In our house, Santa brings all the presents. I’ve seen posts spreading across social media urging parents to tell their kids that they bought the big stuff, but I think it ruins the magic. We give Santa the credit and I think it keeps the excitement going.
I don’t disagree with the idea that we should do our best not to make the children whose parents can only afford a little feel that they’ve somehow been less good than our own kids. No child should feel inferior on Christmas Day, it should be a happy occasion for all. I just don’t think taking credit for the presents is the best way to go about things.
Before I explain, I don’t want you to think that this reasoning comes from a place of privilege. I was a single mum and I would save up all year to buy my daughter second-hand Sylvanian Families houses off eBay. I still let Santa take credit.
My kids have always gone to schools where most people are much better off than us. My daughter has wanted a brand new iPhone for the past 3 years and has seen her friends get them when she doesn’t. I don’t take credit for Christmas and I don’t expect the other parents to either.
To me, weird explanations about Santa only giving the little stuff reduces the buzz around Father Christmas. It chips away little bits of the magic until your child asks too many questions and you’re tied up in a convoluted web of lies.
I don’t know about you, but I prefer my Santa Claus to be an international man of mystery.
I like the idea of a woolly old white-haired man being fully aware of those nights when your little one refuses to brush their teeth, or go to bed. It gives parent a helping hand on those feral nights towards the end of the year.
The thing I like best though is that it gives Christmas its sparkle.
I like the look on my kids’ faces when they ask questions about Father Christmas and hope that he was watching when they did that really good bit of handwriting at school.
On Christmas morning, I love to see their faces light up when they realise the big man has been. If I tell them most of the presents are from my husband and I, I know it’ll take something away from the day. It’ll also change the run up in years to come.
The amount we can afford changes from year to year
Sometimes we can afford an impressive-looking haul, and other times it’s mostly filler. I’m not going to pretend that blogging hasn’t helped on the impressive-looking haul front, but there will always be families who have more than us.
The way I get around this is to manage expectations early on. When their Christmas wishlist looks like it’s getting out of hand, I’ll usually tell them Father Christmas only gives gifts your parents can afford to replace. The reason for this? Well, Santa only comes once a year, so if something happens to one of your toys, he can’t come back until it’s time again. After this, the questions usually stop. “I don’t make the rules” is an excellent answer if they don’t.
My solution isn’t perfect
What I tell my kids isn’t without its flaws, but neither is telling your kids that half their presents are from you.
There will always be some that get far more than our kids, and others that receive much less. I’ve been in the ‘much less’ camp in the past and I think I’ve done a good job of keeping things magical. All I really want is for the kids to have a good day and get a few things they really want.
The reality is they’ll probably only remember one or two presents by the time they see their friends in the new year anyway. All I’m doing it providing a small insurance. They won’t feel like they haven’t been as good as their peers, or make anyone else feel that way in comparison.
Like it? Pin it!