Should Kids Who Make The Naughty List Still Get Presents?

Spongebob Christmas Naughty and Nice ListI always have trouble with deciding what exactly to do present-wise when my kid has definitely made the naughty list. Granted she’s nine years old, and isn’t really doing “really bad” stuff, but still she’s been AWFUL, more days than not. My husband keeps saying that we should take back some of her Christmas presents, but it sounds really mean.

I’m usually the strict one, but it’s Christmas. It would be so sad for her, especially since she’ll most likely be good on Christmas, to not get any presents. I couldn’t do that, it would break my heart. If we did take back most her of Christmas presents because she was naughty (a lot), it would really suck for her because my husband has close to a billion presents this year.

I know, Christmas isn’t just about getting presents—but they are still kinda important to kids and my husband. I prefer to give presents on Christmas, it’s way more fun than getting them. Since my husband hasn’t gotten on board with my brilliant idea to use all our Christmas money to buy stuff to donate, I’m stuck with buying presents. I got him so many presents this year that hopefully there won’t be anything he wants next year, then we can try out my idea. :-)

Back on topic, sorry. What I’m wondering is:

Should kids who have made the naughty list this year still get presents?

Should they get the same as they would if they made the nice list?


None at all?

What if you’ve already wrapped them and put them under the tree?

What do you think? Personally, I’m going back and forth because it feels really mean to do, but maybe it’s the right thing to do in the long run. I just don’t know, having a kid is still really weird to me. Yes, it’s been nine years; I wonder when I’ll get the hang of things.


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Likes: saving money, being debt free (aside from our house), zombies, travel, getting money, blogging and dogs. Dislikes: debt, being broke, bunnies, wasting money, not having enough money to travel the world and paying interest. Facebook  ♥  Twitter  ♥  Google+  ♥  RSS


Should Kids Who Make The Naughty List Still Get Presents? — 19 Comments

  1. it’s tough …but this is one of the reasons I dont to the Santa, Xmas gifts thing. Adults via songs, carols and warnings say that the gifts are tied to behavior but it’s generally not….there are thousands of very well behaved kids who dont receive anything for Xmas. I let Xmas not take over my family, parenting, etc. and try to focus on proper daily consequences, good and bad, to help direct and guide my daughter….maybe your answer lies in how much your “word” means. If you, as a parent team have said that her behavior means lesss then I think you should follow through with that.

    • I haven’t actually told her she would get less presents if she was bad. Maybe I should focus more on the daily behavior more instead of worrying about presents. There really are a ton of good kids who don’t get anything, that’s a great reminder.

  2. She’s nine years old, for heaven’s sake! Of course you should give her the same amount of presents as always. Presents are about showing love to people and you love her as much as ever. You won’t even remember trivial misbehavior later on, but she’d likely always remember and be hurt by a skimpy Christmas.

    It’s when children are misbehaving and acting out that they need parents to show them they love them more than ever. Believe me, I know–we’ve had a very tough year with my elder child, a 17 year old boy, and a 17 year old boy can get into some serious trouble. But he’s still the child of my heart, who I love more than anything on earth, and he’ll get the same number of presents as his sister.

    • You’re right, on my 10th birthday, I got into trouble. My mom cancelled my birthday party and took my presents away…I’ve never forgotten it. :-(

      • Jen you may never have forgotten it, but it may have made you the person who you are today.

        To the blogger: If your kids are being consistently naughty then spoiling them is the absolute worst thing you can do because your promoting bad behavior. I don’t care if its Christmas or birthdays. Jen’s parents obviously thought is was the right thing to do and they were most likely absolutely right.

        Jen mentioned never forgotten, so that was a learning curve in her life. If her parents bought her lots of birthday gifts then she would simply have no memory or recollection of how bad she was to deserve no presents.

        In Short, Jen I am sure you are a fantastic person and your one year of no birthday presents has made you the person you are today.

        For all others wondering, if your kids are naughty do not praise them. I know its hard to not buy kids birthday presents or Christmas presents, but if they are consistently naughty and getting worse then you best do something about it.

        Just my 2cents 😉

  3. I don’t think I would give her nothing. But perhaps a good talk about this would help? Like the other commenters said, give her the same as always but maybe sitting her down and saying ‘we’re giving you the same as always because we love you but you’ve been awful lately’ type thing would help? I’m not sure, I don’t have kids so I have no idea what this must be like for you!

    • She really does need to be talked to; keeping the presents the same seems to be the right thing to do. Hopefully it’ll get better. :-)

      • 5 years later how did things turn out? I’m a single dad with this current dileamma, and without going into too much detail my 9 year old daughter has taken things to levels I’ve never imagine a person let alone a child doanf so I feel drastic times have called for drastic measures. Any help would be appreciated

        • Dealing with the situation separately was definitely the way to go. Now she’s 14 and still kinda has a temper tantrum here and there, but we try to diffuse the situation with extreme silliness. :) You know, to snap her out of the situation.

          She still isn’t doing anything “really bad” and is a straight A student, so we do our best to deal with the tantrums and drama.

          The most important thing that has helped is sticking to our word. Even if she’s giving us a massive headache and we say something ridiculous, such as “if you slam that drawer one more time you’re grounded.” Normally slamming a drawer isn’t something that a child should get grounded over, but because we said it, we gotta follow through. It also helps us to threaten punishment less and focus on diffusing the issues. She still tests us almost every single time and admits that she never gets her way when she throws a fit, asks more than once or anything else dramatic. When we give our word, she knows that’s how it is but still tries anyway. She’s an odd one, but it could be worse.

          Good luck, raising a child alone must be 10 times harder than it is for a couple. Merry Christmas.


          • Jen! I love this. I feel like I am the only person in the world with a kid who I love with every bone in my body but who is just a bit odd. I often cannot for the life of me figure out how to parent this little nugget.

  4. I think that I would scale back the gifts. But still, it could send the message that you should be good behaved if you want to get stuff. No? I don’t know. Maybe have a talk with her – tell her that she’s not a little girl anymore and she’s growing up. I have a colleague who allows her daughter to use the internet for ten minutes (yes, 10) a day. And when she gives trouble, her internet time gets revoked. But sometimes she still gives trouble even though she knows that there are consequences.

    • That’s how my daughter is. Even if she knows the consequences, she doesn’t care and will be awful anyway. It’s really a tricky situation with Christmas presents, you don’t want to send the wrong message.

      • Jen, what did you wind up doing? I am ready to cancel Christmas all together. No tree… Nothing! We’ll maybe a nativity scene so my two boys can remember what Christmas is supposed to be about.

        • We ended up doing Christmas as normal and dealing with the situation separately. We didn’t want her to have “that kind” of memory about Christmas later on. As awful as she gets, it’s temporary. One day she’ll grow up. That’s not the kind of memory you want your child to have, no matter how awful they get. You can always punish them before or after holidays and events.
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  5. If a child has continued to misbehave at home or at school despite repeated corrections, I truly believe a child should be given less for Christmas . That is as far as presents. I would still do my best , as I have always done for my children to create a wonderful family memory. I don’t owe my children store bought gifts – Christmas is not about them, it is about the family. ( It is the celebration of Christ birth ) gifts are just a little bonus we have created . What I give is far greater then store bought gifts- family time/ special events that go along with the season. If a child has misbehaved , less gifts / but not less time. I am so surprised when I read statements that people think we owe our children store bought gifts . My oldest child is 30, along with a 22 and 17 yr old, and they are all well adjusted happy people.

  6. Thank u so much for the thoughts and advice. I am dealing with a similar situation this year. Its driving me crazy. Do I give them gifts or not….ugh……I think I’m going to end up scaling back on the amount. Even if the number is not equal for my son and daughter. I’ll just tell my son. Ur sister was better this year….maybe he’ll understand for next year.

  7. Christmas has been completely distorted. It’s suppose to be about giving. Not getting. But as parents we have turned this into trying to make sure every year we can beat the score of last year’s Christmas given by the kids response.

    Ask yourself this does your daughter focus on giving to others on Christmas or only getting? your daughter is nine so teach her this year about giving. Let her know if she doesn’t give then she does not take. Don’t forever wait on your husbands approval for everything. Also if your daughter sees you spoiling him, period, she is going to want the same regardless. Unless he gives a billion presents to you as well or does something that is of the same value you are then completely setting a horrible example for your nine year old. Also, instead of a billion gifts for kids, toys they won’t even likely remember you got them for Christmas 3 months from then. Then buy a few gifts two or 3 and also take the family on a mini vacation instead and gain an experience together.

    If your child is getting out of hand please grip it at 9. By age 11 (middle school) she will rebEl completely if you don’t. With the mindset that she should get everything she desires.