A couple of weeks ago I wrote a light-hearted post about whether or not Santa was taking unfair credit from parents. The post was well-received and generated a fair bit of discussion on Facebook.
As a result of that post, several friends have alerted me to a couple of Facebook posts on a similar topic, but with a slightly more serious message. As I very much agree with the message the poster was making, I thought it was only fair to update my thoughts here – and perhaps provoke a few thoughts in those of us who might be able to make a difference.
The general gist of the messages I have seen is thus: if you live in a household where Santa gets credit for all the gifts under the tree, you might want to think about how that reflects on Santa’s actions in other, perhaps less fortunate houses.
In these times of financial crisis, where hundreds of thousands of families are using food banks, struggling to afford the basics let alone expensive Christmas gifts, the way you label the gifts under your Christmas tree could make a real difference to how another child feels. Let me give you an example:
Little Jimmy lives in a house where his parents can afford to give him plenty of gifts, but they’re all “from Father Christmas” as far as Jimmy knows.
Little Matthew lives in a house where his parents are struggling to afford Christmas this year. They’ve managed to buy him a few presents, and a stocking from Santa, but it certainly won’t be a plentiful pile.
Come the days after Christmas, when Jimmy and Matthew meet up in the playground, Jimmy gleefully tells everyone about the new Computer he got from Santa. Matthew on the other hand got a few small presents from Santa and a few from his parents. How is Matthew going to feel when he realises Santa was so much more generous to his friend than him?
Whilst this might seem like a rather unimportant issue to most people, it’s actually a very simple issue to avoid:
By making sure Santa isn’t given the credit for all the big, expensive gifts under your tree, you can help to avoid the scenario above.
Let me be clear – I’m not suggesting what you should or shouldn’t be buying your kids for Christmas. That would be partonising and definitely not my place. All I’m saying is don’t give Santa the credit for the big gifts – take credit for those yourself.
I’m also not suggesting this is going to solve everybody’s problems by any stretch of the imagination – but it’s an easy one to avoid, so why not try?
And while you’re at it, why not donate a present or two to one of the many, many organisations who have sprung up over the past few years to distribute presents to less fortunate children at Christmas. Whether they’re here in the UK or further afield, there are plenty of small ways you can help. Here are a few examples to start you off:
Let’s all do what we can to make Christmas special for every child who celebrates it this year.