What happened to writing letters to Santa Claus? All my kids talk about is getting their “lists” to Santa. Their lists consist of the words “I want” followed by a whole slew of gifts, mostly impossibly elaborate and magical gifts, that they want the fat guy to deliver on Christmas Eve. It has been an uphill battle convincing them that although presenting Santa with a “list” is what they see in books, movies and on TV, it’s not what we do. The polite thing to do is to write Santa a letter thanking him for last year’s presents, asking about his life and times in the North Pole and possibly telling him about one or two things you might enjoy receiving for Christmas, should his elves have the time and resources to make it happen.
Every once in a while they show glimmers of understanding, faint recognition that they can understand why it might not be fun to get a letter from someone with a list of demands. Santa currently loves children and brings them presents out of the goodness of his heart. He symbolizes charity and the spirit of giving. I say he currently loves children because I cannot imagine how he’ll keep up the love with the way he’s being treated. I want, I want, I want… Oh, I only got half of what I wanted… Next year I want, I want, I want. Obnoxious.
So I’m always on the lookout for teaching opportunities. We were watching The Santa Claus the other day and the mom says she stopped believing in Santa one year because he didn’t bring her what she wanted.
“That’s a stupid reason to stop believing in someone, just because they didn’t bring you exactly what you wanted. A gift is a gift and should be received with gratitude. Are you gonna stop believing in me just because I don’t give you everything you want exactly when you want it?”
“Umm… no,” Laylee responded, not quite sure why I was so worked up. This particular hot button is very confusing to them. If Santa is magic and can make any toy in the world and if he loves them so much and knows the deepest desires of their hearts, why wouldn’t he get them exactly what they wanted? Because he just wouldn’t, okay? Santa is not a mail order catalog and he doesn’t passively comply with lists of demands from little children or terrorists.
This year they seemed to have settled into the idea that they should be grateful for whatever they get and not to have any exact Santa expectations…until the emails came.
I found a really cool site -- Portable North Pole -- where you can request that Santa send an email to your child. You put in some basic information and it generates a video email message tailored to your child, complete with Santa opening up his naughty-and-nice book to a page with your child’s picture and information on it. The videos are adorable. The problem is that one of the questions for the parents to fill out was, “What is a present your child wants and/or will receive this year?”
I typed in the thing that Magoo most desires in the world but that I have been unable to purchase. I knew we weren’t going to buy it for him but I thought it would be more personal if Santa said that he knew exactly what Magoo wanted. Yeah, I know. As comedian Mike Birbiglia would say, “I live in the future also.” Having Santa tell him, “I know what you want,” via video message and then not bring it was a stupid idea. Well it got even stupider when the video came with Santa promising him that he will ACUTALLY GET THE ITEM! Are you kidding me!? Laylee got so excited for him. “Now you know you’ll get it because Santa said so and Santa never lies!” For the love! So even though I did my Christmas shopping weeks ago and he doesn’t need another thing and the gift in question is impossible to find, Santa has just promised him that it will be under the tree this Friday morning. Thanks a lot Santa. I’ll just say this -- You’d better be real dude because Mama Kathryn can’t assist you in your magical gift giving this year.