Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pondering Santa and Christmas Presents

As you all know, I only have one son, for now, and he's the center of my world. We've always been very careful about how many and how frequently we give him something new. But Christmas time is the time to let loose right? It should be but...

For his first Christmas, we didn't really get him anything. He was only four months old and wouldn't have known the difference.

His second Christmas was spent on holidays in Kuala Lumpur and we went a little crazy then. Although, I must admit that many of my well thought out presents didn't seem to have as great an impact on him as I had imagined.

Last year, his third Christmas, we were in Cairns and he had presents from the whole family. There were a few books and one Thomas the Tank Engine. Nothing too extravagant.

This year, he's found out that Santa also delivers presents (no, Santa didn't visit him for the past three years) and that receiving presents is something of a right at Christmas time. I don't have a problem with that, its part of what makes Christmas fun for kids (and the rest of us).

The part I feel a little hypocritical about is saying "You'd better be good or Santa won't bring you anything." I don't like bribing him that way and rarely use lines like that....until now. I have no idea why I started. Maybe its because of that Christmas song, or maybe its because people he meets always ask if he's been good.

In any case, Santa will finally be visiting Aaron this year. The problem I have is deciding if Santa should be the extravagant gift giver or should I. I've got him an amazing (and humongous) Lego set. Its a combination of smaller individual packs and my parents and I were planning on spliting them up and each person would give him one. The rationale behind it is so that he wouldn't learn to expect huge presents for Christmas and that the exchange of gifts is a modest one instead. The other thing I have for him is a Dinosaur Encyclopedia, something I already know he'll love. The plan was for Santa to give the book and the rest of us to give the small lego packs.

Unfortunately, the inquisitive little guy stumbled upon the poorly concealed (huge) Lego box and tore it open yesterday. We have that fire under control and he doesn't realise it was for him or that he would ever get to play with it. BUT, he now knows it comes as a big box so I might as well give it to him as a single present. So, its back to a little guy getting a really big present. I'll just be explaining that its from all of us. I also need to make some time to help him prepare his presents for the family to show that there is a trade of gifts.

So this has then led me to think about Santa's role. I thought that maybe we could make Santa a little boring and have him give presents that are useful, rather than "whatever you ask for". Take the Lego for example, I want him to know that it was his family that gave it to him and not some bearded stranger. Same with the Dinosaur Encyclopedia.

Santa is a good excuse for getting a few more presents out there but I don't think I'd like to maintain that sort of expectation of having Santa give the gifts that a child asks for. For Aaron, the present that Santa is definitely giving is a piggy bank. I decided that one a long time ago. Aaron's also growing out of his clothes so maybe a pair of shorts and shirt to demonstrate that Santa can see that he needs it. But wouldn't I then be robbing him of the whole Santa fantasy? I guess what I'm looking for is some sort of balance to have the Santa fantasy without it becoming the carrot for being good.

And as for the presents we get him, I partly think that its too big but I'm telling myself that its balanced out by us not usually getting him stuff during normal times.

He's still only three and maybe I'm thinking too much into things and spoiling the fun for him but I think I need to remind myself that each year builds on itself and he'll not be three forever. So, I'd better build a decent foundation.


Mike said...

I think it would be hard to explain how Santa stores toys at your house before hand. He'll be tearing the house apart every year.

Bilbo said...

I think you're overanalyzing. For what it's worth, the idea of lots of people each giving him something small, rather than one big thing, is not a bad idea. Let him believe in Santa...he's got lots of years coming to get disillusioned with things, so let him have this happy fantasy now.

Amanda said...

Mike - Yes. Thats what I was thinking too. As it is, he's started looking around the house for more toys.

Bilbo - Yes to you too. I'm doing way too much thinking (and thought of that over thinking after I posted). I liked the idea of Santa as a child and would hate for him not to believe in him for at least a few short years. I just won't go crazy with the toy shopping....just a little carried a way.

Tanya said...

Santa used to bring a few little individually wrapped presents for each of our boys and a bigger present to share like a lego set or a board game etc something the family could do together. The boys like most kids LOVED to get 'stuff'. They are too old for Santa now of course and for the last few years havent been very materialistic either (they reckon they have what they need already ie Ipods, computer etc)so we travel although a big holiday like this years trip to Italy comes once every two years.