Today was the big day. The day the kids would meet Santa and place their requests with the very best of manners. With a chaotic and overbooked diary the few weeks before Christmas, we were a little organised this year and got in early. Before I continue my story can I just say, that was the best decision ever. As I cram in my Christmas shopping on my kid free days now and walk past the Santa rep in the shopping centres, I actually get sympathetic panic attacks for all the parents in the three mile long line. This year we had decided to see Santa the week after he arrived in the shops. This way he had some time to settle into his chair otherwise know as letting all the VERY eager and organised ones go first.
We arrived at the shopping centre on a Saturday at 11am. I did start to think that was a little bit stupid considering the time being prime kid time, before naps and lunch and not to mention the fact that it was a Saturday. However, we were surprised to find only two families in front of us and a very jolly Santa. Score! I quickly reminded my kids to use their manners if they want anything from Santa this year and not be silly like the boy in front was doing. Gosh I almost love when other kids play up so I can use them as examples of what not to even dare try with me.
As Jack and Eva walked over to Santa, Franklin had obviously been distracted by the lights and trees when suddenly he got a glimpse of whose lap he was been put on and clawed at me like a woman in labour. Now usually the funniest kind of photos are the ones where there are a few tears but this year was different. Eva for the first time was happy be within a metre of Santa to sit and talk to him so I decided Franklin wasn't going to ruin that for her this year. It was Jack's turn to go first being the oldest and he talked about his year in year 1 and chose three things he had done that deserved him a spot on the nice list. With the loveliest of manners he asked Santa for a skateboard; Lord help me with a year of no broken bones! It was finally Eva's turn after singing a few Christmas songs and with all her nails bitten off from the anxiety of waiting she blurted it out before Santa had even asked the question. Santa looked up at me and we were as surprised and anxious as each other. "I would like a trumpet please Santa so I can join a brass band."
I have nothing against trumpet players or brass bands but where on earth did that idea come from and where in the world was I supposed to get a trumpet from? Did she even know what she was asking for? I looked at Santa with pleading eyes whilst biting my lip to help me out a little here and thankfully he came through for me. He would consider her request and if the elves weren't able to make one in time, he would send her a letter to ask for something else.
Eva's present request went immediately to the bottom of my list because I needed time to think that one through and see what I could find. Our Santa visit was over, our Christmas tree and home decorations were put up and life went on getting ready for the end of the year.
As I recalled this story to friends, many were surprised at how my kids only asked Santa for one thing. I was just as surprised by their comment. I had always told my kids and they have seen it in stories and movies that Santa has one night to give all the children across the world their present from him. From Santa, you get just one special present and generally the one you ask him for. It seemed logical for my kids to understand that is was only fair every child got one present from Santa because firstly, he had to carry them on his sleigh and secondly, why should they get one present and another kid get twenty? Thankfully when my children questioned the fact that their friends had asked Santa for more than one gift, I was able to tell them he would probably pick the one best suited for them.
So I thought I would share what our little family's tradition is if you are looking to start one or kind of never really thought about it and want to adopt ours. I do like ours because I know each year I don't ever go overboard, which is so easy to do as you get caught up in the business of the season, forgetting what you had bought in the mid year sales or what your budget is. I will go more into our Christmas traditions in my next blog and will list below our present system. I have also seen another one floating around Facebook and Pinterest that friends have shared, which I like as well so will pop that in the blog also.
So here is ours
1. A present from Santa - This is wrapped in special Santa paper and put under the tree the night of Christmas Eve when Santa comes to visit. This is also what the children ask Santa for, for example a trumpet!
2. A present from Mummy and Daddy - This is wrapped and put under the tree when I get around to wrapping it. Sometimes these presents are requested by my kids so they know what it is. Jack has asked for a new pair of sneakers and knows they are currently sitting under the tree but will be just as excited to open them.
3. A present to share - This is something like a game or the one off special years when they get a trampoline or the 'big' kind of presents. Santa can also sometimes play a part in this one to help us out a bit.
4. A present from each other - A favourite of mine when I take out each of my kids by themselves and they choose something small for their siblings. They really love doing this and it always melts my heart how much effort and thought they put into this. Jack spent a good twenty minutes searching through the catalogue to choose something for Eva and picked her a new purse. This special present also goes into their stocking with a little chocolate or treat.
4. A present for another child - This is one my kids get very excited about because they love helping and giving. Our church does an appeal for people to bring in toys for children so they can help parents out who can't afford to buy their own children gifts. You don't have to find a church to be part of something like this as most shopping centres and charities will do the same. We decided that each year the children would choose a toy for another child their own age. This year Jack chose a football, Franklin some Lego and Eva picked a Shopkin's set as that is something she loves. We talked with them about how many Mummies and Daddies can't afford to buy their children presents because they have to pay for some many other important things. I can't help but be so proud to watch my children take so much thought and care into choosing a present for someone they will never meet.
5. A book - My kid's final present apart from special gifts from grandparents and aunties and uncles. We love books and even though I buy them all year, I just really like having books wrapped under the tree. I guess maybe that's the teacher in me!
So there is my list and it's the same every year and will be in the future. I feel like our little tradition helps our children to learn to receive with a grateful heart and to give joyously, which for our family values is hugely important.
Coming up on The Realistic Mum I share our Christmas traditions and getting ready for the holiday break. In January 2016 don't miss out on my going back to school tips and getting ready for school blog. This is a must read for all you new parents entering the school season!
© The Realistic Mum
P.s I have just released my new children's picture book 'Look At The Clouds, What Can You See?' as an animated iBook on iTunes. I'm selling it for the low price of $2.99 (aud) so grab yourself a copy and enjoy. Click on the linked title above to own your copy x