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Santa shouldn’t bring a lot, let the gifts come from you.
Christmas morning is an exciting time for parents and kids alike. You wake up (earlier than you want), and go to the Christmas tree to find gifts for the entire family underneath. You spend the time opening gifts and enjoying a slow and exciting morning. You probably eat breakfast at some point, but it’s usually not first thing in the morning. You’re putting toys together and opening boxes and other activities.
While Christmas itself may be a bit calm, the days leading up to Christmas are often fraught with buying gifts, getting them all wrapped, making sure everything is prepared, and simply lots of planning. This can often be extremely stressful for those involved, and can make Christmas seem like it’s too crazy. If you’re feeling this way, then you need to take a step back and figure out how to make Christmas less stressful.
Probably the simplest way to simplify Christmas is to lessen how many gifts the big man himself is bringing. Part of the problem with Santa is that you have to keep every gift a big secret. While it’s nice to keep gifts a secret for the surprise aspect, it can also be extremely stressful to try to keep them a secret as you’re trying to play the Santa Claus game. There’s really no reason that it needs to be that way.
Ideally, Santa is bringing one gift to each child/person in the household, and all other gifts are coming from other family members in the home. While the idea of Santa is fun, it also makes kids less grateful to those who are actually getting the gifts for them. They think that Santa can bring whatever they want - they don’t understand that Santa also has a budget that he has to fit things into.
By having Santa bring only one gift, you’re able to more reasonably keep the number of gifts for your kids to a respectable number. You’re not buying 15 gifts per kid, and if you are then you’ve budgeted for it and your child knows that it’s you getting those gifts, and not some mystical man in a red suit. If Santa has a gift limit, then your child won’t expect 10 items every year from Santa - they’ll expect one. This leaves you to fill in with a few gifts that your child also wants.
If you don’t think that one gift is sufficient (for whatever reason), you can also have the stocking be filled up by Santa as well. This means that your child gets one gift and a stocking full of stuff every single year from Santa and that’s it. There’s no reason for your child to expect more and you shouldn’t be setting that expectation with them. Set the expectation early on for how many gifts Santa brings.
Furthermore, there’s really no reason that Santa even has to be involved in your Christmas. If you choose not to use Santa as part of your gift giving and receiving experience, there’s no issue with that. Children really should learn to be grateful for the sacrifices that you must make in order to get them gifts for Christmas, and removing Santa completely from the equation allows you to do that.
Christmas is meant to be an enjoyable experience that you spend with your loved ones and family. Don’t make it worse by trying to buy dozens of gifts that Santa will bring. You’ll just spoil your kids far too much. Teach them to be grateful for what they receive and give those gifts yourself. Your kids will still be just as happy with them whether they come from you or from Santa.
Make Christmas a special day each year spent together. Don’t overdo the gifts, but focus on the time you have together.