I clearly remember waking up on Christmas morning and rushing to see what sort of haul Santa had left. Big toys, junk food, usually some clothing, it never failed. Going back to school brought stories of what other kids got and I remember hearing about kids who got more and wondered why Santa deemed them better behaved. So obviously I was a spoiled brat.
My childhood was one example after another of privilege. There is nothing about my upbringing that I can complain about as I look back. Plenty I could whine about at the time, because I was spoiled and ungrateful. I was aware not everyone had things as good as I did, but they were not people I thought about on the regular.
Now that I'm in charge of someone's childhood, I'm trying to make him more mindful of things that might help him grow into a caring person. One of the ways I'm doing this is by keeping Santa from going overboard. The jolly old elf and I had a good sit down, despite the looks from mall employees and parents waiting in line with their kids. We talked about how my husband and I have the toys and big gifts covered for the holiday, but he is welcome to fill a stocking with small goodies for my little guy. Later I had a similar talk with my son to let him know that Santa will be taking care of his stocking, but he can let me know what is on his gift list. He questioned this, but when I explained that sometimes moms and dads do more of the gift work so Santa can work more to help families who need it, he was ok.
He doesn't know this yet, but my guy is going to get to help Santa out as well this year. We are going to get an angel tree name, and he is going to shop for a kid his age. I foresee this as a double win because he loves shopping for gifts, and it will give me insight into what he wants, since he has yet to share that with me.
I share all of this, not to shame the kids who Santa does go big for, but to make parents aware that Santa could use some help from them as well. Think about letting Santa be in charge of a smaller gift, while the big ones come from you. And let the season be about giving and not about receiving the most on Christmas morning. Kids love to give, so encourage them.