Update: Nigella Lawson: “I Made My Kids Give Away Their Christmas Presents”

Nigella Lawson has responded to the criticism she received after quotes were put out in the press telling how she is planning on not leaving her children any money and giving away their Christmas presents. She said on her website,

“You might have noticed in the press that I have (apparently) cut my children out of my will, cruel mother that I am. Of course I have no intention of leaving my children destitute and starving – rather, this is a story that came from a comment I made about my belief that you have to work in order to learn the value of money.

I have always said of my children that once they have finished university or training, whatever education they choose, they have to support themselves through work, as I did, but I have never discussed the details of my will with anyone. The story that has been circulating is not a true reflection of my intentions and, although I’d normally ignore it, I want to set the record, not least to spare my children continuing embarrassment.”

To read the original post, click below

TV chef Nigella Lawson revealed how she once made her two children, Mimi, 14, and Bruno, 12, give away their Christmas presents. Nigella’s husband is art collector Charles Saatchi. She said in Red Magazine,

“I don’t want to turn Christmas into a thing about shopping. One year, I was incredibly nasty and strict, and made the children choose a present that they wanted to keep and take the rest to Great Ormond Street. I wanted them to think about how lucky they are. Of course, they roll their eyes every time I start,” she said.

The couple have an estimated joint fortune of £110 million ($178 million),

“I am determined that my children should have no financial security. It ruins people not having to earn money. I argue with my husband, Charles, because he believes that you should be able to leave money to your children. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree.”

Nigella is guest editor of the December issue of Red Magazine.

Photo: Flynet

Filed under: Nigella Lawson


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  1. Beth

    Wow she sounds evil…In terms of inheritence ($$) why doesnt she teach them to be financially responsible instead of just denying them any money at all.

  2. gini

    She sounds awful…like she has this huge power trip even over her kids. There are other ways to teach your chilren to be grateful without just taking away their Christmas presents. and the whole not leaving them with anything….that is ridiculous.

  3. Ana

    That does sound a little harsh. I could understand telling the children they would recieve one present and letting them go pick out others to give away, but buying them presents for christmas then taking all but one away?

  4. Anonymous

    You can teach kids until you’re blue in the face about financial responsibility, but if they know they have an inheritance waiting for them, it might not sink in. I know if I had $50 million waiting for me, financial responsibility would be the last thing on my mind!

  5. Meg

    she sounds amazing. i think that’s how people truly deprive their children: not letting them experience they joy of earning money. of being self sufficient. bailing them out lets them know that they can’t take care of themselves, you as a parent need to do it for them. good for her.

  6. I deteste parents who decide to leave no money at all for their children thinking that they are teaching them a lesson of some sort. They need to teach the children to be financially responsible, but there’s no need to leave nothing for your kids after you are gone!

    She can give a large sum of her money to charity if she wishes, but her offspring deserve a little too. You can teach your children to be grateful for all that they have in other ways!

  7. Pencils

    I bet all those kids learned after giving up their Christmas gifts is that Mommy is mean sometimes. I wonder if Nigella gave away her Christmas gifts that year?

    It’s wonderful to teach your children financial responsibility. Taking away their presents isn’t a way to do that. And I don’t have a huge problem with not leaving the children money–I wouldn’t do it myself, but it’s your money, you can do what you want with it. The thing is, aren’t those kids Nigella’s with her first husband? The one who died? I wonder if they already have trust funds.

  8. Dea

    She sounds like Joan crawford (“mommy dearest”). I agree with most of the posters here about financial responsibilities and stuff but rather than take the extreme way like no inheritance, why doesnt she put it in funds whereby the children can only access them once they reach a mature age and not let them know til they are financially stable?

  9. Moore

    The part where she talks about not leaving her children an inheritance came out long ago. She denied saying that.
    Her words (some):
    “The story that has been circulating is not a true reflection of my intentions and, although I’d normally ignore it, I want to set the record, not least to spare my children continuing embarrassment.”

  10. Sophie

    Well she has said that again in a new interview, so if she had a problem with it – prob wasn’t best to repeat it!

  11. Cm

    I would rather follow her lead and not leave them anything then have my child become the next Paris Hilton of the world. There are plenty of wealthy people who leave little if anything to their children. I remember watching Oprah and there was a grand daughter of some billionaire who pays for college and after that they are on their own. We do not know the full motivation behind her actions…for all I know the kids could have been truly bratty and ungrateful on that day and she wanted to teach them a lesson

  12. Audrey

    I always wonder why people who claim to be athiest celebrate Christmas.

  13. antigoniem

    Dea – You took the words right out of my mouth. When I read the excerpt, I thought about watching Mommy Dearest, the scene where she had to beg her mother to keep two Christmas gifts. Then at the end of the movie when Joan dies she leaves all of her money to her son. Not leaving any money to your children also put Tori Spelling in mind. Her father left her little to nothing and gave the rest to Randy, her brother.

    I agree with everyone else, there are alternative methods teach your child to be grateful and financially responsible. Not every child grow up to be like Paris Hilton. Your children are a reflection of you, so if they grow up to be like you (spoiled and bratty) who’s fault is that?

  14. Cm

    I dont believe that all children are a reflection of their parents. There are good people who have terrible children and I actually resent when people solely blame parents for the actions of their offspring (it can lead to people not accepting responsibility for their actions).

    No not every child grows up to be paris hilton , never said they did, it was an example

  15. Gazelle

    To Audrey: Atheists might celebrate Christmas as family time, not more than that. I think the real question to ask is why so many people who celebrate the holiday focus so much on the consumer and gift part of it. This holds true for both believers and atheists. Christmas is supposed to be a celebration of love, not of capitalism, and I’ve seen many church-goers spend more time on shopping before the holiday than reflecting on what the true meaning of the day is. Given the reality we live in, it’s harsh to take away gifts from kids. Instead of doing that, I would spend time with them going to hospitals with them or doing other charity work. That is a way to show kids that while they have so much, there are others who have very little, and educate their hearts so that they learn that by giving they also receive.

  16. Katrina

    There is SO MUCH MORE to our typical american christmas celebration then giving presents without focusing on the religion side. My familiy never celebrated it as a religious holiday, however, we spent the entire year looking forward to chrsitmas. We decorated, watched chrstimas movies, played games, drank hot cocoa, went to see light shows, and yes, opened christmas presaents. There are so many magical and exciting things for children during christmas that have nothing to do with giving presents on christmas day. I think its unbearably cruel to give your kids presents and then take them away. Its a form of mental torture and they learned nothing other then how mean their mother can be.

    leaving them no money is one way to “teach” them financial responsibility but they will always remember her cruelty, instead of apreciating her for teaching them to be responsible and independant. I feel bad for her kids and the things shes teaching them.

  17. cyberkitten38

    what a stupid (and very mean i might add!) way to go about teaching your children financial responsibility! She DOES sound like Mommy Dearest. I’m hoping, for the sake of her children, that she’s not REALLY that bad. Just wondering tho..how did SHE get all her money???

  18. Rachel

    Jeez, people. You don’t know the context. First of all, she didn’t say she was cutting her children out of her will. The way I read her statement, it sounded like she wasn’t going to raise her kids to be like the current crop of worthless socialite spawn we’re currently innundated with. I think that’s admirable. Second of all, maybe her kids got TONS of gifts from all kinds of people. I come from regular middle class stock, and even I know we got more than we could ever play with sometimes. I can only imagine that her kids got a lot of gifts, and maybe she told them to pick out a few things to keep and gave the rest to children who didn’t even get one christmas gift. I think it’s a great thing to impress upon your children.

  19. So nothing about giving her kids presents and then telling them to give them away? I couldn’t care less if she leaves them an inheritance, but THAT is just wrong.

  20. Lala

    She clearly said that she plans on leaving them something….read the whole article before you get all upset.

  21. Kris

    They are just kids!! ther is plenty of time to reach the about self worht in the future. I believe she can teach them both without being so cruel.

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