17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Man (mom and dad) in the Suit

If you don't lie about the big fat man dressed in red that comes down your chimney (or through the garbage shoot in my case), then this post is not for you. We will not be debating whether or not lying about this is right or wrong, good or bad, or a threat on the trust developing between you and your child. That can be in another post...

When I was a child, I woke up on Christmas morning to my stocking spilling over and thensome. Every Christmas Eve, after we opened up our one Christmas Eve present (usually pajamas, specifically Lanz pajamas), and dressed in that present, we laid the cookies out for Santa, the carrot for the reindeer, and chose a spot on one of two sofas in our living room to place our stocking. This is where Santa would come, fill it, set up some other gifts, eat his cookies and take the carrot to go.

Nothing was wrapped, except, as we got older (for some reason) the occasional tiny box in our stocking...usually jewelry or makeup. The elves make some GREAT Clinique Cosmetics...did you know?

Every year I always got big gifts from Santa: THAT doll I wanted, the stereo system, even a miniature tv one year...the list goes on. Then from my parents, wrapped under the tree usually an outfit and then a miscellaneous gift. As I got older and had to pretend Santa was real for my brother and sister nearly a decade younger than me, I would always sit down in front of my Christmas morning Santa loot and make eye contact with my Mom and tell her thank you.

When I took my first turn at being Santa about 6 years ago, I didn't even think twice about how I would do Santa...no...it would be EXACTLY the same as when I grew up. I carefully chose the stocking stuffers for my little baby and stuffed them into her stocking...then set up her Jay Jay the Jetplanes and Chicken Dance Elmo next to a few books, on the couch next to the stocking and on the floor. Of course, being only 9 months old, she didn't understand what was going on...but I didn't care...it was like I hadn't even done any of it...like Santa had really come!

This year, as I have been hemming and hawing over what to get my girls from Santa vs. from their parents, I realized that Santa really does get ALL the glory in this scenario that my parents have set up and I have continued. Santa brought the kitchen last year, and the DVDs and books and barbies. This year Santa is bringing the dollhouse and games and DVDS and books. We are giving them a small gift under the tree, because our trip to California is the present...

So...what I am trying to get to here is how does Santa visit your house? With wrapped presents? An unwrapped extravaganza? Stockings only? Do the big gifts come from Santa or the parents or the grandparents(...now THAT'S a way to save money!)? Do you make things and pretend that Santa and his elves really made them? Does it matter who gets the glory? Do you spoil your kids? Do you have a big Christmas or a small Christmas or does it depends on how well you did financially that year? Do you make your child choose their favorite gift to give away? Do you focus on Christ on Christmas Day or Santa or both?

I don't mind at all that Santa gets all the credit for the Christmas morning Surprise. I think that's just part of the magic of Christmas. And even when I found out it was my parents nearly 20 years ago, it never ruined me, in fact I think it made my love and trust for my parents stronger because I realized all they did for me to provide that amazing moment every year. I knew how hard they worked, thought, planned out, spent, shopped, and organized, and that they did it all for me.


  • When I was growing up, Santa filled our stockings and left one big gift for each of us (or all of us in the case of the game table... which my dad and uncle played on first... Hmm...). After my dad left when I was 10, Santa just left stockings. My husband's Santa just leaves stockings. So, with our kids, that's what we'll probably do with only a few presents under the tree from us.

    And the Santa secret was ruined for me when I saw the box my baby sister's gift had come in, in the garage. So, parents, throw away those boxes, no matter how useful they may be... or trade with the neighbors!!
    posted by Blogger Erin Marie at 12/02/2007 07:55:00 AM  

  • It's fun to hear how differently we all experienced "santa" growing up. Our Santa came in the middle of the night, and brought lots of wrapped presents in the morning. My mom made SURE that wrapping paper never matched any of the presents from Mom and Dad, or we'd figure it out.
    I really don't hardly remember the stockings at all, I know we had them, I think they usually had candy in them. But Santa filled the tree with all our little hearts desires.
    The presents from family members to eachother were all opened on Christmas Eve, so by morning nothing was under there except for the Santa gifts.
    And yes, Santa brought the big stuff, and got ALL the glory. I think the magic of Santa at Christmas is a memory I will cherish forever as well, and I do my best to recreate it for my kiddoes now too.

    My question is what does Santa bring when the kids have virtually NO requests?
    That's my dilemma this year. Santa is feeling stumped!
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 12/02/2007 02:30:00 PM  

  • My parents were all about Mom and Dad getting the glory! Santa does the stockings and an unwrapped display but as the years have gone by, the Santa display has diminished and the REAL presents are from Mom and Dad, wrapped under the tree. We have done the same with our toddler. She can't "ask" for much yet...except Elmo, so I have just had fun getting her what I think she would have fun with! Our christmases are somewhat big but do fluctuate a little bit as we've been in different financial phases of our life. My friend told me about Santa and then I was ten years older than my siblings so I loved taking on the role of elf as a teenager! I put together the dollhouse, sit and spin, bikes, etc. for my little bro and sis!
    posted by Blogger Liz&Meg at 12/02/2007 07:52:00 PM  

  • We do it almost exactly like you- the same way my family did it growing up. The only difference would be EVERYTHING, absolutely EVERY last little thing in our stockings is wrapped.

    Jeffrey was only 4 months old his first Christmas, but I didn't care- it was so fun being Santa Claus- it didn't ruin the magic at all for me.

    For our kids now, we do the same thing. They get a fabulous present or two from Santa and a stocking full of stuff, and then each two presents under the tree from us.

    I couldn't care less that Santa gets the glory. It's not about me, anyway.

    (When I do go home for Christmas, Santa still comes to ME at my mom's house. How cool is that?)
    posted by Blogger tracy m at 12/02/2007 09:39:00 PM  

  • Cute post, Kage! So fun to hear everyone's Christmas experiences. Although I am jealous that you got Clinique cosmetics in your stockings growing up. My Santa was much more frugal- I guess he had to be with six kids! :)

    It has been so much fun playing Santa at our house over the past 7 years. I absolutely live for seeing my four kids' little faces on Christmas morning. I think being "Santa" teaches us how much happiness comes from giving. There is a real gospel tie there.

    I wrap everything in different paper too. My kids would figure it out otherwise. I also tell my kids that Santa Claus can only fit so much in his sleigh for all the children in the world. I have learned from past mistakes that Christmas spending must be saved and not spent on credit cards. It's too hard to catch up the rest of the year- at least for us. So I have told my kids that they should think of one BIG item (this year it's Guitar Hero 3 for my 7 year old son) and a few LITTLE items. I also give one BIG item from us parents and several LITTLE items from us. I leave the BIG presents from Santa unwrapped and the little ones wrapped. I figure that the more presents to open, the more fun and excitement for the kids- rather than having everything opened and the kids having about 10 minutes of surprises.

    Rachel H, as far as your dilemma, I had the same one with my 3 year old little boy this year. All he said he wanted was "cars". I finally sat him on my lap last week at the computer and surfed the Toys R Us and other department store websites and had him point out what he loved. That worked wonders so he could see all the fun things that were out there for him to wish for!

    I also have my kids send letters to Santa at the beginning of December and send it to "North Pole" with my parents' address underneath. Then, they send a letter back and this REALLY makes them believe that Santa is out there and loves them! :)

    Happy Holidays, everyone!
    posted by Blogger LJ at 12/03/2007 03:27:00 AM  

  • Fun topic! Santa was huge at our house. He left everything unwrapped, which amazingly left Mom a chance to sleep in while we played with all of our stuff. She would make an appearance to see our faces, then say ok, have fun, come wake me in a couple of hours! Santa always had an elaborate display of toys, clothes, books, everything. Our stockings were usually just candy and an orange in the very bottom. Then we had our gifts from Mom/Dad/siblings/relatives still under the tree.

    As for OUR Santa, he leaves everything unwrapped just like my house. Usually there's a little something extra in the stockings. . .lip gloss, nail polish, etc. Santa definitely gets the glory, but hey, he's the man in the big red suit, and it's so fun! I really don't buy things for my kids during the year, only necessities like clothes if they've grown out of things, but toys are usually just a christmas time thing. I also try to buy things throughout the year that I know they would like, usually clothes, small toys, so I don't have much to buy.

    Also, at my husbands work they have an account set up called the Christmas club where it automatically takes money out of your paycheck every time so in October you get a big check to go shopping with (or pay of the credit card with for all the things you've already purchased).
    posted by Blogger wendysue at 12/03/2007 06:19:00 AM  

  • rachel h, my kids have not request a thing for Christmas, but I have been paying attention to what they like: eg. My older daughter jump ropes with my scarves almost every day...so I got her a REALLY cool jumprope at pylones.

    My younger daughter likes to take all the caps off my lipsticks and line them up and the same with nailpolish...so I got her this melissa and doug magnetic-top bath bottles...they are wooden...perfect for her OCD activity habits.

    I also noticed they like playing together so I got a lot of combined gifts...a bowling set (company store, cats SO cute), a few games from the moma store (chairs and something else...), and a doll house. Last year they got a kitchen to share, this year, it's the doll house. And then as I am shopping around if I see something that makes me think of them, then I pick it up.

    For me the panic will be when 1 week before Christmas my daughter says: I want a Cinderella ballerina doll!

    That happened a fewyears ago and I went straight to ebay.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 12/03/2007 07:11:00 AM  

  • We do things very similar to how my family did it growing up. We get one present from mom and dad on Christmas eve (in our family it is a pair of new pj's). And Christmas morning are all Santa Presents. Some wrapped, some not and a stocking filled with little goodie, candy and an orange in the toe. I am not a stickler with keeping the "santa secret". I think princess has a little idea that mom and dad might be in cahoots with Santa on some stuff. I don't mind the idea that it is a joint effort (I also don't mind giving Santa all the credit if that's what she believes too).
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 12/03/2007 09:33:00 AM  

  • I do Santa a lot differently than my mom did when I was growing up. Mine was a lot like yours. However, my son (9) receives 3 gifts, one from me, one from Joe (stepdad) and one from Santa, then there is his stocking which my mom has always stuffed for him.

    My reasonings have many things in consideration. N has a HUGE family. Both his dad & I are remarried, and the "steps" have inherited him and gifts... well, he gets WAY too many for my tastes. So, my way to cure it is to let everyone else spoil him, and we do 3 gifts... with a bit more "religion" added into it.

    We've done this since he was 4, and it's just the way it is. When he learns about Santa, I'm going to keep the 3 gifts, but the "3rd" will go towards a charity, or a family that we adopt (each year), or even just a ding dong ditch.

    I've run off at the hand (ha!) but there ya go! :)
    posted by Blogger Me, myself & I at 12/03/2007 09:51:00 AM  

  • This post made me shed a litle tear. Thanks, Kage
    posted by Blogger Lisa at 12/06/2007 03:42:00 PM  

  • lisa,
    your welcome santa, I mean MOMMY!
    posted by Blogger Kage at 12/07/2007 06:10:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home