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Grandparent Christmas spending rises by 12% in 2022

12th December 2022

2 min read

The latest research from over 50s experts SunLife shows that grandparents will spend over £2.75 billion on presents for their grandchildren this Christmas.

With around 5.5 million grandparent households across the UK celebrating Christmas this year, a new survey from SunLife has revealed that total spend over the festive period will increase by nearly £150 million. And despite of the continuing cost of living crisis, lucky grandchildren can expect to receive £126 worth of presents each – up from £113 in 2021.

Infographic showing a percentage bar chart with amounts titled 'How much do you expect your parents/in-laws to spend on your child this Christmas?'
  • 16% Less than £40
  • 4% £40 to £50
  • 28% £50 to £100
  • 24% £100 to £150
  • 29% More than £150

How much is too much?

SunLife surveyed over 2,000 parents about their own parents and in-laws – and their views on the gifts that the grandkids receive.

Nearly half (48%) of parents believe grandparents spend too much, but just over a quarter (27%) say they can use their money how they like. 12% wish the grandparents wouldn’t spoil the kids, and 9% have concerns they can’t afford it.

However, exactly half believe the amount is fine, while 2% even say it’s not enough.

Infographic showing a percentage pie chart with amounts titled 'How do you feel about the money your parents/in-laws spend on your child at Christmas?'
  • 27% It's too much, but it's their money, they can do what they like
  • 12% It's too much, I wish they wouldn't spoil the kids
  • 9% It's too much and I worry they can't afford it
  • 50% It's fine/about right
  • 2% It's not enough

What kids want

SunLife’s research also reveals what the most-wanted presents for Christmas 2022 are – and this year, the older kids are thinking big. Among the top choices for children between 8 and 18 are AirPods, the iPhone 14, and smart watches – although many are also hoping for smaller ticket items like clothes, gaming subscriptions, or a Slush Puppie machine.

For those under 8 years old, ambitions weren’t as tech-focused – younger children’s most-requested gifts include animal figures, bubbles, crayon sets, story books, and the Fisher-Price Ultimate Learning Bot.

Cash is at the top of older kids’ lists, with 52% preferring it over presents, vouchers, or experiences – and this rises to 62% among teenagers, who would rather choose their own gifts than have someone buy something for them.

The survey also found that a quarter of all kids said they’d received a bad gift from their grandparents at least once, while 16% said it happened fairly often. 1 in 20 say they’ve never received a good gift from the grandparents.

Find the perfect present

For those who need a little inspiration, SunLife’s free Christmas Gift Generator has the ideal mix of latest ‘must-haves’ and perennial favourites, guaranteed to have your grandchildren – or any young relative in your life – smiling on Christmas morning.

The handy online tool works really simply: just put in the grandchild’s age and interests, as well as your budget, to find the perfect present. And all the results have been voted for by children – the toughest critics of all.

Find the ideal gift for your grandchild now with SunLife's Christmas Gift Generator.


Our statistics and calculations were based on a bespoke survey carried out on 2,234 parents of children 18 and under in September 2022 for the purpose of our Christmas Gift Generator 2022. The statistics are supported by data sourced from the Office of National Statistics.

The thoughts and opinions expressed in the page are those of the authors, intended to be informative, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SunLife. See our Terms of Use for more info.