It’s not too difficult to look at the awesome, yet crazy, toys that children nowadays play with; awesome because who knew these type of toys would have existed back then when I was a kid? and Crazy because who knew these type of toys would have existed back then when I was a kid!? I would have tossed my Atari 2600 to the side in a heart beat for the likes of a PSP, laptop or a 42″ LED TV 1080 Full HD 120 Hz.
Children of today tend to ask for our (by our I mean adults) dream toys and as parents, grandparents or any other type of sibling/friend, we tend to oblige. Children of today have won the award for having the best Christmas gift ever, but in the process have lost one crucial aspect of what made Christmas fun; Santa Claus.
Now I understand that Christmas doesn’t exist because of Santa Claus (I’m not here to discuss religion or politics), but as a kid I idolized the fact that all the gifts which appeared under the Christmas tree were brought by Santa Claus himself. Call me naïve, but when I was 9 years old my parents told me that they were going to meet with Santa Claus and they asked if I had any requests for him. My immediate response was “Yes!” I asked for Santa Claus to get me a “Return of the Jedi” Luke Skywalker, dressed in his Jedi wardrobe, action figure (for all those geeks like me, you know what I mean). Christmas came and did I get what I had asked for? – Heck yeah!!! Without a doubt, Santa Claus existed!
Fast-forward to our present time; I have a 8 year old daughter now and sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving I noticed that her belief of Santa Claus was either doubtful or borderline non-existent. In a way I blame the fact that kids have been overexposed to today’s technology and have had little, to no time to enjoy being a kid and play make-believe games. Their thought pattern feels more structured to the idea of “what is” and “what isn’t”.
My daughter was beginning to believe that the letter to Santa which kids were made to write was actually read by the parents and the gifts were then purchased and gift-wrapped by the parents without the involvement of Santa Claus. I honestly didn’t like that. In my mind, Christmas for a kid should be of having fun and believing the Santa Claus myth (I understand the social-economics factor, but birthdays and Christmas should never be stolen from a child).
Using technology to my advantage, I figured out a simple way to recreate Santa Claus. I told my daughter that because Santa and his elves are always busy, all parents made a duplicate copy of the letter which the kids had written to Santa Claus with the permitted purpose of assisting Santa in figuring out what each gift looked like. The process, as simple as it still sounds continued in this manner: using our cell phones, us parents take pictures of each item in the list and forward them to Santa Claus and his elves. This process will give the elves a solid idea of how exactly a certain toy or item looks like in order for them to make something similar to it and have Santa Claus deliver it to the kids.
Like I said, this is a really simple idea but it appears to have caught on with my daughter and my 7 year old nephew. While shopping at Wal-Mart and Target they asked me to take pictures of certain toys and forward the pictures to Santa Claus. They seemed excited about the notion and I just went along with it.
I’ve also have found myself having to shine new light to Santa’s existence when one of my sisters wrapped and placed a few gifts under my parent’s Christmas tree. My nephew was the first to notice that there were no “To:” names placed on the gifts. In a creative mental reflex, I explained that Santa Claus will purposely leave each gift nameless to avoid from having kids or adults try to peak into their respective gifts. I told my daughter and nephew that right before Christmas Santa will forward the parents a picture of each delivered gift and in the message he will advice who each present belongs to. Both of them nodded in agreement.
I took the process a step further though after that. Before any of the children could bring up the question as to why certain gifts don’t say – From: Santa – but instead read – From: (x person) – I explained to my daughter that Santa Claus tries his best to provide children with items listed on their Christmas list but with so many millions of children out there, he finds himself unable to provide everything to all. Enter the adults and the use of technology! I mentioned to my daughter that Santa will text parents and advice which gifts he will be unable to provide, this in turn allows parents and other adults the opportunity to also take part of the “Christmas spirit” by purchasing some of the gifts themselves and giving them on their behalf.
The final piece to the Santa Claus puzzle which I found myself re-creating was the explanation as to why gifts begin to appear under the Christmas tree days or even weeks before Christmas. I first reminded my daughter about adults buying the gifts which Santa would not be able to provide. Having already purchased the gifts, adults will tend to immediately wrap said gifts and place them under the tree. Of course this only explained the fully labeled gifts but not those partially labeled. I then told my daughter that in order for him to ensure that all presents are delivered on time, Santa will occasionally deliver gifts throughout the month of December and will not allow parents or other adults label those presents until he provides the go-ahead via text.
I know that this whole drawn out true story seems too simple, but I’m glad that it has worked for me. I’m going to try and milk this process for as long as my daughter’s young mind allows.
On a side note: Approximately 3 weeks ago, I took my daughter shopping and while doing so I noticed a man who was dressed up like Santa Claus. I turned to my daughter and pointed to the man in the Santa suit, “Look, who’s that?” She responded, “A fake!” She then turned around and walked away. I guess I’ll have to figure out a way to recreate the idea of the man in the Santa Claus suit for next year.