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14 December 2012

Children’s Christmas Wishes Crisp and Clear

Keywords: Christmas, brands, Australia & Oceania, content analysis, wish lists,

Each year millions of children from all around the world ask billions of presents from Santa Claus. Australian researchers were curious to find out whether boys and girls differ in their purchase requests and request styles. They analyzed over 400 letters to Santa and conclude that aside from some minor differences, Australian boys and girls do not differ that much. One very important similarity between boys and girls? They all know exactly what they want! 

Take aways

  • Children know exactly what toys from which brands they want for Christmas. 
  • To make sure Santa understands their wishes well, letters to Santa are extensively written and contain lots of details about the specific products children want to have. 

Study information

  • The question?

    How brand-oriented are Australian children with their Christmas gift requests, and are there different communication styles among boys and girls?

  • Who?

    422 letters written by Australian children to Santa Claus

  • Where?


  • How?

    The researchers analyzed all letters, and then compared the content of the different letters to determine the wishes and the request styles of children.

Facts and findings

  • 45% of the gifts requested by children were branded products.
  • Australian children asked on average two branded gifts from Santa.
  • Boys and girls asked the same amount of gifts from Santa.
  • Girls were more polite than boys in their letters, for example enquiring how Santa was feeling, and saying thanks in advance).
  • Girls used more indirect requests than boys did, using phrases like ‘Can I have’ and ‘Will you bring me’).
  • 39% of all letters contained pictures or illustrations.