Telling the kids Santa can’t bring them everything they want

Santa can't always bring you everything

Santa can't always bring you everything - Credit: Archant

There is going to be some disappointment in our house on Christmas morning.

There is going to be some disappointment in our house on Christmas morning.

I have told the children a thousand times that Father Christmas can not deliver absolutely everything they want.

And yet my son believes its entirely possible that the big guy can bring him “magic powers” while my daughter is adamant that a credit card would be a suitable gift for her stocking.

Last year, in order to avoid a major anticlimax on December 25th, we had to explain at great length the rules surrounding the commercial movement of live animals inside the European Union.

After extensive research we were able to inform our kids that you could only transport animals of different species if each were in a trailer of its own.

This meant that if every child were like our daughter – who was “desperate for a hamster” - poor Santa would have a lot of paperwork to fill out and a sleigh weighed down with pets.

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It took some convincing but she finally conceded that this was asking a lot of poor St Nick who already had an arduous mission to carry out on Christmas Eve.

“I suppose if Santa had to have all those trailers attached to his sleigh to carry all the different animals he wouldn’t have room to land outside our house because of all the parked cars anyway,” she sighed.

This year – after explaining to our son that magic powers were only reserved for superheros - my son came up with some more improbable and frankly downright bizarre suggestions.

A week or so ago he sidled up to where I was feeding his baby brother, clutching a piece of paper with mostly illegible scribbling in red ink daubed across it.

“Here is my very final Christmas list for Santa,” he said proudly. “Should I put it by the fireplace?”

“Yes,” I replied. “But first can you read it out to me?”

If I couldn’t decipher his handwriting, how would I be able to pass on word to Santa?

Besides which, I still remember the horror on my own parents’ faces in 1988 when my then six-year-old sister declared at 4pm on the 24th all she wanted was an ironing board and she hadn’t mentioned it before because: “Duh! I told Santa all about it when he visited our school.”

My son cleared his throat and began reading - I braced myself for a long conversation about why Grand Theft Auto, a drum kit and a Rolex were not suitable gifts for a five-year-old.

But as he began I was pleasantly surprised: “A new cuddly monkey … a ticket to see the new Star Wars movie … a football … some police tape …”

“Wait, wait, wait …” I interjected. “What tape?”

“Police tape – like the police put around buildings after robbers have been in.”

I had a brief moment of panic at the thought of all the mischief he could get up to with some police tape.

“Erm – no. Santa won’t be delivering police tape,” I said quickly, blanching.

I dealt with the onslaught of tears by telling myself it was better he dealt with the disappointment now.

Most of us have to wait until the big day and try to mask it in front of a big audience of friends and family.

One recent survey suggested only 10% of adults were fully satisfied with what they received the previous Christmas.

I’m one of these.

But that’s hardly surprising.

After all, I can tell myself “it’s the thought that counts” until I’m blue in the face but the gifts my husband buys are enough to make even the most saintly see red.

To be fair, he puts the effort in. I’ve witnessed him poring over the internet searching for the perfect gift. And yet, come Christmas morning, even though I have been dropping hints about rose gold earrings for six months I am presented with a new kettle.

I stopped trying to be polite years ago.

Now I simply ask for the receipts and head into town on Boxing Day.

Another recent survey revealed that 96% of people would rather pretend they liked a gift than tell the truth. They have clearly never received anything from my husband.

Besides which I have never been very good at lying.

Experts at Psychology Today have mapped out some of the skills the best liars display – and I may try these top tips this year when I unwrap yet another bottle of cheap perfume that brings me out in a rash.

Firstly, keep eye contact. Looking into someone’s eyes is an intimate thing to do and using the technique when you say “thank you” screams sincerity.

Second, bolster your thanks with a story.

So, for example: “I was just saying to mum how much I needed a new iron.”

And finally, back up your story with more praise.

Try those super-bright socks on and get feedback – push the lies on to others.

Last night over dinner, after tentatively sounding out the other half about whether he had yet purchased the GHD hair straighteners I’ve been after (he hasn’t), we had a good laugh about the police tape incident.

“What do you think he was planning to do with it?” I asked. “Close his school indefinitely? Declare Granny’s house a murder scene? Tape off the playground so only he and his friends can access it?”

“Ask him,” my husband said.

So over breakfast this morning, I did.

“I wanted it for next Christmas,” he said, mouth full of cornflakes.

“Next Christmas?” I was puzzled.

“Yes – I want to cordon off the street to stop people parking on it on Christmas Eve.”

I looked at my husband who was equally confused: “Why can’t people park here on Christmas Eve.”

“Because next year I am asking for a hamster and Santa will need the extra room for all those trailers.”

From across the kitchen table, my daughter’s eyes lit up.

Merry Christmas – I hope you get everything you asked for, unless you wanted police tape.

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