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It's not so hard to think of other children this Christmas [Dec. 1st, 2010|11:09 am]
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Most of you know I'm a working Santa. It's a job I love. People seem to expect the kids to be horrors, but in fact they're mostly pretty great. But the problem is the inequality.

Every year I'll get children through who want a single item for Christmas - a doll, or a game, or a truck - and I'll get the ones with lists that would challenge the carrying capacity of a Mack truck. The thing is, this often reflects their expectations of what they'll get for Christmas.

And of course, the kids are told that Father Christmas has brought most of their presents.

So after Christmas, when the kids are talking about what they got, you end up with one child who got a single small gift from St. Nick, while another talks about their new trampoline, gaming system, bike, remote controlled toy... all of which are also presents from Santa.

While that's lovely for those that get lots, it leaves any number of other children regarding their one or two gifts, and wondering why Santa doesn't like them as much. And that's without taking into account the children who won't get any presents at Christmas.

I'm not saying that if you can afford to buy your child lots of presents, and you want to, that you shouldn't. And I'm not asking everyone to go out and buy a raft-load of toys for the various charities that pass them on to the people who can't afford to buy things for their children, though that'd be nice.

All I'm asking people to do is to just pick one, not the biggest, or most expensive, and say that's the special gift that Santa has brought for them. If you want, tell them that you bought the other presents, and asked Father Christmas to deliver them especially, but please, don't let them think that every parcel is a personal gift to them from St. Nick.

Chances are it won't make that much difference to your child, but after Christmas it will hopefully help any number of other kids feel like Santa isn't playing favourites, or wondering why he doesn't like them.

[User Picture]From: ghoath
2010-12-01 12:40 am (UTC)
If we got a big present that we had negotiated with our parents for, or had been with them every week when they paid the lay-by, we considered this to be a present from them, and not brought by santa.

My parents would also do the stocking filler presents, to make it look like we had lots. This was chocolates, lollies, and cheapy toys from Cost Plus like flashing swords, water pistols etc.

There were some years when we only got the cheapy presents from WA Salvage but we were happy as our stockings were full of things we could play with all day. My parents who were both educators explained to me since that they felt it more constructive for us to have a variety of things we could share and go between all day, rather than getting into fights about one item, or getting bored with one game.

But we considered the fact that our stockings were full and that Santa had brought us gifts to be the real reward. As kids don't have a concept of monetory value, they're not going to appreciate one big gift, they'll remember lots of scmall gifts much more. I have no problem that my parents may have spent no more than $50 on us each some years, but we had fun, and that's what Christmas was all about. It wasn't about trying to score anything big, it was about having fun.

It's a bit fraudulant of particularly older kids that they tell their less well off friends that Santa brought them an Xbox.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2010-12-01 01:03 am (UTC)
I like gifts that get the kids to use their imaginations, rather than things that have them sitting there like lumps.

Lex and I were just playing with his wooden blocks. Halfway through, we each picked up a long one, held it to our ears like a telephone, and had a conversation.

Expensive toys, especially expensive toys that market themselves as educational, are rarely that good. We had Lex liking several verses of Old McDonald's farm, then someone gave him an electronic stuffed cow that promoted itself as educational - it sang one verse of Old McDonald, the cow one. After that, it took ages to get Lex to want any verse that wasn't the cow one.

Sorry, that's all a bit random, but yeah, a mix of assorted small and interesting things are much better than a couple of big presents.
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[User Picture]From: ghoath
2010-12-01 04:11 am (UTC)
yep, agree with all of that.
Also, these electronic toys that claim to give you feedback from actions, are only just an electronic feedback. They don't teach kids things like pressure, amount of force to put on something. They also don't teach kids to explore, because there are never any unintended consequences of use.
As such, a toy whereby you just press a button, has far less things to explore.
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