Let me preface this by saying that I don’t have a problem with kids believing in Santa. I think it’s fun, sweet, innocent, and embraces the spirit of giving. So, I’m not saying you should give that up at all. I would, however, like you to consider HOW you use Santa in your home.
You are a young child and you work hard to please your parents & your teachers. All year long you hear “You better be good, or else Santa won’t bring you any toys”. So you do your best, but you make mistakes. Just like we all do. You have good days, and bad days. You have days that are harder to obey than others. But you try, you really do.
You’ve learned that your parents love you no matter what. Even on the days you get in trouble, you have no doubt they love you.
As it gets closer to Christmas time, you hear it more often…I’ve heard it so many times in the last week that I’ve lost count.
”You better be good, or Santa won’t bring you any presents!”
“You be good or you’ll get nothing for Christmas!”
So you try. You really do. You feel awful when you make mistakes because you really really want to get that new toy, and you are scared, worried and anxious. What if you get nothing?
Then, Christmas arrives, and you receive whatever your parents could afford to get you. A new soccer ball, a Barbie, some new clothes, a Lego set…whatever it may be. You are excited! Maybe Santa didn’t get everything on your list, or maybe it wasn’t exactly what you had chosen, but it was for you and that made you happy.
Until you talked to your friends or the other kids at school.
Why did Betsy-the Bully get more presents than you did from Santa? Why did she get the whole dream house while you got just one doll? Why did that mean ol’ Bobby get a fancy battery powered ride-in car, and you got Hot Wheels?
There is only one explanation if you believe in Santa.
You just weren’t good enough.
Your best wasn’t good enough. Not only are you not good enough, you are WORSE than that bully.
Now, how do you feel?
No one ever explains to this children that we all come from different income levels. A fancy toy in one house, might be nothing in another.
Parents do this to children every single year, and it breaks my heart!
I just really have a problem with the “Be good or you’ll get nothing!” threats. My issue with it is this, either you are 1) setting your child up to be seriously disappointed & to feel worthless when this Santa they believe in doesn’t bring them any toys, or 2) You are throwing out an empty threat you have no intention of following through on.
Now, that said, I have no problem with a child who has been having discipline problems being told that they would not receive certain presents if certain behaviors didn’t change. But those presents should be the ones given by the PARENTS – not Santa!
I thought about this and wondered how this would affect the children we’ve had from foster care. I actually think this would be harder on the kids who are used to someone loving them. Kids who come from tough family situations are so used to not feeling worthy, that Santa wouldn’t be any different. They are used to having nothing, so to them *anything* is amazing.
But for a child who is growing up and still learning, still exploring, making mistakes and learning from them…why in the world would we want then to base their self-worth on what some mythical person thinks? Yes, St. Nick was a real person, but today’s “Santa Claus” isn’t. St. Nick never based his gifts on how good or bad the person was anyway. He gave because he loved and wanted to help.
This is real, people. I’ve actually talked to several people recently who went through this as a child. Believing that they were never good enough for Santa because their parents couldn’t afford to buy fancy toys. They were told their behavior dictated their presents. Then they got the best their parents had to offer, but it didn’t even compare with the gifts the other kids at school got. So, they thought it was because they weren’t good enough. They don’t even think about their parents’ income having anything to do with it…after all, this was from Santa, not Mom & Dad, right?
Parents, please just think about it. Think about the message you are giving your children. Let them believe in Santa, fine, but get rid of the “good or bad” stuff. Peer pressure and comparing ourselves to others is hard enough. Let them know that we give gifts at Christmas because we love. Tell them Santa brought them exactly what he thought would be perfect for them.
If you are a Christian, then go a step further. We give, because Christ gave to us. He gave to us not based on our behavior, but based on his love for us.
While we’re at it, let me jump on one more soapbox! I’ve also heard this a few times lately and it makes me cringe. Please don’t threaten your kids with “I’ll call the cops if you don’t behave!” or anything along those lines. The Police are our friends and they are here to help. Please don’t make your children afraid to approach a Police Officer should they ever actually be in need of one.