I have just been on BBC Radio Tees to discuss The Mothers Union’s call to ban letters to Father Christmas. They feel that the letter to father Christmas has become a long list of “wants” and that parents feel pressured to buy them all and get into debt.
Grrrrrrrr….. This makes me really angry. Letter writing is a fabulous skill for children and a letter to Father Christmas does not have to be all about the presents children want, they can also ask Father Christmas any questions they might have. There is a incomparable joy to posting a letter and then receiving one back from Father Christmas.
As parents it is our job to set realistic expectations with our children of what they can expect from Father Christmas. A list is not a list of demands, it is a wish list. The boys are under the understanding that Father Christmas gets money off mummy and daddy to buy your presents, so they can not expect to get lots and lots of expensive presents as we just do not have the money.
Tips for making it cheaper:
- Think of things are preloved rather than second hand
- Do not give gifts in boxes and then children have no idea if they are new or not
- Talk about giving to children less lucky as themselves and sort though toys before Christmas
- Make gifts, rather than buying them
- Set realistic expectations
- Father Christmas is always listening, just because you do not get all on your list doesn’t mean he hasn’t seen it, it just means he said no to some of them!
We decided right from when ours were tiny that Father Christmas only brought the stocking pressies – small things – a mix of useful (socks/pants/smellies) and fun things too (books/small toys/dvds).
The ONE main present has always come from us – the boys knew that some year we had more money than others – sometimes the pressie was big and other times less so.
We always wrote to FC – usually telling him about their year and thanking him for last years stocking and maybe suggesting a couple of small things they’d like in this years. They always liked to remind him that they’d leave a mince pie/carrot/drink somewhere too.
That’s a real shame, I loved writing to Father Christmas and I’m enjoying carrying on the tradition with my children. It’s also a good opportunity to teach children that they don’t get everything that they want, and shouldn’t expect to. I certainly never expected to receive everything that I asked for.
Oh how ridiculous, another case of lets kill everything that is joyful in this world incase it upsets someone. I think letters to Father Christmas are all part of the build up, and as you say writing practise in whatever form is a good thing. My children know perfectly well that they are not going to get everything on the list!
The whole thing makes me really cross. Why do we have to ruin the magic of christmas? That’s what it is after all isn’t it? Magical? When did a little bit of magic and imagination turn a child into a spoilt brat? It doesn’t. Bring your child up right, let them WANT things (because we all WANT things, it’s NORMAL) and teach them that sadly, you can’t have everything you want. My son can’t write yet, he’s four, but he cuts and sticks and draws items onto his letter for Father Christmas and writes over my letters. He puts about 8 things on his list. It’s vague, and it is more of a theme than a specific item in most cases. I do my best to incorporate that into Christmas, whether I get him a little bag of marbles that is themed that way, or it’s his main present. I spend more than I should, but because I want to, and I don’t see why parents that choose to go a little bit more ‘out’ over the festive season should be made to feel bad about it. I know everyone has different budgets, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t guide your child into expecting what is appropriate without stripping all the wonder out of such an amazing time of year for youngsters. And before people start saying about the “true meaning of christmas”, I also teach the religious element of it to my son, and I make it exciting and he loves it. I just don’t understand why we have to throw our humbug arses all over the commerical side of things.
I love the four types of gift on the poster – a perfect combination.
I think that’s a real shame as Chick still writes to Santa. I also make her write thank you letters for birthday and Christmas! I think that we should encourage letter writing and it’s up to the Parents to make sure it doesn’t turn into a long list of ‘I want…….’
I love the poster and said to the boy that’s exactly what I need this year!!
Great minds think alike!!
I agree, anything that gets them writing has to be a good thing.
My eldest as soon as she could write was encouraged to write a christmas list. She is the sweetest girl and often would have only two or three things on there. She asked for a spell book a couple of years ago. A real one! Last year she wanted a bell from Santas sleigh. Children just want the magic, who cares if they want a DS too. At least they are having magical time with there family and they are loved 🙂
Loving the four categories. We’re in year one, I think, of lists, and anyway, FC in our house brings not very much anyway (“proper” presents come from Mummy and Daddy) but I still think it’s a great way of managing expectations…
A letter to Father Christmas doesn’t put parents in debt, that’s just silly, I like the Christmas list rules.
Love the Christmas list guide, might use if for Isabelle, and there is no way we will not be writng to Father Christmas. It is part of Christmas traditions, and I agree it doesn’t have to mean that children should get everything on their lists. I always make sure I ask my daughter what would be the most amzing gift for her, and make sure she gets that one, and other bits, but no way she woudl be getting everything on the list, and I don’t feel pressurised. it is all up to the parents how they raise their children I believe.
Children love writing their list to Santa and getting a reply. They like to know if they are on a nice list. I agree it shouldn’t be a list of wants and my two aren’t at that stage anyway but they know we have to pay for the presents Santa gives him. x
I love the categories in the poster have pinned this to use with my own children when writing letters to Santa. Golly I wish I had explained to mine that I pay for what Santa brings – I wonder if it’s too late to introduce that idea? xx
How does the Mothers Union expect to enforce this ban? Do they really think all parents are incapable of saying no to their children?