Guest blogger Catherine De Bie has recently noticed a movement against Father Christmas amongst playgroup mums and dads, and believes the old chap in the red suit is not as welcome in the homes of the modern parent as he used to be. Take a look at her article to see why, and then let us know what you think!
I have noticed recently, amongst the play group mums and dads, a movement against Father Christmas. It seems as though the old chap in the red suit is not as welcome in the homes of the modern parent as he used to be. Comments such as “I don’t want to lie to my child” and “the idea of an old man wandering round the house at night is just a bit creepy” are used to justify why Santa is not featuring so highly in certain households.
I nod in agreement, after all they are pretty sound arguments. We want to lead by example so an outright lie like “there’s a magic red elf that brings you gifts”, seems wrong. We are also moving out of the age where threatening our children is also seen as wrong so you won’t find “be good or Santa won’t bring you any presents” in any parenting guide these days.
There is however one argument that I don’t agree with: “I want my children to be thankful to us for the presents”. I firmly believe that children should be brought up to have manners and to say thank you when they are given presents from other people, being thankful is not the issue. The problem I have with this argument is the need to be recognised for the sack full of presents at the end of the bed.
Father Christmas bringing a lot of gifts has its advantages. In today’s society of increased disposable income and the well-known “pester power” that watching any other channel other than Cbeebies can bring, I am finding my own rule of no gifts other than at birthdays or Christmas increasingly hard to maintain. If your children believe that you are not responsible for the stack of presents they receive on Christmas day it is easier to deflect that pestering, especially on the lead up to the big day. Constant cries of “I want, I want” can be brushed away with a “well, have you asked Father Christmas for it?”. When they finally meet up with the chap, only then will you get an idea about what it is they REALLY want – what has stuck in their heads rather than being asked for as it flashed across their field of vision.
To a child young enough to believe in Santa, the plethora of gifts they receive seems huge. If they know you are responsible for it then why can’t they have this every week? If Santa is responsible, and he’s only around at Christmas then that amount of shiny plastic can only be expected at Christmas. So for that I am prepared for my three year old not to be thankful to me. I’m not saying every gift should be from Santa. Aunties and grandparents are welcome to give their presents and receive a hug and a polite “thank you” in return, but the bulk of my daughter’s presents will be from Santa.
As you can tell, I feel strongly in favour of Santa and this was only reinforced for me last night when I encountered a little bit of magic… My husband was reading the bedtime story and I was settling down to a bit of TV when I heard some Christmas carols piped out of a public address system coming down the road.
Could it be?
Yes, the Rotary and Santa were driving slowly down our street. I was instantly transported back to my childhood, standing on the door step, wrapped in my mum’s coat, waiting for Father Christmas. Now, here I was, calling to my own daughter to hurry down quick, and wrapping her in my coat. It was so special to see her face as Father Christmas came down a dark street to ask her what she wanted and give her a sweet.
And that is another reason why Father Christmas will most definitely feature in our house, after all what more could you ask for at Christmas if not the excitement and wonder in a child’s eyes and a healthy dollop of nostalgia?
Written by Catherine De Bie