Why doesn't santa bring gifts to all kids? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-07-2009, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We were purchasing and wrapping gifts for our hoilday "adopted" family and I was explaining that some kids are less fortunate and there is no money for extras like gifts and 4 yr old ds says "but santa will just bring them gifts". um... i wasn't sure what to say- anyone have this conundrum come up? how did you handle it?
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:35 PM
 
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That's why we don't lie about Santa.

It's a fun game that we play. We put out stockings the night before Christmas and those get a few small things in them. But "Santa" doesn't bring presents or anything like that. Those are given by real people. But we given them in the spirit of Christmas.
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:45 PM
 
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and this is why we don't do Santa.

as a child it broke my heart that Santa brought the naughty kids who already had so much, hundreds of gifts and brought me nothing even though I had been good all year.

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Old 12-07-2009, 09:50 PM
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"Because as much as Santa wants to and as hard as he tries he just can't get gifts to every child in time. He really appreciates his helpers that are scattered around the world that pitch in and helps with the children that might have been forgotten."

Or something along those lines, depends on how deep into the Santa story your family goes.
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:54 PM
 
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I was wondering this when we watched The Polar Express the other night. In the movie, there's a kid from a poor family who says that Christmas "just doesn't work out" for him, hinting at the fact that he hasn't received Christmas gifts in the past, and is surprised and excited when he receives a gift from Santa late in the movie. And I was sitting there thinking, "But if Santa is real in the movie, why wasn't that kid getting a gift all along? Why this year? Was the kid 'naughty' in all the previous years?" It didn't make sense.

That said, we do Santa in our house, so I'm interested to see an answer to this question from someone who does Santa. As much fun as I have doing all the Santa stuff, we don't do the whole naughty/nice part of it, and I certainly wouldn't want my kid thinking that all poor kids are "bad."

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Old 12-07-2009, 09:57 PM
 
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I honestly think there is no way around this, and it's the main reason that we don't pretend Santa is real and brings gifts. And we absolutely never EVER reinforce the "good boys/girls get gifts, and naughty boys/girls get nothing." That's just total yuck nonsense, and I let that be known loud and clear.

We are honest that Santa is a fun Christmas character, but that gifts are bought by real people with real money, and sometimes people don't have enough money to buy what they want or need, so we help out where we can.

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Old 12-07-2009, 09:59 PM
 
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"Because as much as Santa wants to and as hard as he tries he just can't get gifts to every child in time. He really appreciates his helpers that are scattered around the world that pitch in and helps with the children that might have been forgotten."

Or something along those lines, depends on how deep into the Santa story your family goes.
But why is it the same kids year after year who don't get the gifts? And why does he repeatedly bring so much to certain kids? It just doesn't work out, and sets up kids for some really awful feelings.

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Old 12-07-2009, 10:03 PM
 
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santa brings a few gifts, but mommies and daddies get gifts for kids too and we need to help the mommies and daddies.

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Old 12-07-2009, 10:16 PM
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But why is it the same kids year after year who don't get the gifts? And why does he repeatedly bring so much to certain kids? It just doesn't work out, and sets up kids for some really awful feelings.
How does her child or mine know it's the same child(ren) year after year? Unless they adopt the same family each year it would be hard to figure that out, at least that's what it seems to me. We donate toys to CHiPs for kids or similar organizations, my kids know they go to kids who don't have as much but that's about it.

It doesn't sound like the OP's child asked why the same kids don't get presents year after year and I don't think it does the children much good to over complicate a situation such as this.

Why can't a simple question regarding Santa be asked without it quickly devolving into a "We don't do Santa for XXX and this is why you shouldn't either" discussion.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:37 PM
 
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I'm fine with people doing Santa. I don't consider it lying and I fully understand the magic of it all.

But honestly, when a kid has the sensitivity and intellect to ask a question like this, I think it's time to gently tell him the truth. That Santa is the name some people use for the good feeling that makes them want to give presents at this time of year. And that this is what you and your kid are doing.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:44 PM
 
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We talked about people who don't celebrate Christmas and my dd asked if Santa came to their house. We said, "No, of course not."

Honestly, I wouldn't tell my kids that there are kids who don't get Christmas gifts. I've known some very, very poor people and they still got gifts. I was a CASA for a mom who had 5 kids and lived on her SSI payment of ~$500/month, and they still had Christmas gifts. Most of them came from charity, but there were presents. I think that when you adopt a family you help them have a nicer Christmas, but I think if you have the means to apply for Toys for Tots or something, you probably have the means to come up with something for your kids.

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Old 12-07-2009, 10:48 PM
 
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Why can't a simple question regarding Santa be asked without it quickly devolving into a "We don't do Santa for XXX and this is why you shouldn't either" discussion.
Agreed. My ds asked me about that when he was 3-4 yrs old and at 7 yrs old is no where near ready to give up on Santa. I just explained that not all families follow a religion that celebrates Christmas and Santa knows which ones don't, so he doesn't want to violate the parents beliefs by bringing gifts to the children. However, some people still like to give gifts at this time of year without celebrating Christmas, and sometimes need help getting the gifts for the children.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:52 PM
 
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In our house Santa only brings one gift, so I would use the pp's response - we are helping the mommies and daddies.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:14 PM
 
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How does her child or mine know it's the same child(ren) year after year? Unless they adopt the same family each year it would be hard to figure that out, at least that's what it seems to me.
Because this time the kid asked about an "adopted" family, but may also ask about neighbors, friends, relatives who either get a lot or much less/nothing.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:36 PM
 
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Slightly different angle...but when our financial situation went south, I was really glad for our earlier decision to teach our kids "Santa as a game." This made conversations about what to expect, especially with my ds who has always had a *stellar* memory, much easier.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:39 PM
 
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santa brings a few gifts, but mommies and daddies get gifts for kids too and we need to help the mommies and daddies.
That's what I'd say...

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Old 12-08-2009, 01:22 AM
 
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My dd asked me this a few years ago. In our house, Santa only brings one gift - all the others come from family and friends. My response was that some parents can't afford to buy their children even the basics because maybe they lost a job, etc., and so Santa would bring those kids something they truly needed. And b/c we believe in Santa and want to help spread his magic, we are like helper elves and we buy a toy to help that child out and make sure the child gets something fun, too, besides just the needed item that Santa brought.

I have the feeling this is our last year for Santa.......she's turning 10 soon, and she's at the "maybe he's real and maybe he's not but just in case...." stage.
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Old 12-08-2009, 02:55 AM
 
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We were purchasing and wrapping gifts for our hoilday "adopted" family and I was explaining that some kids are less fortunate and there is no money for extras like gifts and 4 yr old ds says "but santa will just bring them gifts". um... i wasn't sure what to say- anyone have this conundrum come up? how did you handle it?
That is a hard question. And I think its great what you're doing. Is there a way to re-frame your holiday giving as "sharing with" and "surprising" other children? Maybe take the focus off of the less fortunate/no presents aspect and emphasize the good feelings it brings to be giving to the other members of your community.

Also, maybe say something along the lines of, "People say Santa brings surprises to every child for Christmas, these are just some extra goodies that we want them to have." or maybe, "This way we get to have fun being Santa's helpers since he has such a big job to do."

Just a couple of ideas! We "do" Santa too BTW so that is the spirit in which I'm offering my advice. HTH

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Old 12-08-2009, 03:26 AM
 
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Parents have to sign-up for Santa, and some parents either don't sign up or they forget to or the kids need things that Santa can't make at his village.....this is why we also sign up to be a Santa helper and Santa sends the list to us and we go and get the stuff for our "adopted" family. This explanation always worked at least for a couple of years to keep the winter fun going. I think kids might actually have more fun as Santa's helper than they do with their own gifts if we do it right. And that seems to be what the holiday spirit is all about. Our adopted family actually gets more from us than we have among us at home as far as presents go.....but we approach the winter holidays a bit differently than most anyway.

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Old 12-08-2009, 01:42 PM
 
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santa brings a few gifts, but mommies and daddies get gifts for kids too and we need to help the mommies and daddies.
This is an explanation I think that most kids will accept until they are ready to stop believing in Santa.

But in our house, there's only one or two presents that "come" from Santa. (This year, a Bruder bulldozer and a dvd.)
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:50 PM
 
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My children have been raised to know santa isn't real. But you've raised a really good question. I've never thought about it before.

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Old 12-08-2009, 02:49 PM
 
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Why can't a simple question regarding Santa be asked without it quickly devolving into a "We don't do Santa for XXX and this is why you shouldn't either" discussion.

Because this IS the reason why many of us have chosen not to do Santa. In many ways having to answer this awkward question is the natural consequence to choosing to lie to your child.

I really don't understand why parents would do Santa. It's just as much fun to present it as a story and a fun game. I grew up with it being "done" in a very basic way and I always knew he wasn't real. That didn't wreck the magic or anything.
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:14 PM
 
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:28 PM
 
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My step-mother-in-law adopts a family herself each year. She gets a list from the parents of what the kids want. She buys them, wraps them, and delivers them to the parents. She buys some food and other items as well. And those kids --- those kids who know that they're parents likely can't buy them a new doll because they can't even buy milk --- sure do believe in Santa. And their parents aren't likely going to ruin it for them because they're in a position of not having much to believe in at all.

My step-mother-in-law is really heartbroken by some of the things she's seen since doing this, but she's also glad she can make even a small difference for these families this time of year. I don't see what good it does to dispel the myth of Santa in some cases --- especially those cases where the kids know they can't get anything from their parents. Who besides Santa is going to bring them a gift for Christmas?

I mean, imagine being the parent who can't afford Christmas gifts on Christmas morning and your child asking you why Santa didn't bring him or her a gift. What good does telling him or her that Santa isn't really do then? And what good does it do to not do Santa at all, especially if the child doesn't have much else to believe in?
Why not explain that Santa's an idea and the spirit of Santa inspires people to help out other people?

I didn't say not to do Santa at all! I said not to lie about it. We play the game of Santa... Santa brings stockings to our house. We play the game, but DD had the idea presented to her as a story. But she's currently 3 and choosing to believe because she got told that he was real at daycare.
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:25 PM
 
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:44 PM
 
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Call me crazy, but it may have something to do with not wanting to worry kids any more than need be by explaining why the family needs help.
See I have an issue with this, and that is that "poor" kids don't get the privilege of "not worrying." Trust me they know they often know that they can't go grocery shopping until the Food Stamps come in, and they know that their parents can't buy them stuff for holidays. It is only people with privilege who get to pretend suffering and injustice doesn't happen. For instances kids in Iraq and Afghanistan sure as heck know that there is a war going on while same aged kids in the U.S. can often be "sheltered/protected" from the realities of war. (I have read several thread about people not wanting their kids to do current events on the war)

Same with class disparages, racism, homophobia etc if you are coming from a place of privilege you can just "not talk about it," but if you are living it everyday you have to talk about!
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:07 PM
 
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Because this IS the reason why many of us have chosen not to do Santa. In many ways having to answer this awkward question is the natural consequence to choosing to lie to your child.
I would say having to answer the awkward question of "why do I get this and that other family doesn't" is going to come up for anyone who chooses to reach out and get their kids involved in community service, regardless of how you view the bearded fat guy.

The awkward question is more a consequence of exposing your children to the idea that not everyone lives like them. It really doesn't have much to do with Santa. After all, it could have been avoided if the parents just donated to the giving tree and didn't involve the kids.

I welcome awkward questions from my kids. It tells me that I am doing something right, especially when it involves trying to explain to a child the many unfair disparities that we see all around us.
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:12 PM
 
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:15 PM
 
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I would say having to answer the awkward question of "why do I get this and that other family doesn't" is going to come up for anyone who chooses to reach out and get their kids involved in community service, regardless of how you view the bearded fat guy.

The awkward question is more a consequence of exposing your children to the idea that not everyone lives like them. It really doesn't have much to do with Santa. After all, it could have been avoided if the parents just donated to the giving tree and didn't involve the kids.

I welcome awkward questions from my kids. It tells me that I am doing something right, especially when it involves trying to explain to a child the many unfair disparities that we see all around us.
Yes, but I think it's easier to say "Because different people have different amounts of money, so their parents can buy them different amounts of presents" than to have to explain to a little kid that you've lied to them.

My DD is 3 and knows that we don't have money to buy toys or treats like other kids. So maybe I'd rather just be honest with her. We donated toys this year to a charity and told her it was because some parents can't afford to buy any toys. We don't play up Santa, so that never entered the equation.
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:20 PM
 
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santa brings a few gifts, but mommies and daddies get gifts for kids too and we need to help the mommies and daddies.
I'd say that too. We live that. Santa brings a few things, but the rest are from us. I know there is debate about the whole Santa thing, but it was a fun experience for me and my kids enjoy it, so to each their own.

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