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This whole Santa concept is really confusing me.

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I did not celebrate Christmas as a child.  We only started celebrating it when DD was old enough to want it (at age 4).  I have never taught her about Santa, but of course she got the concept through school/friends/movies.  She obviously wants to believe, so I go along with it (without ever really discussing it....we talk more about the magic of Christmas).


The past couple of years have been simple...I know what she'll like and I get it for her.  She's thrilled.  It is low-key (we don't go overboard on the presents).  But this year she's very gung-ho.  She wished for several items and I got them back in early November.  My dilemma:  in the past week she has started wishing very very hard for a new item.  Um, I am already all done the Christmas shopping.  Plus, this item is nearly impossible to find!  She wants it so bad that I would get it if I could, but I've looked in several shops and it is not there.  I've tried gently to tell her that we don't get everything we wish for.  She then insists that she believes in the magic of Christmas and she KNOWS it will all work out.  She also tells me that she takes back her wishes for the other items (i.e. the things I've purchased) and just wants this 1 thing now.


STRESSFUL.  I don't want to make her sound spoiled.  She just really wants to believe, and she's just a child.  She wants this item and she has this wide-eyed belief that her dream will come true.  But it won't.  I can't do it....I have no idea this late in the game how to get this item!  Priority shipping to Canada would totally blow my budget and be worth more than the item itself.


I hate consumerism.  I hate materialism.  BUT I really want to give my child the magic and wonder of Christmas that I didn't get to have.  Chances are she won't believe in Santa next year....I just want her to have a beautiful memory.


What on earth should I tell her in order to minimize the disappointment on Christmas day?? 

post #2 of 22

You have hit one of the nails on the head as to why I didn't do this holiday at all with my kids. If you don't get her the present, she will be sad and doubt the magic. If you do get her this one special toy, she may change her mind later or develop the idea that santa is god-like in his omnipotence.


I would probably allow her to be disappointed. I was at my post office today and was given a stern warning from the postmaster that things I was mailing today would not be on doorsteps by xmas morning. So unless you spend a fortune of the overnight delivery.. you haven't a chance to get this right.


Good luck on whatever you decide.

post #3 of 22

I told my dd last year that a pony was too pricey for a Christmas gift even for Santa and she was okay with it in the end.  She really wanted one and kept trying to figure out a way to get one, but it just was never going to happen and she didn't even care on Christmas morning.  She was happy with the gifts she had and with the family around her.  In the past I have also let dd go through the toy isles to get an idea of what she wants right before Christmas and I talk up some of the things she wants that are affordable.  I also save my shopping until almost last minute because she seems to really latch onto something at the last minute and it will be her favorite thing all year long once she gets it, but dd has never been sad about not getting something she didn't tell me she wanted.  I think you should continue to talk to her about not getting everything she wishes for and maybe help her plan how she will buy that thing so she is more prepared when it isn't there at Christmas. 

post #4 of 22

My dd also pulls the last-minute changed-her-mind stunt.  It can be very frustrating!  This year, we have discussed a few times that Santa always gets the final decision.  Sometimes he decides not to get an item on her list, but what he gets her instead is often better than what she asked for.  Sometimes he decides to get stuff that's completely different from what she asked for, and those have often become her favorite gifts.  This lesson doesn't seem to be learned in a day.  I've repeated the theme at least once a week all month.


I've also decided that Santa's elves actually can't make everything.  If they tried to make, say, an American Girl doll, that would be copyright infringement and that's illegal.  So Santa does have to buy some gifts, and even Santa has to have a budget!  This works well for electronics too.


You could also try pointing out that Santa starts making gifts for Christmas a YEAR ahead of time.  Maybe he took care of your dd's list weeks ago since she was so prepared.  To change her mind last-minute is actually a lot of work for Santa, and might interfere with the gifts he's currently scheduled to be working on for other children. 


It is tough - good luck navigating this one!

post #5 of 22

I was raised where santa didn't bring you whatever you wanted.  He'd do his best, but ultimately, there are a lot of kids in the world and only so much time for him and his elves to prepare for every single one.  Granted, I don't recall ever ACTUALLY believing and I was just super excited to get any gift at all so it wasn't so difficult for me to not care about santa not getting the exact thing I asked for, no matter what I added or how many times I changed my mind but I think kids can understand that santa can't give you everything you want and keep up with mind changes.  He is only one man after all... he has a team of elves helping him make/acquire everything but they aren't conjuring things up out of nothing the night before christmas.  It is reasonable to believe that he can only do the best he can which is to say, it won't always be exactly what we want.

post #6 of 22
Originally Posted by treeoflife3 View Post

I was raised where santa didn't bring you whatever you wanted.  He'd do his best, but ultimately, there are a lot of kids in the world and only so much time for him and his elves to prepare for every single one.






I was raised with this, too.


post #7 of 22

Last year the only thing my dd wanted from Santa was a magic wand.  A real magic wand that would enable her to do real magic.  Uh... yeah... good luck kiddo, lol!  Needless to say we were in the same situation as you: child requesting gift from Santa that's impossible to get. 


On Christmas morning dd got lots of nice stuff that she really liked.  She expressed minor disappointment in not having received the magic wand.  I listened sympathetically and gently helped her through her disappointment (we don't always get everything we want after all).  She had a great Christmas and was fine.

post #8 of 22

My parents always tried to do the "everything on the list" and I think it was a little crazy. As a teen I would worry if I should put something on that might be cool but that I didn't really desperately want, because my mother would go crazy trying to find it. We do the "Santa only brings stocking gifts" which means no big requests. And we always point out that you can only fit so much, so you probably won't get everything you ask for. I would just tell her that Santa can't change gifts if its too close to Christmas, but you and Santa will remember for bday and next year. 

Edited by EviesMom - 12/18/10 at 8:43am
post #9 of 22

I think this mainly comes from movies. All the Christmas movies are about a kid who believes in the magic and they turn out to be right. All the doubters are put to shame :)

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post

I think this mainly comes from movies. All the Christmas movies are about a kid who believes in the magic and they turn out to be right. All the doubters are put to shame :)

Yes, I agree!  I'm noticing this concept in the Christmas movies.  Like I mentioned, I'm pretty sure she won't believe in Santa next year (she seems to almost be "talking herself into it" this year), so I don't think this issue will come up again.  She asked me twice if Santa was real.  I never told her Santa was real in the first place, and I don't want to lie to her, but I also kind of want her to experience one last "magical" Christmas (I admit this is partly me living out my own fantasy....as a child I often thought about how cool it would feel to have a Christmas tree and believe in the whole Santa story).  SO I told her I've never seen him, and he never came to my house as a child (she knows we didn't celebrate Christmas) because I didn't believe.  I tell her people need to believe in the magic of Christmas and wonderful things can happen.  Corny I know, but it's the best I had.  LOL.  


But I have a much better game plan for next year....I won't be doing any Christmas shopping until at least mid-December!!

post #11 of 22

We have always said that Santa does not bring anything alive (puppies, ponies, etc), anything the parents don't approve of (real guns w bullets, rated M video games), and that even Santa has his limits. 

post #12 of 22

When I was 5, I wanted a 5' Henry doll. Didn't happen. I lived.

post #13 of 22


My kids have HUGE lists because pretty much anytime they want something during the year I tell them they can go write it on their list.  They earn money doing things (not normal chores, but things like collecting crab apples for me or something) so sometimes things get scratched off if they earn the money for it themselves.  Things also come off at their birthday.  They understand that the list isn't a given at any birthday or holiday...it's just there so they can remember what they want.


They ABSOLUTELY believe in Santa (5 and 6), and they even told Santa a good part of their list at the mall.  I frequently remind them that every kid only gets a few things from their list, and that Santa determines what that will be.  At one point a few days after the Santa visit, my eldest remembered something important that he had forgotten to ask for, and was almost in tears over it.  I reminded him that Santa can only bring a few toys anyway because he has SO MANY kids to visit, and that he had given Santa way too many things to bring already.  Then I also reminded him that he usually gets a little bit of money for Christmas, and that combined with any money he earns can be used to buy things that Santa doesn't bring.  That made him pretty happy, and from last year I know he'll be so busy playing with what he DID get from Santa that he won't bother asking to rush out to the store for a good long while.  


It's not such a big deal for them because the perpetual list means they never have to think "I can't have that".  They lose interest in many things before they get them, so it's also a great way to delay something if you feel like it might just be a fad that your kid will lose interest in.  Santa is still magical because he gives them gifts for basically no reason with all the trappings of Christmas like cookies, the tree etc.


I don't think it would be crushing to explain to your daughter that Santa can only do so much, and that it takes a while to make things so it's too late to change now. HOWEVER, if she has any way of getting money (as a gift, as allowance, for chores...whatever you guys do) you could maybe tell her that you'll help her save up to get it from the store at some point in the future since you understand how much she wanted it.  She may be disappointed, but it shouldn't destroy the magic if you just level with her and don't make it seem like Santa not bringing the toy eliminates all hope of EVER getting the toy.   She'll still be super excited to see what she got on Christmas morning, but I really do think you need to make sure she knows that the new gift won't be there.  If she INSISTS on "the magic of Christmas" you could always claim to have talked with Santa about it or something...that's a little further than we've ever gone, but we set up the expectation that Santa doesn't always bring the exact gift you want from the very first year we did it.  

post #14 of 22
Originally Posted by A&A View Post

Originally Posted by treeoflife3 View Post

I was raised where santa didn't bring you whatever you wanted.  He'd do his best, but ultimately, there are a lot of kids in the world and only so much time for him and his elves to prepare for every single one.






I was raised with this, too.


Me, too. This is also what I tell my ds and will tell dd when she's old enough to understand.

post #15 of 22

With everything my kids ask for they know "santa doesn't bring everything you ask for"  We've held onto that from the beginning & there are never any issues.


As for when she asks if Santa is real, I've always responded with "what do you think?" & that solves that issue.


My kids are 8, 9 & 12. The 12yo doesn't believe, the other 2 do because I think they're afraid if they don't they won't get anything.lol.  If they were to look at what they get from other people & what Santa brings they'd realize Santa really doesn't bring much.

post #16 of 22

i just go with a mellow flow, the winter holidays are the same in importance as other special days all year 'round. we've always talked about "Santa's helpers" who dress like Santa and care about helping children, she always wants to be a "helper's helper" *grins* for the magic of Christmas, she's turned out to be quite magical herself! she loves to make and give out holiday cards with ornaments for everyone, and i also set it up so she can choose to help people and she chooses different ways each year. this year is with a donation to St. Jude in her name and a "guest at the table" donation box for church that she's filling with change. (we started going to Unitarian Universalist church, they incorporate all of the winter holidays including the Solstice and have a program for the kids where they can study all about spirituality at their age level and learn about their choices. the spirit of giving is highlighted strongly all year long and she really likes that.)

post #17 of 22

Haven't read responses yet. I didn't celebrate Christmas as a child either, so I know where you're coming from with that. There is a fine line between making up for our lost Christmases and spoiling the heck out of our own kids. I've chosen to talk openly with DD about Christmas and Santa. She knows that Santa isn't real. He's the same as Tinkerbell or The Little Mermaid. He's a story tail, fiction, and that's okay. I tell her she can pretend and that part of the fun of Christmas is pretending that Santa is real. But she knows that the presents come from us. Nothing is marked from Santa. If I were in this situation I'd probably tell DD that I really wanted to get her the item she wanted but I looked and couldn't find it. I would encourage her to add it to her birthday list instead. Then I would change the subject to all the other things that she had put on her list already and 'maybe' she would be getting some of those things.


post #18 of 22

i dont do santa but do the easter bunny. and easter bunny one year left her a note. she was happy with that. 


honestly you do want to give it to her. write her a note that santa says his elves were working overtime and couldnt get to all teh requests. so he is writing this note to tell her and to tell her parents if they could get the toy for her. 


that year easter bunny left dd with a lot of presents. usually e.b. never does presents. inspite of the presents, dd's favourite thing about that easter was e.b's note. 

post #19 of 22

I grew up being told your wish list is just a wish list.  Santa did his best.  We have raised our kids the same way and it works.  We do buy things off the kids' wish lists but not everything.  



post #20 of 22
My kids have done this too, leaving me torn over either going crazy and paying tons in shipping costs to get it here, or disappointing the kids. Two yrs ago, I paid crazy shipping to get a beautiful wooden ride on train here for DS and then he said 'didn't Santa know I wanted a truck and not a train?'

I would explain that Santa needs more time to respond to wish lists and we can't change our mind at the last minute or he won't have enough time to make/find it.

I celebrated xmas as a kid, but never believed in Santa, because my parents weren't into that, so we try to make it slightly magical for the kids now too.

Good luck!
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