Re: Question for the Non-Santa Crew
We don't really celebrate Christmas, as I was raised Jewish and my husband didn't care too much about celebrating it. His parents do send some small Christmas gifts to our children, which is fine with me, but we definitely don't do a tree or decorations or anything. We celebrate a simplified Hanukkah and the children help light the candles and get gifts each night.
For me, knowing where the gifts come from is important because as they are now older, they can understand they we might not be able to get every single thing on their wish list just because they asked for it. I have never quite understood how parents tell kids that there is this magical Santa and then when he doesn't give them the pony they asked for how they explain that to them. We have always been able to have a pretty thorough discussion with the kids about what they want and what is reasonable to add to their wish list.
We also like to keep the surprise factor to some degree, so we usually buy a few gifts that we know that they would like but didn't put on their list. Or sometimes we buy a larger gift for the whole family (such as the time we bought a Wii system and games.)
I would think that the reasons for wanting children to know where the gifts came from might vary, but I think it is important for children to understand that the gifts are not limitless and easily replaceable and they should value what they get and show gratitude. I remember when I was younger I dated a guy for a while and he had much younger half siblings. We went to his dad's house for Christmas and they got the most presents I have ever seen in my life. It looked like a Toys R Us in their living room. And still the kids were saying things like, "I didn't put this on my list. This isn't the one I wanted!" and didn't say thank you or seem very excited about any of it. It made me really sad. And if I was the parent, I think I would have been disappointed and frustrated that my efforts were so unappreciated. I would imagine that if the children knew where the presents came from, they would have been more polite about it. Since Santa wasn't there in the room, they didn't have to worry about offending him, right?
Mama to M 11/01
and B 2/11