You know the situation.
Your 6-year old writes a letter to Santa. Your 6-year old ‘mails’ the letter to the North Pole. You steal the letter in question from the mailbox and read the cute kindergarten handwriting.
Uh-oh. Wait a minute. He wants a what? How much is THAT anyway? And… is it really meant for a 6-year old? That’s where the conundrum begins. If you try to explain this gift costs too much money, they’ve got you with the Santa Dilemma! “But Mom? Santa can make it. He doesn’t need to buy it!”
Right? Now what? GalTime asked parents to help us solve this familiar situation. Here are the best of their tips.
1. The older sibling strategy. Convince a sister or brother to have a talk with the younger kid about why Santa can’t bring that item, suggesting a different/less expensive/age-appropriate gift?
2. Use your ‘Elf on the Shelf’ to do your dirty work. Jennifer Leal says, “Our Elf talks to me if Santa has an urgent message, you can say the elf said Santa thinks that item is only for older kids.”
3. Go talk to the Mall Santa. Sneakily explain to him your dilemma first and ask him to suggest plan B.
4. Use the “Santa is over 300-years old” excuse. Tell kids he doesn’t always remember your requests, but he will do his best.
5. Use technology to your advantage. Text yourself a response from Santa or send an email or Facebook message. “Create a custom YouTube Video response on Portable North Pole website”, suggests Emily Vanek.
6. Tell the child that the world is a crowded place. Explain that delivering to 5 billion people is a lot of work in one night and when he gets to your chimney, you might have to “get what you get and not throw a fit”.
7. Discuss that families with less money need to get more from Santa.Appeal to their giving nature and hope they understand.
8. Explain that Mommy is the boss of Santa, or at least are allies.Tell the child that Santa and parents discuss and determine what toy or toys are best. “We always tell our kids that we have veto power on anything Santa brings. So if it is something we don’t want them to have, he won’t bring it,” Brenda Wilson told us.
9. Santa will choose the best option. Remind kids he knows them and he knows what they will like best.
10. Always have a back-up gift: “Tell the child Santa needs a whole list to choose from and Santa TRIES to get at least one thing on the list per child, but no matter what, we need to be grateful if we get anything at all!” Jennifer Quinn advises.
11. Explain it in Santa’s handwriting. Leave a note under the tree from the big guy on Christmas morning explaining how this gift will be much better than the requested one.
12. If all else fails tell them to go ask grandpa how it works! Either the grandparents will help out with the finances or they will help your kid understand the logistics (or like my dad, suggests you go ask the OTHER grandpa).
13. Start early and downplay Santa in your traditions. “Santa only fills stockings at our house. He doesn’t bring gifts. That way the kids have someone to thank for their gifts and know that mom and dad pay for the gifts they do receive. It has worked great for us for the past 18 years.” shared mom Lori F.
14. There’s the budget issue: “We had this exact situation this year. My daughter asked for a Power Wheels Mustang for Christmas. I couldn’t find one for less than $309 and came up empty on Craigslist. In the end, I told her that Santa only has a certain amount of money for each family,” confessed Tara Ziegmont.
15. Send a pre-emptive warning from Santa: “When our kids wouldn’t listen last year, Santa sent them a warning letter (left it on the tree). I even found a Santa stationary printable. You could use my evil plan for good, too. He could write to say he needs more ideas since that toy is for an older kid,” shared Kelby Carr.
Fair warning: Be careful how detailed you get with your Santa story because the next year you might get stuck in a new conundrum.