When Kids Ask for the Impossible...in Their Stockings

A "real-life Santa" and etiquette guru bring tips for gift-givers

Monday, December 06, 2010

What would you do if a child sincerely asked you for something impossible? That's the situation Santa (and helpers) faces every year, as well as many parents. It's sometimes hard for parents to meet the most extreme requests for gifts... but it's always hard to disappoint one's kids. We get a personal story from Kim Hamilton, Takeaway listener from Lubbock, Texas, and mother of a four-year-old boy with high Christmas gift hopes.

We're also joined by Santa Claus, a.k.a. Ed Butchart, who is the author of: "The Red Suit Diaries: A Real-Life Santa on Hopes, Dreams, and Childlike Faith,” and “More Pages from the Red Suit Diaries: A Real-Life Santa Shares Hopes, Dreams, and Childlike Faith.” He’s performed Santa duties at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia for almost twenty years.


Kim Hamilton

Produced by:

Elizabeth Ross

Comments [6]

Samuel Landsman, Ph.D. from Syoset, NY

I'm sympathetic with many of the reasons parents gave in the story for being conflicted about disappointing children who ask for gifts from Santa Clause--but not the idea that they want their children to "dream big." To me, "dreaming big" should not be about what you can own, but about what you can do, what you can work to achieve. I see no benefit in teaching children that they are entitled to whatever they want simply because they want it, the bigger the better. Much of the blame for the wreck of our economy can be put to spending by adults who never learned to stop believing in Santa Clause.

Dec. 10 2010 06:31 PM

It seems to me that in Kim's case her answer is easy since her son wanted a bike first--just have a note from "Santa" with the bike: "Dear so-and-so, I heard you wanted a bike and a police car. I thought you might enjoy the bike more in the end because you can ride it more places and will be able to use it for longer than you might fit in the police car. Love, Santa." End of story. For other kids, the solution might well be, "Dear so-and-so, I'm sorry you didn't get the [X] you wanted, but we can't always get what we want and when you are older, you will understand." (When they are older, they will get that "Santa" is Mom and/or Dad, and that "Santa" couldn't afford it, and if they're even remotely decent people, they'll accept that even if it is still disappointing)

(To be honest with you, I was half afraid at first that she was going to say he wanted an iPhone or a Wii or something.)

Dec. 06 2010 07:11 PM

The best solution is to not lie about Santa in the first place. My daughter is 4 and knows Santa is not real and she has known this since her 1st Christmas. Honesty is a great gift they will appreciate far more than materialistic its as they grow older. We still celebrate and even go see Santa at the mall but she knows we get her gifts.

Dec. 06 2010 11:14 AM
Andrea Pollak from Scarsdale NY

Parents need to just BE parents. This is a great teaching moment. I would say to the child that we had to let Santa know that we don't approve of this gift, it's too expensive. And Santa never would go against a parent's wishes.

We are not the hostage of our chidren's inappropriate wishes..no guilt. End of story!

Dec. 06 2010 09:04 AM
Grinch from USA

I think that parents should do what the US government does - just borrow the money to give the kids whatever they want. Then let their grandchildren pay for it.

Dec. 06 2010 08:56 AM
Patricia from FH

Why don't we gear our children towards the true meaning of Christmas - the birth of Jesus.

Yes, it's wonderful to give and receive gifts but we've come too far from the real reason for Chistmas.

Dec. 06 2010 08:01 AM

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