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Explaining Santa and His Mysterious Ways

So I saw an interesting photo on a friend’s Facebook wall:

santa

Which is an interesting point and one I never thought about before; mostly because the gifts my kids receive (with the exception of money from the tooth fairy) comes from humans they know.  Discrepancies with money from the tooth fairy can be explained with the idea that there is more than one tooth fairy.  There is a tooth fairy army.  And the fairy assigned to our house gives X amount, and the fairy assigned to your friend’s house gives Y amount, and that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.  Regardless, the difference in amount is usually a couple of quarters.

But how do you explain to a child that Santa brought the bully in the class the XBox he always wanted and brought your child some new underwear, despite your child also asking for an XBox?  How do you explain to your child why Santa didn’t fulfill their wish items and instead went rogue with the gift giving whereas stuck to another child’s entire list that they uttered on his lap at the mall?

The first recess after winter break seems to be a big conference on “what did Santa bring you for Christmas?”  Kids tell each other what they got.  And I know the message is supposed to be of gracious acceptance; being happy with whatever gifts you are given.  But let’s be frank — how can you not internalize the discrepancies when you see one being (Santa) treating various children differently?  How can you not think you are the best kid ever or the worst kid ever if you see how different your experience is from your classmates; especially when the message of Santa is that he is judging you, seeing when you’re sleeping and awake, and giving out toys (or a lump of coal) befitting of your behaviour?

And yes, I know that most people don’t present Santa in the manner of omniscient decision maker, but even if you don’t state it outright, you can’t sing “Frosty the Snowman” or read Elf on a Shelf and not expect your child to pick up on that message.  Even I know what is said about Santa, and I’ve never celebrated Christmas.

Life isn’t fair or equal.  People have very different experiences interacting with the same person.  I know this and you know this.  And kids will learn this, too.  But somehow, Santa seems the wrong person to inadvertently teach this lesson, you know?  He’s supposed to embody happiness, generosity, kindness.  So how do you explain why he isn’t consistent with the gift giving?

I’m curious how other people react to that woman’s request to keep the smaller gifts from Santa and make the bigger gifts from parents in order to even out the story.  Do you do something similar?  Do you wish this was the case?  Do you think kids just need to deal — I mean, this isn’t a new thing.  Poor Laura Ingalls had to deal with this when Pa brought her a tin cup, and I’m sure Nellie Olson got something like a doll.  How do you handle/explain this?

[Side Note Reminder: Tomorrow is #MicroblogMonday.  Write your post.]

37 comments

1 nicoleandmaggie { 12.21.14 at 8:51 am }

“Santa” at our place only fills up stockings. My in-laws overwhelm the kids with presents, so we don’t get them anything from Santa. Every year I have to remember to get something from mommy and daddy because the kids get things for us.

We have had a lot of discussions about this topic, back when DC1 was deciding that Santa didn’t exist the second year in a row (and last year when I decided to shop for the Christmas Angel family instead of just giving money, which was a really time consuming mistake), and I can remember having these conversations, and I can remember where we had the conversations (in the car on the way to school), but I can’t remember what was said. I do know that we haven’t pushed the Santa existence thing, but we also tend to avoid the direct existence question, “I can’t tell you.”

I also teach a class on income inequality, so everyone in the family has gotten a lot of lectures on the unfairness of it all. And how it is our responsibility as people who make money to make things better. And how a lot of people who make a lot more money than we do and have a lot more power than we do don’t believe that lesson and want to keep the poor impoverished. (My students don’t get these last two lectures, but I wish I could give them.)

2 Rumour Miller { 12.21.14 at 9:14 am }

Santa is the big gift giver in our home at Christmas. He brings the good stuff. Always. The girls don’t get everything on their list and I have made it known to them that they don’t get to make constant requests because, all though Santa is magical, he doesn’t take constant requests. I’ve also told my children that Santa still has to make sure that mom and dad are okay with the gifts on the list. My oldest wanted a gift that I told her she would not be getting. Her response was, “it’s okay, I will just ask Santa.” So she learned that she could still ask Santa but he will make sure that mom and dad approve.

What people do or buy in their home and for their family is not my business. If I want Santa to have all the credit while my girls are young, that’s my choice because in time, and when it matters most, they will know how much work we put into making this time of year especially magical and wondrous for them. I can wait for those years… the Santa years are so few.

3 ANDMom { 12.21.14 at 9:45 am }

What we tell the kids is that Santa does his best to bring what will make them happy for more than just a little while. So if a child were to get only a hat and mittens vs. an X-box, we would say “the hat and mittens will keep him warm and cozy all winter; the x-box would make him happy for a few days, but then if they couldn’t afford games for it, it would just make him sad”.

Santa is the big gift giver in our house too – we get them each one gift (2 this year, but only because I made the second one), and Santa brings the rest. I would resent someone telling me to do it differently because of how THEY view it or their life circumstances. There is no one right way to celebrate Christmas or have Santa or give gifts.

4 April { 12.21.14 at 10:05 am }

When J was little and still believed, she would write a letter to Santa and send it on St. Nick day. Then Santa would choose a few of the things she wanted, usually 3 things, and one surprise that wasn’t on her list. Santa brought better things than we did and always filled the stockings.

5 Working mom of 2 { 12.21.14 at 10:13 am }

Well, we purposely set out to not tell the santa lie. (My fan didn’t celebrate–dad is Moslem–we got a New Years present–not cool as a kid–so we celebrate a secular Xmas. Anyway I have the unique perspective of my parents not perpetuating the santa lie. Although I do remember leaving out cookies one year hoping against hope.) Then everyone (e.g. pedi–our kids’ bdays are near the holidays) started saying santa would be coming to our house. So now my 4 yo talks about santa all the time and i keep telling her santa is pretend like dora etc. seems to work. 2 yo still clueless. So we tell them the gifts are from pretend santa who is us. The issue of who got what poor ppl etc hasn’t come up yet at these ages.

6 Tara { 12.21.14 at 10:17 am }

I saw that post in my feed as well and it really did make me think. I’ve never really liked the message it sends to my kids that this magical (fictional) man with unending resources can bring an abundance of gifts for them, whatever they want! Just tell Santa what you want and he brings it! Easy! When in reality, a real life person (myself) busts their ass to scrape up the money to buy them their gifts, puts in a lot of time and effort thoughtfully selecting, shopping and wrapping their gifts. I think it’s hard to teach them how to appreciate the things they receive if they think they just magically happen. That being said, I think the magic of Christmas and of Santa is an important part of childhood. So reading that post in my Facebook feed just solidified what I was already feeling and I made sure that this year the kids got a few toys that they asked for and really wanted. Especially the Lego that they asked Santa for at the mall. But the bigger, more expensive gift? That is from their dad and I.

7 tigger62077 { 12.21.14 at 11:04 am }

My mom used to give presents from Santa, Rudy and the gang, the Christmas Fairy, Jesus – everyone she could think of. Which right now amuses me that she put Jesus (I was raised in a very religious home) in with a bunch of other fictional people, but that’s an observation for a different time. At any rate, I don’t think I ever felt slighted by what Santa brought me vs what he brought others.

This is the first year that The Boy recognizes Santa and that Christmas is a big thing. I will likely do what my mom did and put it from different people – my parents made up things for each other, and my husband and I do the same – unless it becomes a problem. If it seems that he is upset when he is older, then things will change. They will have to.

8 Lori Lavender Luz { 12.21.14 at 11:07 am }

For reasons like this, I’m so glad we’re past the Santa stage. I was never totally comfortable with the deception that is Santa/Tooth Fairy/Easter Bunny.

Tongue-in-cheek: http://youtu.be/jDg_zu-CuJY?t=29m

9 Lori Lavender Luz { 12.21.14 at 11:08 am }

Oh, and Santa usually brought the thing that was hardest to wrap. Our Santa didn’t wrap.

10 Mel { 12.21.14 at 11:16 am }

I am more than a little bit in love with the idea of choosing the most unwrappable box and making that one from Santa.

11 Mel { 12.21.14 at 11:17 am }

Okay, Lori, I’m willing to accept Santa slamming against the wall of reality, but are you going to tell me that Hogwarts isn’t real? They will get my wand when they pry it out of my dead, cold hand!

12 Cristy { 12.21.14 at 2:59 pm }

Damn. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, there’s yet another thing to consider.

As a kid, Santa’s realm was our stockings. And though there was comparisons, usually it surrounded what you got, not from whom. So this FB message is interesting to me. If this is such an issue, then it may be time to re-examine the myth of Santa Claus. That instead of focusing on the material, focusing on the spirit of giving especially in an era where so many are struggling.

13 Mali { 12.21.14 at 2:59 pm }

I saw this too, and wondered about how parents handle it. It was never an issue when I was growing up – I guess I knew that Santa was actually my parents from a pretty young age, even though we continued the open pretence for much longer. In NZ and Australia too, by the time the kids go back to school in February, presents from Santa (or Father Christmas) are a distant memory, and we were all talking about what we did in the summer … or just excited to be back at school.

14 SecondVoice { 12.21.14 at 4:00 pm }

So funny you posted this! It showed up in my Facebook newsfeed, too. Like you, I had never thought about it, and also like you I’ve been pondering it. I agree that Santa is probably not the person to teach kids about the unfairness of the world. He’s supposed to be a magical gift-giver. Or whatever. Personally, I’m not hugely into Santa and I’ve decided to tell my kids that he’s is just pretend from the very start (but that it’s a secret!), so I think it would be less of a risk with my offspring. But for those who like to keep up the fantasy, it could be an unintentionally harsh experience.

15 Karen (formerly Serenity) { 12.21.14 at 5:08 pm }

I tell O that moms and dads give Santa a budget every year. But my kid thinks that Santa monitors his wish list on Amazon, so I am probably in the minority…

16 Mel { 12.21.14 at 7:22 pm }

I LOVE that — that Santa has a budget set by the parents. It then makes sense why one child would get X and why one child would get Y, but the magic is still there in explaining Santa.

17 Justine { 12.21.14 at 8:48 pm }

We live in a school district with a lot of families who are wealthier than we are, and who give their kids everything they want. Even the thoughtful family we hung out with last night is getting their kid an XBox for Christmas (and BTW, he already HAS a playstation). We don’t even have TV.

Over the years, I guess we’ve sort of suggested that Santa brings things that we value as a family, not just the most expensive things. That Santa “gets” us. (He also brings only one thing, and we give one thing, so the kids get just two things from us; anything else is from family. In most cases, the total for each kid is under $40, and in their stockings, they get pencils, soap, toothbrushes, and some candy. Do we win for Worst Parents Ever? *plink* … more coins in the therapy jar …)

But I don’t think everyone is as careful as we are about the explaining, and that’s where I worry … because I can’t control what gets said on the playground.

18 a { 12.21.14 at 8:59 pm }

I had a great response all typed out on my phone, but somehow the phone deleted all my contact info, so I lost the comment when I tried to post. It was really great – people had 3 hands in it!

I saw this post too, and it made me stop and think about what I give my kid. And, the thing is…we don’t get too extravagant, because it goes against our natures. But I don’t really approve of the tendency people have of being moral scolds.

We have lots of discussions of why people need Toys For Tots (the bane of my daughter’s existence, since, if she has a birthday party she has to donate a toy she receives to Toys For Tots. Sad to have that October birthday) if they could just get toys from Santa. Today, the discussion was about whether Rudolph was real or a lie and how she was going to be upset if it was all lies! I was all “What? You like fiction, don’t you?” But realistically, this is a short period of time in kids’ lives, and more than half of it is spent mostly with family rather than with peers. Kids question, but they don’t always process the full implications. Those questions get answered when the truth about Santa comes out. The real problem is not the kid who only gets some mittens – it’s that parents who put themselves in hock to try to make sure their kids don’t have questions.

19 Turia { 12.21.14 at 9:20 pm }

In our house Santa fills the stocking and brings one present (unwrapped). I’ve already had a conversation with E. (3.5 this Christmas) about how if he asked for six presents then Santa wouldn’t have room on his sleigh for presents for all the other kids and how that would make them sad.

E. gets a few things from us, but they’re mostly puzzles, books, new pjs, etc. He is getting one toy this year plus what he asked for from Santa.

I kind of wish we hadn’t done Santa, but then again I also want my kid to develop the ability to embrace magical thinking. So I’m torn.

20 earthandink { 12.21.14 at 11:28 pm }

This was actually a problem in my immediate family.

My ex-husband’s family all chipped in to make my son’s holiday amazing when he was with them for Christmas. I was a struggling single mother and simply couldn’t do what they could, not by a long shot. So Santa was better at his dad’s then at my house.

I made the huge mistake of ending up just letting him have Christmas at his father’s, as there was no way I could swing it financially and I worked on the holidays to get the time and a half so I’d have the money for presents when he came home. (And be able to shop after- Christmas sales.) But they were never as good and everything he really wanted someone on the ex side had already gotten.

If I had a time machine, it’s one of those things I would change.

21 Jackie { 12.21.14 at 11:35 pm }

My now 10-year-old son stumped me a few years ago. I was talking to him about needing to be generous, especially during the holidays, because not every child has a bountiful Christmas, including his birth-siblings. He didn’t understand since Santa is the one who brings all the gifts. I didn’t know how to answer. I regret that we started out with such over-the-top gifts from Santa. Every year, I have been gradually diminishing the quantity and quality of the gifts so that it wouldn’t be such a big shock from one year to the next. Unfortunately, once the precedence has been set, I think it’s hard to go back. This is an important post you shared for new parents and parents-to-be to keep in mind. My only thing I’ve come up with telling him when he asks Santa for things that are out of our price range is that Santa only brings things that the parents approve of and he doesn’t disrespect parent’s wishes either. So, that’s how we got out of him asking Santa for an ipad and a puppy. 😉

22 earthandink { 12.21.14 at 11:37 pm }

And, there’s nothing that makes you feel worse about yourself then wishing your kid got less because you can’t give them as much.

But it’s very confusing to a child to have Santa be better to them at one parent’s than the others. Especially if any of the relatives at the other parent’s are trying to make the point that Santa rewards good people and that’s why there’s so much at their house. What message is that giving a really young child about the parent who isn’t as well off? (Sorry, apparently this touched a nerve.)

23 Amanda { 12.22.14 at 12:17 am }

Her idea actually makes total sense to me. I figured out from an early age though that Santa was actually in the hearts of those we love…I’m torn on what we might do if we get the chance to have kids. Guess I have time to figure it out 😉
I support her idea though.

24 Heather { 12.22.14 at 6:43 am }

Santas gift or gifts are only the ones the girls specifically ask him for while on his lap. They are not extravagant things either. This year it’s Thea Stilton books and Monster High dolls. Fair enough. The big surprise gifts are from mommy and daddy.
While I get what the Facebook post is saying it also rubbed me the wrong way. I grew up in a family that had very little money in a very affluent town. My friends got all kinds of things from Santa that were expensive. I don’t remember ever feeling like I got shafted because my friend got Colecovision from Santa and I got a Pac Man sleeping bag. I don’t know, I’m still working on why this bothers me so much.

25 Bronwyn { 12.22.14 at 6:50 am }

It’s never really come up for us. As a child, Santa came towards the beginning of the long summer holidays and by the time school went back it was all in the distant past. There was a bit of discrepancy between the cousins and it was explained that some parents “top up” Santa’s presents, but the tone of voice used suggested that this was kind of cheating and to be frowned upon.

Nowadays half the kids P and T play with don’t get visited by Santa at all, so they’re very used to the idea of it being a cultural/optional/selective thing.

I think the request is a good one, but it can only ever be a suggestion and in any case, one person’s “modest” is another’s “OTT” (I recently ran across someone whose *minimum* “acceptable” standard costs about two or three times as much as our *maximum* acceptable spend.) It’s good to put the thought out there but I don’t see the point in spending much time arguing over it. I have to admit I agreed but didn’t share it when I saw it on Facebook. I think the prescriptiveness of it rubbed me slightly the wrong way – I would have preferred it to be more neutrally phrased.

26 andy { 12.22.14 at 8:31 am }

We never ran into any inequity among friends after Christmas, either with Liam or even myself growing up.

With myself, I suspect that all the kids at my school were in the same family income bracket, and things overall were less extravagant in the ’70s.

But with Liam I’m more surprised it hasn’t come up. He goes to a private school and has some friends that are the “OMG your are rich!” side of things – which we are not. But the idea of comparing who got what from Santa has never, ever come up.

27 Ellen K. { 12.22.14 at 9:27 am }

Last year the girls (then age 5) noticed the line “Santa Claus we never see / Santa Claus, what’s that? Who’s he?” in the movie “Annie,” so they had a few questions. I told them that grown-ups have to let Santa know that he’s welcome by hanging up stockings, talking about him, etc. That starts the magic. This is where Miss Hannigan fails. But also, Santa knows he should check back with parents to make sure that certain gifts wouldn’t cause problems for the family or the child — by being too expensive to replace (even replacing batteries), being too large for the house or not in line with the family’s values about good toys, or making siblings or friends jealous and unhappy. Some parents want Santa to only bring a few gifts so that they or relatives can select something that the child really, really wants, because giving gifts can be such fun. I. and N. seemed satisfied with this explanation and have referred to it several times.

I’m not wild about the prescriptiveness, as Bronwyn termed it, of that original FB post. We don’t do only 3 gifts (representing the Magi), “something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read,” or “Santa fills the stockings only” or anything like that. Even my husband, who is definitely a Christmas minimalist, is uncomfortable with the idea of only 3 or 4 gifts. Instead we ask the girls to be thoughtful with their lists and keep in mind that Santa can do more if they ask for less.

The Santa years are particularly short when there’s only one age of child(ren) in the family — this is another twin compression. : ) The girls are 6. I’m not sure how much longer they will believe. I think I’ve given them lots of hints. They definitely know that Daddy and I have something to do with Christmas, by forwarding their Amazon wish lists to Santa, checking in with Santa about # of gifts/acceptable gifts, etc.

“The Battle for Christmas,” which sounds like (and is) a chapter title in a Bill O’Reilly book, is a very engaging book about how the domestic American Christmas was invented and how very swiftly these were accepted as time-honored traditions — and how immediately people began to lament the commercialism and materialism compared with Christmases past. It’s a really fun book. The author is Jewish.

28 Jennifer { 12.22.14 at 9:28 am }

Since this is my daughter’s first Christmas this post really fascinates me. We still have time to determine what we want our Santa philosophy to be. I LOVE the idea of a Santa budget. 🙂 My husband and I have talked about how we were thinking Santa would do one present, we would do one present and then there would be a stocking. We bought Christmas pajamas this year, but clearly that was more for us than our 10 month old. It just seems like Christmas has turned into a huge circus. My Facebook feed is filled with these elaborate Elf on a Shelf pictures that make me want to vomit. Even the idea of Christmas pajamas has turned into pajamas, a movie, a snack, hot chocolate and possibly more. I have friends who are giving their child a Christmas book every day. This is all too much for me.

29 Becky { 12.22.14 at 10:13 am }

I never thought of this as a kid at all. And, honestly, I don’t think my kids (ages 4 and 8) care who a present is from. Frankly, one of the things I love about my kids is that they generally don’t care what they get for Christmas (and rarely ask for specific things, but when they do, it’s art supplies, or books, or trucks, or legos). This year, my 8yo has said several times in response to people asking him what he wants, “oh, it doesn’t really matter. I’ll be happy with whatever, because Christmas isn’t about presents so much anyway”. I feel sad sometimes because I really do want them to have that “magical” Christmas experience. But, at the same time, I’m proud that presents aren’t their focus and will take it as a parenting win.

30 charlotte { 12.22.14 at 12:08 pm }

In my house we all believe in Santa. He brings all the gifts, and if you don’t believe, you don’t get presents. Obviously my 14 year old knows the truth, but she won’t announce that. Even now, there is something so very magical about Christmas morning. The years are so fleeting; I feel very sorry for those that (aside from religious reasons) feel that they are lying to their children and don’t do Santa. It makes me wonder what happened in their own childhoods to make them so cynical.
We first and foremost celebrate the birth of Jesus. My children know that there are two reasons people celebrate Christmas, and that some people only do one or the other, and others don’t celebrate it at all. Because we always participate in an adopt a family outreach projects this time of year, the question of “if Santa brings the gifts, why do the less fortunate need help” has come up. What we have explained is that they receive gifts from family members as well as Santa, and lots of people need buying those extra gifts or pair of shoes, so that the kids and parents can all have gifts to open on Christmas. And that people who are less fortunate don’t really have money for extra things when they are struggling to put food on the table. (Our Santa brings all the kids gifts, but parents get gifts from the kids and each other. )
It has never come up that my kids get jealous or vice versa of what others have received. There seems to be an understanding that if it is not practical for your family, you don’t get it. For example, my 9 year old has been asking for one of those huge battery powered kid cars (the $200+ kind) for years, and has not and won’t ever receive it. There is no room for something like that, and it is not something our Santa would get him, but ever year it makes his list just in case. He has never gotten upset about it not being under the tree, either, so there’s that.
We let Santa get all the glory for kid gifts. There is usually one “big” thing and several smaller or less expensive things. Other than birthdays, they don’t get too much other stuff during the year that I just buy for them as far as toys go. This also helps us keep the Santa thing going, because the stuff they get they know is stuff mom and dad won’t ever agree to buying for them for no good reason.
Like Rumour Miller and a few others, I don’t agree with the moral shaming that fb post implies. If you do what you can for your kids, with Love, it will be enough. The author seems to have a chip on her shoulder because of whatever situation she is in. Kids don’t naturally see the situation the way adults do; the only way they would get those feelings is if the parents brought this to their attention. She needs to adjust her own expectations and accept her own limitations. Instead of trying to make other people feel bad because they can provide more for their children and posting this stuff on fb, She should try making the most out of this beautiful holiday season. Her kids might not remember this years latest and greatest toy, but will remember all the other things she could do with them to make it special.

31 Mrs T { 12.22.14 at 1:36 pm }

If I were to write a post like that, it would simply say “don’t mistake gifts for love.” My sister and I both try not to go overboard with presents because our family did go overboard growing up (and still does). At some point, opening yet another object that you sorta-wanted loses all meaning.

32 Tiara { 12.22.14 at 4:08 pm }

I have been struggling with the Santa question this year as it’s the first year Elena is actually aware. We went to visit Santa in late November & she asked for Elsa & Anna…every time anyone would ask what she asked Santa for, she’d say Elsa & Anna…then it dawned on me, I had to get her Elsa & Anna or she’d lose all faith!!! It hadn’t even crossed my mind! Luckily, I was able to get them for her. When I was growing up, Santa filled our stockings. Our presents were from my parents & family. As my mom put it, she wanted credit for the big stuff! I’ve been on the fence about how to deal with Santa for Elena. I definitely won’t be making the big gifts from him but I’ve also resolved Elena would only get 1 or 2 presents from me so that doesn’t leave a lot of options…I think I’ll just tackle questions as they come…

33 Anne { 12.22.14 at 5:04 pm }

I’ve never thought about it that way. Santa only did stocking and maybe brought a few little things for us. I asked my mom about it and she said she didn’t want Santa to get all of the credit!!! She wanted us to know that the big gifts came from them. She said he didn’t deserve the credit because he only came around once a year and we didn’t really have a relationship with him.

34 Kasey { 12.22.14 at 7:16 pm }

I saw this last week and have been trying to remember if it was ever an issue. But my parents always made Christmas special and all gifts were from Santa (unwrapped). I don’t ever remember having conversations about what Santa brought at school. I remember sharing a favorite gift one year but that wasn’t Santa specific. Rob says maybe just because I wasn’t the heartbroken kid. But he remembers years where he didn’t get much and no specific memories of it being an issue with friends. I do get the sentiment behind it and it will be something I maybe consider going forward. Right now we are taking Simon’s lead on how much we even do Santa. I’m not ok with outright lying but I am ok going along with whatever he picks up from friends/books/movies/songs.

35 Jessica { 12.22.14 at 8:00 pm }

I read a great rebuttal “Santa sends mommy and daddy the bill”.

My son is 4 and only this year is interested in Santa. And even still, it’s still too enigmatic for him.

I don’t think we even said specifically “this is from Santa”. As far as he knew (or didn’t know) it was all from Santa.

When he’s older I know these questions might come up and he might want to specifically know what was from Santa or what came from mom & dad or the family that lives far away.

I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

36 Jamie { 12.23.14 at 12:39 am }

I can’t remember what my parents told me about Santa specifically. I think I vaguely remember my mom saying that sometimes Santa doesn’t bring you everything on your list…he has to shop at the store sometimes, too, and they run out of stuff…he has to leave some ideas for your parents for your birthday (mine was in September)…there may have been something about a budget, as was shared by another poster. When my brother and I got a Nintendo for Christmas, my parents said that was from them. It seemed that was the beginning of the transition until we were old enough to figure it out. I don’t know, we just didn’t question it. I went to a Catholic grade school and I remember the teachers letting us bring one toy from Christmas for show and tell or to tell about one thing you got for Christmas. Looking back on it, I think the teachers at my school were very cognizant of the differences in income at our school and tried to encourage humility. My family didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but it didn’t feel like it was so obvious all of the time. Being that I grew up in an area with a large Catholic population, there were enough schools that they could embrace a Catholic education for anyone who wanted it based on sliding scales for tuition or subsidies as needed. Sorry for the tangent!

37 Barely Sane { 12.23.14 at 9:52 am }

I saw this too and it really made me think twice. It definitely put a spin on it I’ve never really considered before because I don’t remember feeling jealous as a kid. I had siblings and it was obvious before ever leaving the house that Santa doesn’t always bring what you ask for and sometimes, he brings it to someone else (like my sisters).
We usually have Santa fill the stocking & bring 1 or 2 presents that are generally either on her wish list or something significant but not always the BIG gift. She has been disappointed by Santa before, but we have explained there are only so many “XYZ” toys to go around and Santa has to try to spread it out over all the kids in the world. She also knows that mom & dad make the final decision on what Santa is allowed to give.
She is starting the question his existence this year and my simple explanation is this: if you believe in Santa, there will be gifts from him under the tree. If you don’t, then there won’t. Now, that doesn’t necessarily say he’s real, or that those that don’t believe don’t get gifts, just not gifts from Santa. We are leaving it up to her to decide.

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