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A vent about the IL's and Santa

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 

Like many families on MDC, we don't do Santa for a variety of reasons. The IL's had the kids over the weekend and took them to see Santa.  This in itself I don't mind so much.  I'm not thrilled with it, but there are bigger battles to fight.  We don't ignore Santa, but treat him the same as Elmo, Dora, etc  A fun pretend thing to do.  I've also told them the story of St. Nicholas, but I don't know that they really "get" it yet.  They have seen Santa at the malls and asked if they could go up and see him, and of course I said yes.  "Santa" asked what they would like, one said books, the other said a puzzle and that was that.  I've never told them that some kids think Santa brings them a gift or fills their stocking.  They have a hard enough time understanding what's real and what's fantasy.  There are days I'm convinced my oldest thinks Dora is real.  She talks about Dora as if she were a real person, dh comes home and she tells him what Dora did that day. 

 

Then at lunch yesterday, Dd1 says "Santa is going to bring me a doll!"  crap.gif I've already done her Christmas shopping, and no she isn't getting a doll. (and MIL has already bought her gift as well - a TAG map)  To make it worse, dd2 is.  The IL's KNOW we do not do Santa. We've told them this several times and last year when they came to our house they said "Did Santa get you those?'  They just looked at them like they were crazy and said "no, mommy and daddy did".  So it's clear to them we don't do Santa.  I'm

 

I realize I could just go out and buy her an inexpensive doll, but then to make the gifts even, I'd have to get something for Dd2 and these are all the reasons I don't do Santa.  I don't want my kids to expect a certain gift.  A gift is something someone chooses to give you, not something you can make a list of demands for.  We also live on a tight budget and I don't want to risk them asking for something insanely expensive we can't afford, or something huge we don't have the space for. 

 

So I asked dd1 if she remembered the story I told her about St. Nicholas.  That he lived along time ago and since he's no longer living, some people made up a person called Santa and like to tell their kids that that's who gives them gifts.  She handled it pretty well, but I could tell she was probably a little disappointed. 

 

I just hate that I was even put into this position.  I feel like I should say something to them, but I don't know what.  I don't want to blame them or make it sound incriminating, but at the same time they need to know that this isn't ok.  That we will not be doing Santa and that's the end of it.

 

I'm not sure what I'm looking for, a little bit of everything I guess. Advice, support, commiseration.

post #2 of 61

depends on what battles you want to pick - IMO

 

I would ask yourself if saying to the IL is worth it or not and how they will take it and how it will go from here on

 

how do you deal with your children's friends that do believe? are the being conflicted with those people in their life too?

post #3 of 61

You have my support. I can see why that is frustrating.

 

I think if I were you I would just remind myself that the ILs probably didn't mean anything by it - I think most people genuinely, sincerely, absolutely do not get the Santa thing at all. It's just fun, right? What could possibly be wrong with fun? They might remember that you don't do it but don't see the harm in making "fun" comments, they probably don't see it as undermining and don't really appreciate how vulnerable children can be to such suggestions.

 

I'd do that because I think you've already done the hard part, telling DD that it's a story people like. Now you just have to remind her of it every now and then. I'm sorry you were put in that position.

post #4 of 61

It doesn't sound like a big deal. We don't get into santa either. We feel that Christmas is just that CHRISTmas, it's not about santa. My in laws do santa and they give the kids gifts marked as from santa, they even give my husband and I gifts from santa. It's a fun thing. My kids have never gone to see santa, they've only been to malls on a few occasions and never at Christmas time. If I were you I would mention to your in laws that your daughter is expecting a doll from santa and since you don't 'do' santa it will have to come from them or they will need to explain to her why it didn't. 

post #5 of 61

Honestly, this is why we traveled at xmas time for years. It really gets you out of a lot of this stuff. Pick another holiday to spend with the in-laws and go all out. I don't appreciate those folks who blatantly go against our family's wishes and value system.

post #6 of 61

I agree with the PP who said the ILs need to get her a doll- if they're the ones who took her to see "Santa" and now she thinks she's getting that doll, it shouldn't fall to the parents who are trying NOT to lie to her and disappoint her to either get the doll or leave her doll-less and bummed out!

 

I would just tell IL's what you just told us- you're not so rabidly anti-Santa that you think they're harming the kids with the Santa talk or anything like that, but it puts you in an awkward position. Explain about the dolls and the confusion between real and pretend, all that. That SHOULD be enough to make them stand back and think about the dynamics they're creating with Santa. It doesn't sound to me like you're blaming the ILs in your description of the situation, so it seems to me like it should be fine to just tell them this is creating some sticky situations for you and you don't want it to happen in the future.

 

My mom does Santa with my DD. I explained to DD that Santa isn't real and it's just a game she can play with Grammy if she wants to. So far she has chosen to play along. 

post #7 of 61

I don't think the il's need to get her a doll or that you should have to go out & get a doll.

 

 

 

Quote:
 I don't want my kids to expect a certain gift.

 

My kids are 8, 9 & 12.  We have done Santa from the beginning.  We had Santa growing up.  We(and my kids) never EXPECT Santa to bring us what we ask for.  Santa decides.

 

If you explained your position on Santa to your kids then that should be the end of it. 

post #8 of 61

I don't get why people don't do Santa. We don't go and visit Santa's and my kids know the ones they may see are people dressed up as and pretending. They know Santa isn't real REAL...but we have made it so that Santa is real inside us. We write letters and there's no presents under the tree until Christmas morning and we put out cookies and listen for sleigh bells (and no Daddy does not shake bells at night) It's a magical time...we also talk about a load of other seasonal things besides this part of it.

 

 

It's a feeling... a very special feeling that I feel bad that any kid should miss out on. I think making Santa something we "don't do" is giving it more importance and thought than just letting it be what it is. Kids are going to pay more attention to the forbiddens.

post #9 of 61


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by terra-pip View Post

I don't get why people don't do Santa. We don't go and visit Santa's and my kids know the ones they may see are people dressed up as and pretending. They know Santa isn't real REAL...but we have made it so that Santa is real inside us. We write letters and there's no presents under the tree until Christmas morning and we put out cookies and listen for sleigh bells (and no Daddy does not shake bells at night) It's a magical time...we also talk about a load of other seasonal things besides this part of it.

 

 

It's a feeling... a very special feeling that I feel bad that any kid should miss out on. I think making Santa something we "don't do" is giving it more importance and thought than just letting it be what it is. Kids are going to pay more attention to the forbiddens.

Don't feel bad!  Many kids find Santa down right creepy!  Pretending some guy was going to sneak into the house and leave presents would have freaked my ds out.  Besides, he has a logical mind and the story simply didn't make sense to him.  I'm just ROFL at the idea of someone feeling bad for him:-D  He feels bad for the other kids!  And we have lovely Christmas' full of special feelings regardless;-)

 

We didn't "do" Santa growing up so it would have taken a tremendous amount of effort for me to pretend he is real.  My dh's family, on the other hand, went over the top pretending he was real.  My dh felt betrayed and tricked when he found out.  To compound the hurt, he had to keep up a front and and continue to pretend for the sake of his younger sisters.  He still feels bitter about that.

 

 

post #10 of 61

Lisa, I understand your frustration.  We don't "do" Santa either.  There's a million reasons for people to DO or NOT DO Santa I suppose...but I do believe that others should really respect the family's wishes.  I just went through something similar, where I left my kids with my PARENTS for a few hours while I had some errands to run.  Well, yesterday my DD (4) says that her grandmother told her santa is going to come and bring presents, etc.  I said "well, you know that santa is pretend - she is being silly".  and she said I told her that but she said "he used to come to MY house, I saw him".  UGH .  REALLY ??  

I haven't approached my mother yet...but absolutely have to because we spend Christmas with her and my sister.  It's hard for her to understand because we DID Santa growing up.  Over the top Santa too !  MY sister does Santa (or did when they were younger, last year !).  and for many it's harmless.  I have decided that although it is fun and I can remember all the fun as a kid, we will not do it with our kids.  So I know to my family I am the oddball, but that's ok.  What's NOT ok is going against our wishes. 

 

I also don't that anyone needs to buy her a doll.  You've already discussed Santa isn't real.  YOu bought the gifts.  It is what it is.  IMHO.

post #11 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

 

 

We didn't "do" Santa growing up so it would have taken a tremendous amount of effort for me to pretend he is real.  My dh's family, on the other hand, went over the top pretending he was real.  My dh felt betrayed and tricked when he found out.  To compound the hurt, he had to keep up a front and and continue to pretend for the sake of his younger sisters.  He still feels bitter about that.

 

 


I'm SO excited to do Santa this year!!!  My ds will hopefully have siblings in the future, but there will most likely be a large age gap.  I'm actually pretty excited for that, b/c once he finds out that santa isn't "real" (although I will not lie to him, and probably won't make x-mas out to be ALL about Santa), I will get to include him in the magic!!!  One of my friends families did that growing up - once the older kids found out about santa, they got to do things like eat the cookies and leave a bit to make it look like Santa visited, help set out the santa presents for the younger kids (her gifts got set out after she was sent to bed so that they were a surprise for her - she got to stay up late x-mas eve to be one of santa's helpers), and help make "santa" footprints in the snow, etc.  She LOVED it, and I can't wait to be able to do with ds!

post #12 of 61

Don't get her the doll if you're done with the Christmas shopping.

 

You don't do Santa, you've explained he was a story.

 

Somehow I doubt that your DD will even remember on Christmas morning.  If she mentions it, it's really okay to say, "Oh, well, sometimes we don't get everything for the holidays that was on our list!"

 

And that's not such a bad lesson for any kid (or adult) to learn.  It will be just fine.  Yes, you're irritated with your ILs because you don't like Santa, and perhaps that's what's leading you to feel put upon to get a doll.  But that's just your feelings.  There is absolutely no obligation, and your kiddo will be just fine not getting a doll.  You'll handle any questions that come up at the time like you would for a birthday or other gift giving occasion where someone didn't get all the exact things they wanted.  :)

post #13 of 61

I don't understand why this is an in-laws issue. You say in your original post that they've seen Santa at the mall and asked to see him and "of course I said yes."

 

So if you've allowed the children to visit Santa yourself, why is it the in-laws fault that they visited Santa this time?

 

How old is the daughter who wants the doll?

 

While I agree that no one should expect a gift, I don't think there is anything morally wrong about wanting something for Christmas.

 

And from the gift-giver's perspective, I like giving people things that I know they want, not whatever it is I think they ought to have.  If you know your child wants a doll, and you aren't opposed to her having a doll, why not let her have the doll? I would return one of the gifts you already bought and give her a doll. You have plenty of time to return something; it's only the 11th. Or switch out the girls' presents so the daughter who wants the doll is getting one.

 

There were times my kids wanted something particular for Christmas. Sometimes I could afford it, sometimes I couldn't. But I really cannot imagine knowing what my child wants, having the time and resources to get it for her (there are two weeks to Christmas, you could exchange one of the other gifts) and not only NOT give her the gift she wants, but actually give the gift she wants to her sister! That just seems a very harsh lesson to learn at such a young age.

 

 

 


Edited by churndash - 12/11/10 at 7:11am
post #14 of 61

Why not just return one gift you've already bought, and get her a doll instead?  This is an easy enough problem to solve, and then you don't have a disappointed child on Xmas morning.  Believe me, that is NOT the time you want to have a "teaching moment."  Just go with the joy and fun.

post #15 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by churndash View Post

But I really cannot imagine knowing what my child wants, having the time and resources to get it for her (there are two weeks to Christmas, you could exchange one of the other gifts) and not only NOT give her the gift she wants, but actually give the gift she wants to her sister! That just seems a very harsh lesson to learn at such a young age.

 

 

 


Exactly.  This isn't a santa or an IL issue, IMO.  You can pick up a doll for $5.  Imagine her face when her sister gets a doll and she does not :(  It's just kind to get her a doll.  Return one of her other presents if necessary.  It's the Christmas spirit :)

post #16 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_McG View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by churndash View Post

But I really cannot imagine knowing what my child wants, having the time and resources to get it for her (there are two weeks to Christmas, you could exchange one of the other gifts) and not only NOT give her the gift she wants, but actually give the gift she wants to her sister! That just seems a very harsh lesson to learn at such a young age.

 

 

 


Exactly.  This isn't a santa or an IL issue, IMO.  You can pick up a doll for $5.  Imagine her face when her sister gets a doll and she does not :(  It's just kind to get her a doll.  Return one of her other presents if necessary.  It's the Christmas spirit :)

yeahthat.gif
 

post #17 of 61

Who cares about the Santa issue??? The problem is that the ILs took the OP's kids out and now one of the kids thinks she's getting a present that isn't happening. So basically, the ILs encouraged the "santa brings stuff" story, didn't do anything to help indicate that "santa" doesn't bring everything asked for, and basically forged the OP's signature on a contract she didn't even know existed.

 

Who cares if a doll is cheap? It's the same moral situation as if the ILs let the dd believe santa was going to bring an XBox.

post #18 of 61

She OK'd them going to see santa.

 

and it's NOT an xbox.  It's a doll.  

post #19 of 61

Four years ago, my former mother in law took both my girls to the mall to pick out their own Christmas presents. She bought my oldest an American Girl Doll that my dd didn't even want (she felt she was too old for them). She refused to get one for my youngest, even though my youngest desperately wanted one.

 

That was four years ago and I can still remember the heartbroken look on my baby girls face and the way her little voice broke when she asked me why she wasn't special enough to get a special doll.

 

That was the last time I let MIL take them anywhere, by the way.

 

Forget the inlaws, forget Santa. This is about giving one child a gift that you know the other one wants. I cannot fathom why any parent would want to do that.

 

If the OP is mad at her inlaws (although again I don't know why, because she said she had taken the kids to see Santa herself before) then take it up with the inlaws, but don't punish the child to spite the inlaws.

 

If Santa and the inlaws were taken out of the equation, if your child came to you and said "mommy, I want a doll for Christmas" would you say "Tough cookies, kiddo, I already did your shopping and you're not getting one. Your sister is though. This will be a good lesson to you that a gift is not something you ask for, it's whatever I feel like giving you."

 

post #20 of 61

It's not your in-laws who asked for a doll, it's your child.  Why not just get her a doll?  She *asked* for a doll.  It's not about a list of demands, no, but gifts ARE supposed to be something the recipient *wants.*  Dolls can be had quite cheaply this time of year and it would make your kid happy,. which sounds worthwhile to me. 

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