I was going to buy M one thing for Christmas, plus a stocking. Well, this is not working out so well. I have ended up wanting to get her the handful of things she’s consistently said she wanted: a Princess Celestia and Night Mare Moon pony (found both together for ten bucks on ebay), a Littlest Pet Shop Jet (she wanted a plane she can take her figurines in a ride in), a Mermaid tail (the kind her half-sister was wearing on FB), and little mermaids and bath color tablets for the stocking (cause she’s obsessed and we have none left). These have been her requests pretty consistently for the last three months. And then she has one gem stone dig gift already wrapped in the trunk that I grabbed from a toy store that was going out of business, it was 50% off. Then dye-free candy for the stocking. So… that plus the couple of gifts I got for my niece and mom, and I’m trying to keep it under $200.
I also told her I’m buying her presents for Christmas, not Santa. I don’t feel comfortable being the one who feeds into the myth that an old white man who doesn’t work except one night per year get all the credit for the Christmas magic. She does believe in Santa because of other influences, and I’m not going to say Santa isn’t real. But I’m telling her that I’m buying her presents, and I even let her tell me which ones to buy. I’m not going to have her write a letter to Santa or threaten her that this old guy will hold a grudge against her or punish her for bad behavior. Christmas will happen whether or not she’s “good” all the time (and really, no one is good all the time so what kind of unreasonable expectations are those?).
Someday, sooner or later, she’ll ask if Santa is real. And I’ll ask her if she’d rather know the truth, or if she would like to keep believing in Santa. She can decide. And if she does want it confirmed that no magical old white man comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve, then I will tell her about Santa representing the magical feelings of Christmas, and being a very fun thing to pretend, just like we pretend fairies and mermaids. (Well, unless she still wants to believe in fairies and mermaids, then I’ll say just like we make-believe that we are superheros or whatnot.)
I honestly don’t think this will ruin the spirit of Christmas for her at all. I do think it will send her a healthy message about honesty, and the fine line between believing something because it’s fun and being purposely led to believe something and then feeling tricked. I also want her to know that I will respect her wishes, to know the truth or keep believing. I trust her to be able to make that decision for herself.
Gentle disciplining and respectful parenting practicing moms and dads (and grandparents/aunts/foster parents etc), what are you doing as far as Santa goes? Obviously there’s no one right way.