Dear Santa – What’s on the Christmas List This Year

Dear Santa – What’s on the Christmas List This Year

By Vanessa Beddoe-Sandstrom

Yesterday I discovered a letter to Santa at the bottom of my son’s school bag. The envelope has been artfully decorated with a five-legged reindeer and a lovingly drawn Santa (at least I think it was Santa – on second thoughts it could be a red kumara).

Thankfully the letter had escaped the soggy bits of old orange peel and emaciated crusts from long-forgotten sandwiches that linger in the bottom of his schoolbag. It read:
“Dear Santa
Can I please have a Xbox 360. I also want a jar of biscits. Thank you.”
Well I know I’m good for a jar of biscuits, but sadly he’s going to be disappointed on the Xbox front. Especially after I asked my 6-year-old what an Xbox 360 was and he admitted that he didn’t really know. 
I get far too worked up on choosing the right type and amount of gifts at Christmas. I don’t want to spoil them, but I don’t want them to feel like they’ve not been spoiled either. Last year my children had a ridiculous number of gifts to open. I’d been so stressed trying to make sure I’d ticked all the boxes that I didn’t consider all the other gifts from grandparents and friends. 
I have to admit to being a bit disgusted and disappointed at the crazy glint in their eyes as they tore open the paper, briefly looked at the lovingly chosen gift and then roamed their eyes looking for the next present to open. To them, it was all about quantity – and I couldn’t even tell you what 90% of the gifts were, because most never made it onto their regular playlist. And it was really all my fault.
This year, in the interest of the environment, my bank balance, and my children developing into nice grown ups, I’m making a significant decrease in the amount of gifts that Santa will be leaving under the tree. Sure, they’ll be a little disappointed that there’s not a bigger haul, but in the long run I think they’ll enjoy the day more because they’ll be able to focus on the few items they unwrap instead of losing half of them under the sofa on Christmas morning. 
In addition to a tree house that we’re building ourselves out of old pallets and macrocarpa (and gifts from friends/rellies), the kids will have the following to open from Mum and Dad on Christmas morning:
Master 6: Optimus Maximus Prime, a basketball, and an alien design drink bottle 
Master 3: A wooden pirate ship and pirate, and a rocket design drink bottle 
Miss 10mths: A drink bottle and some bunting (she doesn’t know any better, so may as well get away with it while I still can)
So, what I want to know is, am I being a bit mean and turning into one of those “back when I were a lass I was happy with a lump of coal” type people? What if the neighbour’s kids get loads more?  I do feel strongly that it’s in my kids’ best interest to reduce the excess at Christmas, so I guess if we take the hit this year they won’t expect so much in subsequent years. And hopefully they’ll be more grateful for what they do get, and the love and time we’ve spent choosing it.
What are you giving your kids for Christmas and how many presents do they usually get to open?


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