Saint Nick. Father Christmas. Whatever you call him, one thing I have discovered since becoming a parent is everyone has their own take on how they deal with the Santa issue, if at all.
Did our parents have all this headache? I remember that I used to get most of my presents from Santa. As my parents split when I was 3, he cleverly knew to come to whatever house I was at. What a genius! I don’t remember being told he wasn’t real, I don’t know when it was but feel it must have been when I was about 8 or 9?
This year is the first year the biggest, at 3 years and 7 months, is fully invested in the idea of Santa. Last year I think he was a bit unsure, December bedtimes involved us reassuring him that ‘Santa wasn’t banging at the window’. Let’s face it, it is a bit creepy isn’t it? Some old man creeping around your house at night. But this year EVERYTHING he sees and would like, Santa can bring apparently.
Now, I want my boys to understand that presents are not infinite, so we decided his Santa list can have 3 items on it. Once the list has been posted, they can’t change their minds, as the elves won’t have time to make new presents. (this was thrown in on advice of a friend, who took her little girl to visit Santa on Christmas Eve and heard her reel off a list of items she hadn’t heard her mention before. Eeek!) Anything else he would like, I suggest he asks family members. Its hard when everyone has their own traditions, some families have everything from Santa, which I think sucks for kids whose families might not have a lot, because I think you can explain the value of money to a child, but can you explain a fictitious character likes another child more than you? It all gets a bit messy, which is why I get why some parents choose to forgo Santa completely.
I am not a fan of the naughty / nice thing either. Two reasons; I personally try to say the behaviour is naughty not the kid. (Although I have to try extra hard with that, especially when they’re being little jerks) but mostly, no presents if you’ve been naughty is an empty threat and I already struggle with trying to avoid those. Let’s face it, there is no way I am not going to let them tear those shiny presents open with reckless abandon on Christmas Day, even if they have been acting like tiny terrorists. Because, YAY! Did I mention I love Christmas? More on that later.
So what about you, what are your Santa traditions? Or don’t you do Santa? What do you do instead?