Why Presents From Santa Aren't About Being Naughty or Nice at Our House
Santa's checking his list, but he'll be coming to our house whether you are naughty or nice.
Oh Santa, how you complicate things. You only visit once a year, but you make a lasting impression on many children. And we parents have to figure out how exactly to explain you to our questioning children. Just how do you decide who to visit, what to bring them and how much to bring? Then there’s that Elf who reports back on the behavior of children.
Even classic Christmas songs tell us how Santa will be,
Checking his list / checking it twice
Goin’ to find out who’s naughty and nice
There are several ways to approach the whole Santa business, from not including him in your festivities to creating a whole experience around him. We made the decision not to base Santa on being “good” in order to get presents. For one, I find that incredibly hard to enforce, but also because that is a lot of pressure on little kids—especially toddlers and preschoolers. My 3-year-old struggles enough with learning boundaries, behavior and emotion management for one day, let alone an entire year!
Then there’s the issue of finances. If there isn’t enough money for a lot of presents, I don’t want my kids to think it’s because they weren’t good enough. Or to compare how much they got with friends who may not have been very nice.
After making this decision, I’ve noticed how prevalent the concept of being “good” in order to receive gifts is in our society. We even slip and say things like “if you’re good…” without even realizing it to our kids. It’s become ingrained that Santa rewards good boys and girls, but I don’t really view Christmas as a reward—it’s a celebration. Maybe it’s tied to my desire to help others in their time of need without worrying about whether or not they deserve it? I believe it’s a time we give to each other out of love and happiness. My love is unconditional for my children, so it seems appropriate that our version of Santa Claus would bring gifts unconditionally as well.
Now, I don’t think kids should get a complete pass for inappropriate behavior just because it is Christmas, but I don’t want the fun parts about the holidays becoming a weapon. And I don’t want to pass the blame off onto jolly ole’ St. Nick and use presents as a threat. I know my daughter responds well to incentives for positive behavior at times, but ultimately I want her to be good on her own…not just because she wants presents.
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