This will be my third year playing Mrs. Claus for my little ones. As the holiday season approaches, I find myself thinking of gift ideas for my kids and what traditions we want to start with them. Will we put our tree up before or after Thanksgiving? Will we make cookies every Christmas Eve? There are so many opportunities to start traditions during the holidays, including gift giving and the controversial topic of…Santa. My girls are becoming more and more aware of gift giving and receiving which has led to a lot of conversations between my husband and me about what Santa will bring.
My two- and three-year-old have been unaware in the past of what actually came from Santa. Of course, last year they knew he was coming to visit, but they wouldn’t come near the guy with a 10-foot pole. This year though, I have been able to stop some epic melt downs and solve some discipline issues with just one mention of his name, or even the thought that they might end up on the naughty list. This year they have specific requests and actually sat on his lap, which I proclaimed a true Christmas miracle.
As a parent, and former childcare provider, I am more aware than ever of how much kids get or don’t get for Christmas or from Santa. There are so many ways people present Santa in their families. Even my husband and I didn’t have the same childhood experiences. Some people wrap gifts from Santa, others don’t. Some people have a room full of toys and others just have one special gift and a stocking. I am sure you have seen some of the debates on social media about how much is too much for Santa to bring. How is it fair that one kid gets a new video game system, a bike and tons of toys, while another child might get an outfit, a book, and a toy doll?
How can we expect kids to understand why Santa would bring so much to one child, and not to another?
I know a family who gets their kids four things from Santa: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. I know another family whose children believe in Santa, but think that he only visits houses where the parents might not be able to get them everything they want for Christmas. I know another family who gets the one thing their kids asked Santa for and everything else is wrapped from the parents. I know someone whose tradition is to fill a bucket of toys that the kids no longer play with that Santa takes on Christmas Eve before he leaves their new gifts. I was even recently talking to someone who said their mom and dad told them they had to send Santa money for their presents, but he delivered them, so they knew they had a certain budget to stay within. I even have one friend who refuses to do Santa in general, because she doesn’t want to lie to her kids.
It wasn’t until I heard all these different traditions that I realized how complicated this Santa thing is. I certainly don’t want to give my kids too much, but I do think the magic of Christmas and Santa is an amazing part of childhood. I also wonder if we are just over complicating this as adults and kids don’t see it this way at all.
Regardless of how you do Santa, I think there is always an opportunity for our kids to learn about the spirit of Christmas and what it really means. The holiday season is a teaching experience for all of us to learn about the gift of giving and it means a lot more than physical gifts. I have a couple years before my kids are school age and start talking to their peers about what they got from mom and dad vs. what they received from Santa, but I do know this year we will be a lot more vigilant about what we let Santa leave under the tree.
This is fire 🔥