Spreadsheet Fun No 3 – Christmas Gifts

Posted by:

Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer picture
Even the youngest children love to buy gifts at Christmas and this is an ideal time to use a spreadsheet to plan spending. It can be very simple, fill in a spreadsheet and make sure you stay within budget, or it can be much more complicated where children create their own spreadsheet and add their own formula.

For the youngest children – Year 2 and 3 – they choose five friends, choose each of them a small gift from the Christmas Gift Ideas list, below: 

Then, download the simple – Christmas Gifts – spreadsheet below: 


Children are allocated an amount of money which they can use, for example £12.00. The gifts on the downloaded page are round figures, whole pounds of fifty pence, allow children time to enter the friends’ names and gift figures in the spreadsheet until they have chosen gifts which are not more than the allocated sum. Once they have done that it is up to the teacher to make it a modelling exercise by making children change the spreadsheet to meet specific changes, for example:

  • Charlie suddenly develops an allergy to chocolate, you need to change his present;
  • Susie has a doll like that already;
  • You know Bruno is mad on building, why don’t you give him the construction kit?
  • Jane is not going to be in school before Christmas, why don;t you choose a different friend?
  • You had a big fall out with Sam yesterday, why don’t you choose a present for him too / instead to make it up?

Older children can make their own spreadsheets and use old magazines or catalogues to choose their gifts – the Toys R Us website is also good for this.  They could also be allowed more money and more friends.

Perhaps they could also plan the class party using the older – Christmas Party – spreadsheet below: 


Again it is up to the teacher to make it a modelling exercise – the numbers change, as new children join or some leave; someone is allergic to something so a product has ot be changed;  you want to make it much healthier, no-one wants ham; etc.  Teachers can keep the most advanced students modelling for ages whilst less able complete the spreadsheet and do one or two changes.