-4 wanted a Nintendo DS or a Wii and many of the children in Y5-6 wanted an XBox or a PS3. There were a few unusual requests too, like one boy who wanted a lightbulb to flash above his head every time he had a good idea.
This year, apart from one family of three children who came in with their mum and asked for an iPad and an iPhone, the wishlist was more modest. There were half a dozen requests for Nintendo DS consoles. Apart from that, the majority of requests were for traditional toys like Sylvanian Families (none for the expensive large sets), dolls, remote control cars, a few bikes and scooters, books (including a Y2 who wanted The Lord of the Rings!) and a couple of chemistry sets.
Perhaps it was a sign of parents having managed their children’s expectations downwards to reflect the austere times we are living through.