Christmas: How to React If Your Child Is Disappointed by Their Gift

Written by Henrik Rothen

Dec.25 - 2023 10:04 AM CET

How to React If Your Child Is Disappointed by Their Gift.

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Christmas lists written by children can sometimes be so long that parents inevitably have to make choices.

This can lead to disappointment when gifts are opened. In such cases, how should one manage?

It's entirely legitimate for a child to express sadness or anger upon discovering that Santa Claus didn't bring the long-awaited gift. It's important not to label them as capricious. According to French media L'Independant, if any guests present criticize the child's behavior and lecture them, try to remain calm and respond.

"He is disappointed, and his reaction may seem disproportionate. But he's not doing it on purpose and has the right to say he's not happy." Your child will feel relieved to have your support and to be able to express their emotions.

Honesty Is the Best Policy

If your child asks why Santa Claus didn't meet their expectations, be honest. There's no need to say that Santa is overwhelmed or that his elves are pranksters.

Simply explain that Santa was concerned that a tablet might hurt their eyes, or that he preferred to have the agreement of mom and dad before bringing a small animal into the house.

Handling Prolonged Upset

If the child's tears or sulking persists, trying to convince them that the received gift is really great would be futile. They might end up disliking the gift entirely.

Instead, suggest going together to their room to fetch their comfort toy or to the kitchen to check on the turkey's cooking. They are overwhelmed by their emotions and need a moment alone with you to calm down.

Resisting the Urge to Compensate

Even if the child seems affected in the days following, don't rush to buy the missing gift. If you didn't do it before Christmas, there were good reasons.

If it's a product that wasn't available during the holidays, you can ask before their next birthday if they still want it and offer it then.