Do your children compare their Christmas gifts with others?
Do they look at what Santa gave them and wonder why they didn’t receive as much as the kids up the road in the large house?
Do they meet with cousins and school friends and discuss how many gifts they got, scrutinising whether Santa was more generous to some, why Hamish got a bike and Harry only got a small box of Lego?
Do children see inequity at Christmas? Are we parents, by our over-generous Santa stockings unwittingly making other children feel bad about themselves? Less worthy?
It’s a debate once again making the rounds after a mother’s plea for parents to think when giving their children presents from Santa has resurfaced. The post was first written by a mother last year and was shared by a Canadian radio station but has popped up again on Facebook.
The woman questioned whether Santa should be the one giving most of, or the biggest of their children’s Christmas presents. The writer asked parents to be “modest with your gifts from ‘Santa.’”
“Not all parents have a ton of cash to spend on making their kids’ Christmas special."
“It doesn’t make sense to have Santa give your kid a PlayStation 4, a bike, and an iPad, while his best friend at school gets a new hat and mittens from Santa.
“Give something small from Santa and make the more expensive presents from you. You can explain the value of money to kids, but you can’t explain Santa’s discrimination to a heartbroken kid.”
When it was first posted with the introduction from the radio station, “The more you think about it, the more sense it makes. Do you agree with this?” The debate was furious on both sides, and the post was shared more than 1.4 million times.
Some said that the idea ruined the magic of Christmas, that children on the whole didn't compare, that it was up to each individual family. But others agreed with the original poster some saying they would from now on change the way they did Christmas.
One poster said that it simply didn't make sense, "This whole "Santa is equal" thing is dumb. Yes, you get a present for being good. But NOWHERE does it state that all good kids get the same present."
Another, "I'm sorry but I LOVE the sparkle in my kids eyes when they have beliefs in the magic of Santa. That makes it so nice for me as a mother who has struggled through the years. I will continue to label many presents from Santa. "
"Teach your children to value what they have and quit looking to obtain what others have to feel happy." wrote another "Better learn that lesson now, kids. Someone is going to have a better car than you, a better house, better shoes,.....the list goes on and on. I think in the long kids will benefit much more from that lesson."
"I don't ever remember being upset over what Santa brought to other children vs what he brought for me as a child and I grew up with a mother living off of disability who used every form of government assistance just to get us by and we rarely got big gifts period. I think we should be teaching our children not to be concerned with what others have."
"Life is not fair. That's a great lesson to teach your kids. Not all will get a trophy, the same gifts or wear the same clothes. Get used to it. And if its the amount of gifts your child received that makes Christmas special, well, your doing it wrong."
But many, many agreed.
"This post have stopped me in my tracks and made me actually think about others and I put my child in position where she would think that Santa thought less of her .For any person that feels that this post is negative just stop for a friggin second and think outside your box."
"I completely agree with this. I didn't grow up with a lot of money and we just didn't get the most expensive gifts. I remember being young and wondering why some kids got these crazy expensive gifts and I didn't."
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Yahoo Parenting explored the idea, speaking to psychologist Amy Morin about the dilemma. She said that while the idea was noble it was not likely to happen.
“In an ideal world, all the children who receive presents from Santa would open gifts that were somewhat equal. By the time a child is old enough to recognize the disproportion, it’s likely he’ll start to notice the premise of Santa is illogical as well," she said.
“The holidays bring about an opportunity for parents to be good role models and start teaching kids valuable life lessons.”
It’s a complicated dilemma and one my children haven’t yet brought forward. They’ve never asked me why classmates or friends receive more or less than them, though I am sure, on reflection that there are many who receive less.
But perhaps the answer lies in the middle, in both teaching our children we are all equal and that what we receive doesn’t mean anything – and also by limiting what “Santa” brings.
As really all children are equal and who better to teach our children that than Santa?
What do you think of the idea of limiting Santa's gifts?