Rachael Bletchly: Sad Brit kids have one Christmas wish – to see their grandparents

Father Christmas must have been taken aback by the letters ­arriving from the children of ­lockdown Britain.

He’s used to requests for Lego Star Wars or PAW Patrol toys, for bicycles and electric scooters, games consoles and pretend washing machines.

Santa has even got his head round the fact that kids really DO want a grotesque plastic flamingo which sits on the toilet singing while he poops.

And so the elves in his North Pole toy factory work round the clock to deliver those Christmas gifts.

But this year the big man has been rubbing his beard and fretting that he won’t be able to give all the good boys and girls the thing their hearts most desire.

Because, the letters reveal, all many want for Christmas is a hug from Grandma – and no amount of Santa magic can make that wish come true.

So, instead, their mums and dads are spending money they don’t have over-compensating, buying the kids more stuff to make Covid Christmas merry and bright.

And the five-day, three-family, must-make-the-most-of-it fest, means some people are hosting for the first time when the pandemic has wiped out their savings.

All this, research reveals, will see Brits going into 2021 with debts of £5.8billion.

While Barnado’s charity warns the most vulnerable families are facing “the toughest Christmas for a generation” with a third struggling more than last year.

Launching its Kidsmas fundraising campaign a spokesman said: “Christmas always increases people’s loneliness and poor mental health as they put too much pressure on themselves and overspend. I’m sure it will be worse this year with Covid.

“Parents tend not to skimp on toys but will go without other basics to be able to afford them, or get into expensive and unsafe debts.”

Little kids missing their grandparents sing adorable song

Trying to buy the kids a happy Christmas has seen the average spend per UK child soar to £130. And yet this new generation of eco-conscious, emotionally-aware kids don’t seem to want more toys or games, as those letters to Santa reveal.

Stuck at home with all their stuff they still got bored and lonely and missed connecting with friends and family.

The pandemic made them reassess life and the things they wish for most. Like cuddling a much-missed Grandma or Grandpa and telling them “I love you.”

Dear old Santa may be ­gutted that he can’t deliver for the boys and girls. But if a hug is all they really want for Christmas then there’s plenty of magic in the air.