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?