Wednesday, 30 December 2009


I'm curious. What are your family practices for the whole Santa /Pere Noel / Father Christmas thing? I don't mean addressing the heart stopping question of the great mans existence (as if there is any question. sheesh.) but rather what percentage of the gift deluge does Santa bring to your house?

This has been a snag of contradiction I've unsuspectingly been caught on for more than one year now. And I never see it coming.

You see, in our house Father Christmas fills stocking for the children. Simple. That's the way it has always been, and I naively thought, was the way it just was. Oh, how innocently I skip toward the waiting jaws of 5 year old social networking.

'Mummy, Santa brings Billy LOADS of really big presents, not just in his stocking! How come he gets more than me??'


So I've asked around and found the following variations, just in J's class, in addition to our practice:

- Santa brings all Christmas gifts, regardless of expenses and sizes
- Parent (s) bring one smallish, meaningful gift, the rest from Santa
- A mix of 'under tree gifts' come from both family and Santa
- Santa fills stockings for adults and children alike
- Santa (or Pere Noel) brings gifts on Christmas eve, or even a day or two before.
- There is no Santa.

So what to do? Fess up about the imaginary nature of you-know-who? Not an option for us.
Change our gift giving practice? I don't think this is on the cards either. We are fairly committed to the idea that the boys know who is choosing and buying bigger / more meaningful gifts for them, and Santa only brings fun little novelty and useful items in their stocking. That said, I am open, as ever to your wisdom...

I mean, all this diversity is inevitable in a world that has at least 16 different names for the big man, and coutless stories from Folklore. And I am generally a big fan of this type of cultural variation, except when greeted by the incessent questioning of a very logical 5 year old.

So - in the spirit of being more prepared next year... what are your practices? What do you tell your children?


Laura W. said...

Santa fills stockings for adults and children alike and children get a pretty good (but not the best or most expensive) gift from Santa. The gift is always a toy. That's how it shakes down at the Westman's anyways . . .

姿能林 said...
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a li'l bit squishy said...

Santa fills the stockings and brings one gift (a toy) for each child. Because Steve's family has always celebrated and opened their gifts from one another on Christmas Eve, Christmas morning brings only the Santa gifts. We have mixed traditions, opening our family gifts including the ones from his parents on Christmas Eve and leaving the ones from my parents and siblings until Christmas morning. I like my Swiss friend's Santa best, for he comes on December 6 and leaves Christmas alone ;) It really is complicated, no?
My children went through this when Aidan was in Kindergarten and Grade One watching their friends get multiple or bigger and better gifts. Now, Aidan and Zoe are suspending disbelief for the sake of tradition and Avery flat out says, "Santa is imaginary, like fairies and a good story".

Louise said...

In our house Santa filled our stockings, in hubby's he brought everything. I didn't see how we could do the whole "Santa is magic" thing and then say "actually, no Santa can't bring you a flying carpet or a mermaid darling", so hubby agreed to my system.
Santa fills the stockings and the stuff under the tree is labelled from the giver accordingly. The kids love dishing out the presents on the day :)

daydreamymama said...

I have thought about this a lot, most often in the days after Christmas. In our house, Santa fills the stocking and also puts a few (not many) other gifts under the tree, along with gifts from Mommy and Daddy and some relatives. But I worry about the piles of presents some kids get and how my Little Man will deal with the, ahem, slightly *smaller* pile Santa brings him. Not yet a big problem, in part because so many days pass between Christmas and preschool starting up again. But I really don't want to start a big materialism war with my (much wealthier) neighbors. And not only because we will always lose. It's a tough question!

kate said...

We don't do a lot of presents from Santa or us. Santa fills the stockings and he leaves one or two presents-- sometimes the "big gift," sometimes not. We've handled the "santa brings more to so-and-so" by simply saying that Santa pays close attention to the traditions of every family-- since those traditions are part of what make a holiday so very special-- and that he knows our family does things differently than so-and-sos family." simple as that, and it works. Noah is 10 and he STILL is holding on to believing. I actually think it makes santa feel that much more in tune with the spirit of the season:)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Your precious 5 year old may just be one of those high IQ people who can put the clues together. I was about that age, and once I had collected enough evidence, all the "additional information" my parents gave me about Santa did not ring true. I finally realized they would not come clean, and I let it drop. I pretended to believe for at least 3 more years to spare my baby sister the disappointment. But I always wished my parents respected me enough to say, "I see you got it figured out, so here's our plan to include you in helping us be Santa for your sister." Their evasion to my honest questions made me question myself and my reasoning skills (at that young age!).
I know traditions are precious, but if you have a high IQ kid on your hands, her self esteem is also precious.
Written in love,