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:
Compassion UK Christmas gift and dinner appeal
Centrepoint gifts for the homeless
The Shoebox appeal
The Salvation Army gift donation appeal
Great Ormond Street Hospital gifts in kind
Let’s all do what we can to make Christmas special for every child who celebrates it this year.
4 thoughts on “Fatherhood: Don’t let an over-generous Santa spoil another child’s Christmas”
Santa doesn’t come to my house. That bastard plays favorites.
I started this exact conversation yesterday over on The Daddy Files’ Facebook page, where I posted the same query of everyone and explained why I choose to approach gifts from Santa in this exact way. It cracks me up to no end that my conversation was going on with my having absolutely no knowledge of your Blog, let alone your posts on the matter. If the timestamps for your post had coordinated with my postings, I would really wonder if this was based on the query to the folks over at The Daddy Files…lol…
I agree with your thought process and I, as well as my middle sister, have always approached gifts from Santa this exact way for the exact same reason. As a kid it can be so disheartening to find out that Santa gave all kinds of stuff to a classmate or neighbor when you only got a few small things because, unbeknownst to you, that Mommy & Daddy buy all your presents and they just cannot afford to buy a ton of stuff.
Also, kids do make the connection that if they get more ir less gifts than another child, then that means that they are a better person or, sadly think they are a bad person because Santa did not get them everything they wanted. The people who say this doesn’t happen, either do not remember being a kid, very well or they were very lucky to live in a community where their really were not any major disparities in the income of the various families that they enteracted with in a regular basis.
Great post! I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but we do keep Santa (and gifting in general) small in our home. Santa fills the stockings plus maybe one special item requested that may/may not fit in the stocking and then our kids get 1-2 gifts from us parents. They have so much stuff already and get plenty from grandparents, aunts & uncles, etc. They don’t need a lot from us. I had to remind my 5yo son of this a week ago when he stated that “Santa will fill under the tree with gifts.” Note, there wasn’t a single gift under the tree at the time. I quickly reminded him that gifts under the tree are from family – not Santa. Santa just fills our stockings.
It’s easy to forget how actions inside our home like allowing a lot of gifts “from Santa” can impact other children and their interpretation of what really should be a magical time of year.
STOP LYING TO YOUR CHILDREN! Just kidding. I always defer to the immortal words of Humpty Hump when it comes to these things. “Doowutchyalike!”