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Why We Should Leave the Smaller Gifts to Santa

santapresentsYes, Christmas is mere days away but no, I haven’t figured out what Santa is getting my kids this year. In fact, in my interfaith household as of this writing, I haven’t settled on all of the kids’ Chanukah presents even though the holiday has already begun.

At least on the Santa side of things, a meme circulating on the web is prompting me — and I’m sure, many other parents — to think twice about exactly how fancy I want the big, bearded guy to get with “his” gifts. It’s an apparent screenshot of someone’s Facebook status, with the user’s name obscured, that urges parents to be “modest” with Santa’s presents:

“Not all parents have a ton of cash to spend on making their kids [sic] Christmas special, so it doesn’t make sense to have Santa give your kid a PlayStation4 [sic], a bike, and an iPad, while his best friend at school gets a new hat and mittens from Santa,” the anonymous Facebooker writes.

He or she advises parents to keep the gifts attributed to Santa small and have parents take credit for more expensive items, adding, “You can explain the value of money to kids, but you can’t explain Santa’s discrimination to a heartbroken kid.”

It’s a good point.

I know my 2-year-old is too young to start chatting with other kids about Santa’s presents, but I suppose it’s possible that my 4- year-old and his preschool buddies will start comparing their holiday haul this year. I’d hate for either him or his friends to think that “Santa” likes them less because he was less generous with them than with other children.

I suppose one simple way to avoid that is to tell my son the truth — Santa isn’t real and the gifts that kids get are dependent on their family’s own priorities and resources.

I’m not going to do that. I won’t judge how other parents handle the Santa myth, but in my case, I’m not ready to let him give up the magic yet.

I do like the idea of keeping Santa’s gifts small, in part to avoid the heartbreaking scenario suggested by the meme … but also, darn it, because I’d like my kids to know that Mommy and Daddy were the ones who racked their brains trying to decide on and find just the right toy/game/cartoon character socks.

In short, I want them to appreciate me!

Of course, I’m not the only who feels this way. Deva Dalporto, of the blog MyLifeSuckers, recounted in a recent post her exhausting efforts with respect to shopping and wrapping presents last year … and how, nonetheless, Santa was the one her children excitedly wanted to thank.

“I mean, who the hell is he to take all the credit? I did all the work,” she wrote. “… [T]he real person you should leave cookies for, and think is the most amazing person on earth, is the lady who lets you wipe your snotty nose on her shirt.”

Of course, all of this will be moot in my household if I don’t get off my keister and figure out my kids’ presents, whether they’re inexpensive, handmade, from-the-heart “free hug” coupon books … or a fleet of miniature toy trucks driven by miniature toy puppies.

Whatever they get, I hope they understand that Mommy loves them so very much and that’s the best gift of all*.

*Who am I kidding? Preschoolers won’t understand that. Puppy trucks, here we come!

 To help children in need get gifts for the holidays, consider donating to or volunteering for Toys for Tots.

Image courtesy of ThinkStock

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