Who’s that for Santa?

bike for Christmas

It’s every parent’s dilemma – get your kids the gift they want today, or the gift you know they’ll still enjoy three months from now.

We did the latter and, instead of squeals of joy on Christmas morning, Squirrel and I were greeted with a flood of tears and our five-year old’s declaration:

“Santa is mean!”

As he burrowed his head in my lap weeping, I found myself agreeing – Santa is mean.

After all,  I had asked for happy children, not this horribly disappointed one.

You see, my little guy had been writing and revising his list and talking non-stop about the rules of Christmas for weeks. As in:

“If I get you something, you have to get something for me,” and:

“Santa has to bring us what we ask for.”

I didn’t spend enough time debunking these fallacies, it seems.

That, or my claim that Santa sometimes knows what we want better than we do, isn’t really true, because the little dude ran right past the BMX Santa Squirrel thought he’d want and asked:

“Who’s that for?”

It was a sad moment for both of them and one no amount of spiked Egg Nog could erase from my mental movie screen.

What happened?

Are we insensitive parents who don’t understand our child?

Do we have a spoiled brat on our hands?

Is Santa actually mean?

In retrospect it was pretty obvious where we went wrong.

For a rule based, type A, like our youngest, Christmas just has too many unknowns.

If you think about it, eleven months out of the year his world makes sense, then on December 1st we start talking to him about magic and goodwill, about flying reindeer and elves, and a fat man in a red suit who knows what he wants and watches him when he sleeps.

So, what will I do differently next year?

More rules, of course:

– you can ask Santa for one age and cost appropriate thing, keeping in mind Santa shops for all the girls and boys in the whole world

– Santa brings that thing if you are reasonably good as judged by your parents

– You must submit your request to Santa by December 15, no substitutions after this date

– everything else is a bonus not an expectation

He’s over it now, of course. He was over it by about two o’clock on Christmas Day. I, however, will carry it with me for 363 more days or until the weather is fair enough for him to get on that BMX.

Squirrel is right, he’s going to love it – just not until April.

How do you deal with Christmas morning tears, your own or someone else’s?

8 thoughts on “Who’s that for Santa?

  1. Oh, heartbreaking Christine! I too experienced the sad sounds of crying on Christmas morning… but these sobs were due to severe illness. (Thanks to all the fabulous flu bugs out there who are completely insensitive about “timing” not to mention everything else!) I’ve been suffering myself for 5 days now, but was really hoping the kids would escape…. no such luck. My youngest was barfing on Christmas Eve, and well, just in agony and pain on Christmas day. Sigh. Santa can’t come close to the meanness of the flu. Not even close! 🙂

    • I’m so sorry Nata!That’s awful. Why do the nasty viruses always hit at Christmas? I’m trying to instil in my kids the mind set of enjoying our blessings all year round and not putting so much emphasis on one very hyped up day. I hope we’ve both done our time and there will be nothing but smiles next year. Really, good to hear from you.

  2. Oh goodness! I used to be the one crying on Christmas…or my birthday…or any gift giving occasion. Being such a particular person, it has made me acutely aware of why I purchase crap. The stuff I buy because I love it? Yeah, that doesn’t go over well. But stuff they’ve talked about for months and months, it’s played with for longer than expected. I actually gave up some of my rules of only buying used, wood, natural products. And our youngest got a Palymobil recycling truck. He and his big brother fight over it constantly…and he sleeps with it. Giving up my expectations was so worth it, even when I have to fix the damn thing every ten minutes (it keeps them quiet-ish the other 50 minutes).

    But really, that bike it pretty cool. Our oldest got one (pink, his favorite color AND what he asked for) for his 3rd birthday. Did he ever ride it? NO. He refused to learn how to pedal, so like 5 months later I sold it. And THEN he wanted it. Ugh. Moral of the story: use reverse psychology into tricking him to liking it 😉

  3. A Playmobil recycling truck sounds awesome! My ten year old still plays with Playmobil. Our kids got Chuck Buddies as well this year which are pretty awesome snowboard dudes that do tricks and land on their feet. Their website shows full grown men playing with them – maybe the marketers are on to the fact that we really buy toys for us.
    Isn’t that an awesome bike! Too bad Squirrel can’t ride it! : )

  4. I had a moment just like yours. Everything stashed in the cupboard ready for ‘stocking night’ when the ominous sound of rubbing out is heard, along with ‘Mummy! I’ve decided I DON’T want xxxx lego any more from Santa, I want yyyyy instead’. Sound of parent stopping in tracks with eeeeeeek noise reverberating in head. ‘And I’ve only asked for SIX things from him that come to £156 but that’s ok because his Elves will make them.’ I’m still not sure my last minute emergency expectation management worked…..!

    • It must be harder for parents these days. I honestly don’t remember having that much choice as a kid. We looked through the Sears catalogue, chose our favourite toy, and Santa brought it.
      Whoever came up with the whole idea of a Santa list must have been in marketing. I’m dialing up the Grinch factor next year and limiting my kids to one “Santa” present. The rest they can ask for from their much less magical parents who are governed by the laws of reality.
      I’m sorry you had to go through this too! I’m sure it was much harder on you than your little one.

  5. Awwww….so sad! But I’m sure it was much harder on you and Squirrell than on him. Our rule is that once you have told or written Santa what you want, you can’t change your mind. If there is something else that you want, you may express that wish to parents, grandparents, aunts, etc., and maybe if you get lucky you’ll get that too. Our mistake this year was taking the girls to visit Santa late, as in the weekend before Christmas. Our oldest told Santa that she wanted an Easy Bake Oven, so off I go to Toys R Us thinking this will be a piece of cake gift to pick up….THREE Toys R Us and TWO Walmarts later, I finally get lucky. And now I am eating little tiny cookies and half baked little tiny cakes about three times a day….totally worth it!

  6. I think we changed the Santa rules every single year until, exhausted with the effort of staging elaborate reindeer hoof prints and elvish fairy dust, the offspring recognised my handwriting and the jig was up. The wailing with disappointment however, prevails today when the 22 year old unwraps a less than satisfactory gift. The losing present this year was a particularly offensive pungent candle from her clueless Grandmother.
    * Happy New year!

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