It’s almost time for Santa to visit. So how do we prepare the kids for the possibility that he may not bring everything on their ‘Wish List’?
And how can we prevent the Christmas morning meltdown when their number one item is not under the tree?
Sometimes, despite their very best behaviour in the lead up to Christmas, Santa simply can’t bring the kids everything they’re hoping for. Even if ‘he’ wants to. Even when they squish their little eyes tight, cross all their fingers and toes and wish, Wish, WISH with all their heart.
Sometimes parents simply can’t afford the present their kids want. Sometimes it’s simply an impractical request, like the year my kid asked for a “real humpback whale”.
Whatever the reason, we want our children to be resilient and learn how to deal with disappointment in the safety of their own homes. So how can we manage this and stop Christmas tantrums?
Here’s some tips to help prepare the little ones for the possible heartbreak , whilst still holding on to the magic of Christmas.
What to do when Santa can’t bring the gift your kid wants
Look for alternatives. If it’s a budget issue and you are still hopeful, keep searching. Check out the second hand online sites. Look for sales and coupon codes. Relatives might be able to contribute to the cost. The reality is, it just might not be possible this year. Perhaps subtly redirect their passion towards something a little more affordable.
Replace with an ‘interim’ gift. Christmas tantrums might be eased if you explain that Santa might be checking to see how they cope before deciding if they are ready for their hearts’ desire. A goldfish might be more manageable than a puppy this year. A cheaper interactive baby doll may be almost as good as Baby Alive.
Plan a little more for next year. Put a little aside each pay day and definitely check out these savvy shopping tricks.
But isn’t Santa magic? Come on, Mum. Explain that one?
I was taught that Santa knew me even better than I did, and therefore he knew precisely what was best for me. Explain to your little one that Santa must have a really good reason for gifting us something else.
Here’s some other things that might work.
- If you write ‘Wish Lists’ or ‘Letters to Santa’, REMIND your child over and over again, that it is simply to give Santa ideas. It is not a done deal. Perhaps even ask them to provide a back up gift, in case Santa is spread a bit thin this year. There are so many children in the world, you know!
- Could it be that Santa’s magic is reserved for flying all around the world, in one night, without being seen? He needs the elves and a workshop to create the gifts and sometimes even their creativity is limited. This is why some items appear in manufactured boxes, and consequently, Santa also needs to run to a budget.
- Given Santa knows best, he might also be creative with the interpretation of a gift. We simply cannot second guess the great man. Turn the tables and use YouTube to your advantage. “This my darling, is why a dirt bike is perhaps not an appropriate gift for a six-year-old living in inner city Melbourne, but a LEGO dirt bike might be.” Show them that Santa is no fool.
- If it is a pet your child is aching for and this is not going to happen, remind your child that storage is also an issue. Santa has a sack, not an Ark, and he does have his limits.
- If it is a BIG ticket item, remind your child that Santa does have weight restrictions on the sleigh if he wants to fly. If you are really worried, Santa might even leave a special letter. This might explain one or more of the above points.
And finally as the Rolling Stones might say, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need!”
Distract, distract, distract
I find my kids can be a little like goldfish. Got Christmas tantrums brewing? Distract them with something else shiny and sparkly, slap those festive breakfast pancakes down and hopefully they move on quickly. Hopefully.
After all, Santa really does know best, right?!
And if all else fails, you might need to change your Santa story so that next year the big presents come from mum and dad.