Santa as a Discipline Tactic

The innocence of childhood means you can tell your children literally anything and they will believe  you.  (Suckers!)  In some ways it is a right of passage, your parents lied to  you, their parents lied to them, and now it is your turn.  Tricking your kids to believing in a fat, jolly, white-beared man who rides in on a sleigh and somehow squeezes his big ol’ butt down a chimney to deliver presents, is now your job as a parent.  I was conflicted about whether or not to continue this tradition with my kids because I felt a little uneasy saying, “Santa is going to give you toys,” and “you better be a good boy, you don’t want to be on the naughty list.”  Once I realized that I can use this as a discipline tactic, my qualms quickly vanished.  Common sayings in my household this holiday season have been, “pick up your toys or Santa isn’t going to bring you anymore,”  “Don’t you want to be a good boy?  I guess I need to call Santa and tell him not to bring you anything,” and “be nice to your sister, Santa knows if you are being naughty or nice.”  Another usage I have found for the whole Santa fiasco is that I have been able to get out of the store without the usual whining and temper tantrum scenes after I tell my son he can’t have a toy.  Every freaking time we go to the store, he thinks he will get a toy, and when he realizes that Mommy isn’t buying that, he will scream and try to jump out of the cart.  Now, thanks to Santa,  I tell him that we can’t buy him anymore toys right now because Santa is going to bring him toys for Christmas.  If we buy him a toy now, Santa will have to take his toys back.  It works like a charm!  My darling son will just say, “Oh, ok Mommy, I get it.”  Then I pat myself on the back, pause, then start thinking that maybe he is really saying ok Mommy, I get it, you are screwing with me.  I’ll get you back one day.  Hahaha!  Then my senses come to me, not my sweet son, he wouldn’t think such a thing,no way!  I just don’t know what I am going to do when Christmas is over.  How am I going to get out of buying him that millionth car that he just has to have so he can take the wheels off and tell me that he broke it?  Or another train that he likes to get so he can lose it and tell me a lion took it?  His birthday is in March, so I can probably use the same tactic as that approaches, but what will I do before then?  Just tell him “no” like the good ol’ days and then remind myself that this is why duck tape was invented?  Well, I know that once I see the light in my kid’s eyes as they open their presents, all my uptightness will go away (for the moment) and will see how the whole rush and stress of the holidays is all worth it.  I can’t wait to see the glitter in their eyes as we look in the sky to see if Santa and his reindeer are up there.  Later coming back to the house after looking at Christmas lights to see a half eaten cookie, a little milk spilled on the table (Santa’s a little slob ain’t he?), and presents left for the kiddies, all to see the amazement on their faces will be priceless.  I guess I need to sit back and enjoy all the wonderment that is Christmas and if for only because of the joy it brings my kids.  Seeing their cute little faces smile and laugh is worth everything.  So before Santa is ruined for them, most likely by another kid like it was for me, I’ll embrace the holiday, Santa and all. Hang in there everyone, and have a very jolly, drama-free (hahahaha) MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

How are you surviving the holidays?  Do you use Santa to keep your kids in line?  Tell me!

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Reminder to Self: Don’t Forget to Enjoy the Holidays

This is easier said than done.  Through all the hustle, bustle, and stress of the holidays, I have to stop and remind myself what this whole season is about.  It isn’t about how I am going to stretch my money to buy gifts, what desserts to bake because I can’t make up my mind, the million presents I want to buy kids, being stuck in traffic because I decided to go to that store that was having the big sale for toys, waiting in a mile long line at the store, trying to find that stupid coupon so I can get an extra 20% off, or feeling guilty about not being able to buy for everyone.  Yes, those are a part of the season, but they shouldn’t be what takes over the true purpose of the holidays.  What makes Christmas, Christmas, is different for everyone, but I think it all centers on the same things:  family, love, giving, food, and music.  For me, Christmas means seeing the amazement on my children’s faces as they open up their gifts, the “oh wows” as we go around looking at Christmas lights,   sitting down with family for a delicious meal, drinking hot cocoa by the fireplace, smacking down on cherry crisp with a dollop of ice cream, snuggling under a blanket with my kids and husband as we watch Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, and putting my kids in their fuzzy, cozy, warm Santa pajamas.  Allowing myself to get overwhelmed takes away from the joy and good that this season brings.  It is a time for community and spending quality time with family and friends.  It is a time to slow down and be thankful for all that we have, even though at times it reminds us of what we don’t have.  It reminds me of the money I don’t have, the family and friends that I am apart from and miss dearly, and my grandparents who have passed away.  Then I try to focus and appreciate on what I do have:  a supportive and hardworking husband who loves me, two beautiful and healthy children who are the light of my life, my health, a roof over my head, food in my belly, the opportunity to stay at home and go to college, and a wonderful support system of family and friends.  Life is about making memories and the times we have enjoyed with each other.  It isn’t about the material things, I don’t even remember what I received last year for Christmas, but what I do remember is the warmth and joy that I felt from the people I was around.  My son loves getting new toys and my girl loves to get stickers and dolls, but what I know they love more is being cuddled and kissed and being silly with them.  So when the holidays start to stress me out and I worry about what gift to buy, I need to remind myself that the best and greatest gift I can give is my time and love.  Of course, this only applies to me, so I’ll still expect a bunch of lavish and expensive gifts from everyone else, mmmmmkay? 


So what stresses you out about the holidays?  What are the things you enjoy about the season?  I would love to know!

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