The One Question We Need to STOP Constantly Asking Kids During the Holiday Season - Small Legacies

The One Question We Need to STOP Constantly Asking Kids During the Holiday Season

By Kendra Johnson

There is one question that everyone always asks my kids every single december: What do you want for Christmas? Even strangers who have no intention of ever seeing my child ever again always ask “What do you want for Christmas?” "What are you asking Santa for?"

These conversations are perfectly well intended. It’s just small talk. They want to see the child smile and have a nice conversation. And while I appreciate that, it also makes me feel a little uneasy. 

Trust me, I spoil my kids rotten every chance I get. Haha. BUT knowing in my heart that Christmas is about something bigger than the stuff, I want to take little steps now to try and teach my kids that this season isn’t about the gifts we receive. 

I’m going to put myself out there and say that I am a Christian and I personally honor Christmas as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. I completely respect that this isn’t the case for most other people I know. 

Even if you don’t celebrate any religious holidays this time of year, I believe we can all be really intentional in helping our kids see this as a season of contentment and giving. NOT a season of getting. 

But how are our kids supposed to develop the norm of selflessness if they are constantly being asked to reflect on want want want? Here’s my option, take it or leave it. 

Instead of asking kids what they want for Christmas this year, WHAT IF we instead asked them something like this:

  • Do you have any special plans with your family this month?
  • Have you done any Christmas shopping yet?
  • What are you planning to get your brother for christmas? 
  • Have you thought about what you’re getting your parents yet?
  • What kinds of foods will you be cooking this holiday season?
  • Are you making anything for your friends for Christmas?

There are SO MANY ways we can encourage our children to focus on giving and participating in quality family time. So instead of asking about a man in a red suit, maybe we can try to reflect on what the reason for the season should be and focus on that?

I know it's completely innocent and well intended when people ask my kids what theywant from Santa, so I’m not going to say anything to those people or ask anyone to change their own words. But I WILL change how I talk to the kids in my life. And maybe, through this simple change I can start to help the little ones in my life think of this as a season of more than just getting.


Kendra Johnson is a certified elementary educator based in rural Wisconsin. As a parent and teacher, Kendra has a passion for teaching through engaging and varied techniques. Her background in theatre, educational technology and curriculum development have fueled her passion for teaching life skills to youth creatively.

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