Dear Santa, I”d like a Rolex, a Maserati, a credit card – and an iPad 3… The lavish demands at Selfridges” Christmas grotto
They”ve been weaned on luxury goods and hi-tech gadgets. Now luxury department store Selfridges reveals the impossible demands Father Christmas gets from today”s children. But where does such extravagance leave cash-strapped parents
Amanda Holden popped into Selfridges Christmas grotto to sit on Santa”s knee
Oh, for the innocent days when children paying a visit to Santa”s grotto would ask for a bicycle, a Barbie or a doll”s house.
Now though, those simpler times are long gone.
At one Christmas grotto this year, Santa Claus has been inundated with requests of a more luxury nature.
Selfridges has reported demands from children as young as three for gifts such as a Rolex watch, a credit card (from an enterprising three-year-old girl), a wedding dress like Kate Middleton”s and a Maserati sports car.
So keen are the children to be first with the latest status symbols that some have even asked for an iPad 3, despite it not yet having been designed.
And this weekend, as actress Amanda Holden popped in with her five year old daughter Lexie to perch on Santa”s knee, the twinkly-eyed one revealed his shopping list was more extravagant than ever.
Elsewhere on Santa”s list was the quirky request from a three-year-old girl to be shrunk down small enough to move into her dolls house which she claimed was “so much nicer than her real home.”
An equally unrealistic plea came from another youngster, who asked for a princess palace complete with prison cell built in where she could lock up her brother.
Fantastic requests aside though, the grotto was inundated with pleas for expensive luxury items.
True, the department store”s grotto is likely to attract a certain type of child – the sort weaned on luxury goods, taught to read on a Kindle and expert at playing snap on the iPad.
Nevertheless, it”s a sign of the times that our children have come to expect such indulgence at Christmas time.
But while some parents will hardly notice the dent in their wallet, come January, the less wealthy who are striving to supply expensive gifts without the buffer of a healthy bank balance will be feeling the pinch.
A report published last week revealed that one in three Britons will take on debt to pay for Christmas gifts.
Most of those going into the red will spend more than average on their credit card, or use their overdraft to absorb extra spending.
Others said they would borrow from friends or family, or take out a personal loan.
The news came after David Cameron”s advisor urged cash-strapped parents to resist plunging themselves into debt to satisfy children who pester them for expensive presents.
Father Christmas has received lavish demands from children visiting his grotto this year, including those for a credit card (from a three-year-old girl), a Maserati and an iPad 3… which hasn”t even been designed yet
Reg Bailey implored people to fight back against the commercialisation of Christmas as it puts extra stress and anxiety on parents.
MrBailey, chief executive of Christian charity the Mothers’ Union, said: ‘This is a stressful time of the year. There’s pressure to buy expensivethings.
‘Children admit they pester their parents. But it’s terribly sad that we end up leaving parents feeling utterly guilty after Christmas, having desperately tried to make ends meet.’
He implored people to fight back against the over-commercialisation of Christmas.
‘Let’sreduce the anxiety and stress for parents, because this is a time when people are in difficult financial straits,’ he said.
‘We don’t want everyone getting into debt.’
He criticised a TV advert for Littlewoods for giving the impression that ‘you are not a good parent if you don’t buy your children all these very expensive items’, adding: ‘It’s bringing out absolutely the worst aspects of Christmas.’
The store recently came under fire for adverts that critics said encouraged shoppers to spend beyond their means by buying luxury goods on credit cards.
Selfridges reported a higher volume of guests than ever before, with a record 50,000 children expected to see Santa. Tickets for Sunday”s session sold out in a staggering seven minutes
Top request at Selfridges” Christmas grotto (from children as young as two): the iPad 2. Right, the X Box
The ads show a female shopper using her credit card to pay for luxury goods that she otherwise might not be able to afford.
A Facebook page created in opposition of the ad called it irresponsible.
“Thisad should be banned. Shame on you Littlewoods, especially as we are going through tough times. Putting such pressure on parents who struggleas it is to keep jobs and make ends meet.’
From Selfridges though, there is a glimmer of hope.
The luxury department store”s resident Father Christmas has reported seeing the highest number of children telling him that they don’t want anything for themselves, but instead wish for their presents to be given to children that won”t get any.
Perhaps the Christmas spirit is alive and well after all.
THE TOP TEN REQUESTS MADE AT SELFRIDGES” GROTTO
Barbie is still Selfridges” best selling doll
1. The iPad. The most requested gift from children – some as young as two. Santa has even had several requests for the iPad 3 (which hasn’tyet come out) from children who are determined to be the first to get it when it does.
2. X Box and Nintendo Wii. Replacing last year’s PlayStation to win title of 2011’s gaming systems of choice.
3. Lego. This iconic toy building brick is as much of a hit today as it was when it first launched over 50 years ago. This year’s most requested themes both take a sci-fi theme, with Star Wars and Ninjago outselling all other themes.
4. Hello Kitty. A favourite with girls since 1974 and still ranking high on the 2011 wish list.
5.Trains. Thomas and his chums including Percy, James and the fat controller are the fifth most wanted Grotto request. Great value and a timeless classic.
6.Transformers. Particularly Ultimate Optimus Prime, at 79.99.
7. Racing cars. Especially Lightning McQueen racing cars, available from 29.99.
8. Dolls. Despite being over fifty years old, Barbie certainly hasn’tlost her appeal, taking the crown as best selling doll at Selfridges. Barbie Princess Charm School is this year’s best seller, 22.95.
9. A wedding dress. The marriage of Kate and William has put weddings on the agenda for children as young as three, who have requested a wedding dress to help their search to find their very own Prince Charming.
10. Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Disney Dance Star Mickey 69.99 is currently Selfridges’ best selling toy (by volume), as the king of Disney comes to life by walking, talking and dancing.