Santa Is Not a Right!

I read the article about the Frozen Snow Glow Elsa debacle with frustration and alarm. Responsible parents fighting over a toy aside, I get that they were hyped up and ‘in the moment’. It is more the thinking that got them there that really bothers me. Every year there is a must-have toy – it was Robosapiens a couple of years ago, Furbys another year, and so this is not a new phenonemon.

This year however, I have this podium from which to shout at the top of my voice, STOP!

In what universe is the idea that you have a right to get whatever you ask for a good lesson for our children? And yet this is the exact message that this kind of carry-on sends to our children. Never mind the unbelievable stress and pressure we potentially put on ourselves both financially and emotionally, we are well on our way to creating a generation of Veruca Salts!

Of course, children want everything they see. They must have every single toy that is advertised (prolifically) at this time of year! The constant refrain in this house while the children are watching TV is ‘I’m getting that, I’m getting that’. They are only too happy to ask Santa for all the things that they absolutely ‘need’. That is all well and good as they are children – the wonder of Christmas for them is the pile of presents under the tree!

However, it absolutely does not follow that we as adults must fill in the wish list. In fact, it is far, far better for children if we manage their expectations. Encourage them to understand that their letter to Santa is a suggestion of what they might like to receive. Far, far better for children if we teach them to enjoy the gathering of loved ones, the joy of being together and enjoying family time for a few uninterrupted days. Encourage them to make Christmas cards or little presents to give rather than scrabbling around Smyths, crippling ourselves financially to fulfil their ‘must have’ Santa letters!

Make some mince pies to give as gifts!

Make some mince pies to give as gifts!

I hear from parents all the time ‘but I don’t want them to be disappointed on Christmas morning’. Well they won’t be! Unless it is a lump of coal waiting for them under the tree they will be thrilled to have a gift delivered, by Santa, especially for them. Will Christmas really be ruined if they get a Sanyo cassette recorder instead of a Sony one? (Yes, Aisling Carroll I am using your example!). For years, I don’t actually know how many, I asked Santa for a ‘Mister Frosty’. I really, really did want one, and guess what? I never got one. Did I feel a pang of regret when I opened whatever the alternative gift was? Yes in truth I did. Did it ruin Christmas for me? Of course it didn’t, there were plenty of other gifts and surprises to distract me, never mind the tin of Roses! 😉



So rather than panicking about how on earth you will afford a ‘Disney’ Christmas, or worrying about how you will get your hands on this year’s most desired but sold-out toy, explain to your child when they are asking for everything, that Christmas is about a lot more than receiving presents. Their letters to Santa are useful suggestions and if they are really lucky they might even get one of the things in the letter. But, as we all know, Santa knows best.

Celebrate family rather than Disney!

Celebrate family rather than Disney!

Thanks for reading



8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anonymous
    Nov 26, 2014 @ 13:22:11

    Great article Aisling. Like you, I was disgusted to hear gardai called over a toy brawl. A lot of pressure out there at this time of the year, but really, as you said it’s not giving in to it, you’ve put it all into perspective:)


    • BabySteps
      Nov 26, 2014 @ 13:32:06

      Thanks for reading and pausing to comment. Yes so much pressure on parents to I think parents tick off the Santa list. Teaching our children to value what they do get is so much more important!


  2. Aisling Carroll
    Nov 26, 2014 @ 14:11:58

    Haha!! I don’t even think it was a Sanyo, Aisling.


  3. office mum
    Nov 26, 2014 @ 22:07:54

    Yes, I find I’m mimicking my parents now, saying “No, you’re not ‘getting’ that from Santa, you’re ‘asking’ for that from Santa” to emphasize that very point. Having said that, if they had their hearts set on something, I know I’d be anxious about not being able to find it – not to the point of scuffling with other parents in a queue though 🙂


    • BabySteps
      Nov 26, 2014 @ 22:41:39

      Of course I generally try to get them one thing from the letter but always emphasize that their letters are just ideas. I will always get them a gift they haven’t asked for to reinforce the point. I heard today about parents spending €500 on one child… boggles the mind! Thanks for reading and pausing to comment! ☺


  4. Kate Le Moignic
    Nov 27, 2014 @ 05:59:35

    Great article as always. When all the Christmas magic is over, could you consider writing an article on how to tell children that the man in red doesn’t exist ? My child is nearly 8 and is border-line about this subject. How do you explain without disappointing too much and also making sure he doesn’t spoil it for younger children?


    • BabySteps
      Nov 27, 2014 @ 13:39:40

      Thanks for reading and pausing to comment Kate. I usually take a very honest approach with my children about everything, but think it is worthwhile keeping the magic of Santa alive for as long as possible. My daughter is almost 8 too but is still a firm believer. I think children want to believe in Santa longer than they actually do. When the time really comes for both adults and children to admit there is no Santa the child is usually old enough to understand the importance of keeping Santa alive for their younger siblings. I also think we should reinforce how magical Christmas is even without Santa.


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