Tuesday, 22 December 2015

I Am Santa Claus

We expected it last year, but four seems to be the age where all things Christmas has really clicked in for the minions.  They are bursting with excitement (and possibly fruit flavour from all of the candy they've been eating) as they ask on a daily basis: How soon is Christmas?  When can I open my presents?  When is Santa coming?

This means a few things: getting them to bed on Christmas Eve, getting them to sleep on Christmas Eve, and any chance of getting up after 8AM on Christmas morning are pretty much finished.  It also means that Molly and Jack are super aware of everything Santa and he has become a pretty big deal here.  They each wrote him a letter with Molly's containing a lot of questions about his food preferences to see if he felt the same way about tomatoes as she does, while Jack's was more direct and asked him whether or not he had any children.  Oh yeah, and they contained specific gift requests: an Ariel doll, a Belle Doll for Molly and a shockingly realistic toy vacuum cleaner for Jack who is afraid of the noises vacuums make (this gift could go terribly awry).

Jack enjoys some silver bells (and Cheerios) - 2012

Growing-up at my house Santa gifts came in stockings and unwrapped and were set out on display in our living room with no packages, wrapping or boxes...completely ready to play with.  Chris grew up in a house where Santa gifts were always wrapped and placed (presumably with care) under the tree. After a recent conversation with my older sister, I discovered that Santa gifts used to come wrapped in our household until at six years old she realized that mom and dad had the same wrapping paper in their closet as Santa had used.  She interrogated our parents about this at great lengths, then suddenly, the following year the wrapping miraculously disappeared from our Santa gifts.

Another parent told me about a close call where their six year old daughter came downstairs into the kitchen where mom and dad were putting together a toy at around midnight on Christmas Eve. Luckily dad was quick on his feet and mentioned that Santa was running late this year and had asked them to put together the toy for him.

There is debate amongst parents as to whether or not to push Santa on their kids.  Chris and I both have fond memories of Santa and the excitement around it, so we've decided to embrace Saint Nick in our house.  I also know that the minions would likely ruin Christmas for every other kid in their respective kindergarten class and circle of friends if we were to lay some truth bombs on them this year.

Miss Molly opening up some gifts - Christmas 2012

Here are 6 Tips on Keeping Santa "Real" in your home

  1. If you are going to wrap gifts, purchase "Santa" paper or gift bags away from the eyes of little kidsKeep wrapping and paper well hidden and dispose of it like you would of a dead body. (I'm not saying go dump it in a river bank, but just give it to another friend or recycle it and get it out of your house).
  2. Your kids recognize your handwriting, so do something about it
    There are companies that offer customized Santa tags that you can purchase or print.  You can get free ones here.  Make sure the labels you use aren't the same ones you use for other gifts.  In our house "Santa" brought a set of gift labels unlike any others in our house into his office to have an "elf" (aka co-worker) with neat printing help write out for each minion.
  3. Get the letters sent out to Santa early to avoid disappointment and set realistic expectationsThis way items won't run out at stores, Santa gets better prices and it also means that it becomes slightly more difficult for mind changing about the latest "must-have toy" by your child(ren) at the 11th hour.  I equate the grown-up version of this as orderer's regret at a restaurant.
  4. Find a good hiding place
    This goes for stocking items, gifts and gift receipts.  Growing up, my mom was the only person allowed into the attic because "you could only step in certain places and beams without causing damage to the ceiling of the living room".  This threat kept all of us from entering her favourite hiding place.
  5. Keep Santa SimpleLast year I read this heartwarming letter from a mother asking parents to spend less on gifts from "Father Christmas" and more on gifts from mom and dad.  I know there are some people who may disagree, but by keeping Santa gifts modest we can avoid kids comparing how one child received a new playstation from Santa, with six video games, while another, equally awesome kid, received a new hat and mitts from Santa. 
  6. Focus on sharing quality time together
    If Santa is the main, and only, attraction at Christmas, supreme disappointment is bound to occur down the road, like this angry letter from a little girl who just found out her parents were lying to her.  Set non-Santa/consumerist traditions to enjoy together as a family, like board games, a walk to enjoy holiday lights, singing carols, volunteering, collecting items for a foodbank, baking or cooking a special meal together.

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