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Santa Will Never Bring Our Kids Big Gifts

Photograph by Twenty20

The holidays are a time for traditions, and one tradition our family has taken on has to do with Santa and giving—and it's helping us deal with a common problem.

As my kids grew out of the baby and toddler stage, they became much more aware about everything—including Christmas. Aware and full of questions. One question that came up every holiday season would always break my heart. It’s the question of how come Santa gifts some children with iPads, those coveted ride-on electric cars and other extravagant gifts while others simply get book, a hat or simple toys from the jolly ol’ Saint Nick. It’s a question that may even cause a child to wonder, "Was I not good enough this year?"

I love Christmas and enjoy going a little overboard with gifts when I can, but I believe it's important to make sure that the big gifts are from Mom and Dad, or someone other than Santa. Obviously, every family is different and should to do what works best for them. I’m just pointing out that the homes where Santa goes overboard with expensive gifts can make it difficult for those who can’t afford to do the same. After all, should Santa really be the type of character who discriminates?

Life isn’t fair and there will always be those who have more than others, but that’s not a lesson I want my kids to learn from Santa.

The idea of the traditional Santa is that his elves make toys such as trains, dolls and simple board games. It's hard to imagine Santa's elves putting together a PlayStation 4—and do we really need to try to explain that? Isn't it easier to have those types of presents not be from Santa?

Santa brings our kids board games, wooden trucks, action figures and books. One year my son wanted a "bat bot." It was one of the hot toys that year—the kind that takes you an exhausting amount of phone calls to track down—and it cost a lot more than a gift we would typically buy, so we signed the tag "From Mom and Dad." Santa wasn't taking credit for that one.

My kids will still ask me why Santa gives some toys to certain kids and not others, and when it's something over-the-top, I have no problem telling them that Santa gets help from the parents. Life isn’t fair and there will always be those who have more than others, but that’s not a lesson I want my kids to learn from Santa. Instead, I want them to enjoy the magic of childhood and to learn the joy of giving to others—which is really what Christmas is all about.

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