When I asked my five-year-old daughter what she was going to add to her Christmas wish list this year, she replied confidently, “A poofy dress that when you touch it, Smarties fall out, and a real-life Elsa castle with a bunk bed and a kitchen and a living room in it that’s big enough for me to live in - but don’t worry mom, I know that won’t fit in the house so Santa can just set it up in the backyard for me.”
When it comes to complying with the crazy commands of my children during the Christmas season, let’s just say that I have to get creative.
I love their little imaginations, and do my best to grant their wishes. But when it comes to technology (which, even for my youngest, is a prevalent part of their preferred list of presents), I am quick to explain that Santa just doesn’t do devices.
In a viral Facebook post that seems to resurface each year as the holidays approach, a social worker shares an important message about gift-giving. In her post she writes, “I cannot stress this enough. Stop telling your kids that their iPads, iPhones, and $200 toys are from Santa, because some families can’t afford that.”
In her heartfelt post she goes on to explain that she is visited by many parents each year who tell her in tears that they have to explain to their children why Santa doesn’t give them gifts that are as extravagant as the ones their friends receive. Parents whose children receive socks, coats, and hand-me-downs are met with questions from their kids about whether or not Santa likes them, or if they’ve been too naughty to make the “nice” list.
Regardless of a family’s financial status, the magic of Santa brings joy and excitement to the lives of children who come from all walks of life. There’s no need to attach a large price tag to the gifts that he gives to your kids.
In our house, our children receive modest stockings from Santa, usually stuffed with an orange, some socks, treats, and maybe a small toy or two. Then, wrapped in a special Santa wrapping paper, they’ll each receive a bigger gift from the man in red - not the best or most expensive gift on their wish list, but one that they’ll be excited to open. And those more indulgent gifts? They come from us.
I’m not suggesting that you stop spoiling your kids, because there’s nothing wrong with splurging if your hard-earned dollars will suffice. But why not take the credit, while also making sure that the magic of Santa can be a positive experience for all kids this holiday season?
Stop telling your kids that their most expensive gifts are from Santa, and take the credit yourselves. You’ll be the hero this holiday season - more than you know.
Bianca Bujan is a mother of three, writer, editor, and marketing consultant. Find her on Twitter @biancabujan and Instagram @bitsofbee.