The wishes at the Northumberland-based operator’s sites reflected the realities of the cost-of-living crisis.
The initiative, run by charity Christmas for All, gives businesses notes to hang on their Christmas tree, on which local children in need have written their Christmas wishes.
Customers can take a tag, buy and wrap the ‘wish’ before the charity collects the gifts and distributes them to the correct families.
The initiative took place at the Percy Arms, Chatton, the Derwent Arms, Edmundbyers, the Olde Ship, Seahouses and the Anglers Arms, Morpeth.
One little boy asked for reindeer dust as Santa had missed his home for the past two years. Another girl asked for a present for her father, who had been sad since they’d lost the mother.
Wishes had been “really humbling”, according to Inn Hospitality Group marketing manager Amelia Thomson. The kids were asking for gifts like colouring books rather than expensive iPhones or wireless headphones.
The tags also reflected the cost-of-living crisis, with many asking for hot water bottles, jumpers or dressing gowns because they were cold.
Thomson said: “We believe as local pubs to our communities, we need to be getting behind this and supporting the cause, because for all we know, the families putting forward these wishes could be from within our own communities.
“They really could be anyone, because the cost-of-living is affecting every family from a whole host of different demographics. So, these wishes really could be from your neighbours.”
Staff had rallied to help, with some choosing to give a gift to one of the children rather than give a present to their partner that Christmas.
Others had taken the tags off their hands before they’d even reached the tree.
The customer response had been “absolutely massive” and “fantastic”, said Thomson.
The scheme, which started a week ago, will be running right up until Christmas Eve. However, the pubs would keep collecting gifts for as long as customers were bringing them in.
If there were tags left on the tree in the days before Christmas, the Inn Hospitality Group would fulfil all of the wishes making sure every child received their gift.