It took one look into my heartbroken first-grader’s brown eyes, the intense sparkle of pleasure changed with the brighter sparkle of tears. One look, and the belief got here crashing down on me: Santa doesn’t deal with all people the identical, and it was all of the sudden as much as me to elucidate why.
Let me preface the story by explaining that there have been no two methods about it — we have been broke. It had been a battle to have a Christmas in any respect that yr, however we’d made it work, cobbling collectively items and stocking stuffers for the youngsters with the assistance of thrift outlets and clearance gross sales, cut price bins and greenback shops. Fortunately, my 4 youngsters have been nonetheless little, and nonetheless glad with low-cost trinkets for essentially the most half.
The one costly factor they’d requested for was the most recent video gaming system that was the new new toy of that Christmas season — a Nintendo Wii, on the time, which was fully out of the query given our monetary state of affairs — however its absence beneath the tree didn’t appear to faze them. Santa had introduced them Matchbox vehicles and (imitation) NERF weapons and stickers and such, they usually fortunately performed with their new items all morning. Round lunch time, they went out to play with the neighbor youngsters, who have been round their ages. I bundled all of them up they usually ran eagerly into the chilly, clear day, anxious to swap Christmas morning tales with their mates. And that’s when the difficulty began.
It wasn’t lengthy earlier than my 6-year-old center son trudged into the home, his little shoulders drooping, and I might inform instantly that one thing had upset him. He was essentially the most tender-hearted of my youngsters, all the time feeling some form of large emotion, so I used to be used to consoling him about this or that. However after I appeared into his little face, I knew this wasn’t just a few foolish spat.
“We requested Santa for a Wii and he didn’t deliver us one,” he stated in a voice barely above a whisper. “However he introduced one to the neighbors. Why, Mother? Is it as a result of we have been dangerous?”
I froze, panicking inwardly, battling again the tide of my very own tears that threatened to make the second worse. Ought to I take advantage of this because the second he finds out that “Santa” is definitely simply dad and mom? The thought devastated me; Santa is so magical, and he nonetheless had many extra Christmases to imagine. Ought to I inform him Santa made a mistake? That possibly he delivered the Wii to the unsuitable home by chance?
What I actually wished to do was sob into his hair and say, “I’m so sorry we failed you, child. We tried. You’re such good boys, you by no means ask for a factor, you deserve a hundred Wiis. We simply couldn’t make it occur.” However I knew that was simply extra exhausting information for him to course of. So I did the one factor I felt was proper: I wrapped him tightly in my arms and tried to not sound as crushed as I felt. In essentially the most cheerful tone I might muster, I defined that Santa has so many youngsters to provide items to, and his elves can solely make so most of the most fascinating toys. I reassured him that he and his brothers completely have been good, and stated that typically it’s only a matter of getting fortunate … and that I used to be positive they’d be the fortunate ones subsequent yr. (After which resolved to get them what they wished subsequent Christmas, come hell or excessive water.)
I had by no means thought concerning the inequality of Santa till then, however it was a sobering wake-up name. As a result of, I noticed, there have been many extra youngsters on the market — even at my very own youngsters’ faculty — who might not have gotten a lot of something for Christmas. Not even the dollar-store and secondhand trinkets my youngsters have been fortunate sufficient to obtain. The information weighed on me, serious about the youngsters on the market who, yr after yr, needed to endure joyful proclamations of “Santa introduced me this” and “Santa introduced me that” from their mates and classmates. I’m not blaming these youngsters, after all; each youngster deserves to share completely happy information with their mates. However it made me extra cognizant of the place that completely happy information originated from, and what we might do to vary that so possibly it wouldn’t damage fairly a lot.
To make issues worse, just about each Christmas film and track which are ubiquitous this time of yr is about Santa granting vacation needs to the deserving. And if my very own youngster was questioning whether or not Santa’s present selection meant he’d been dangerous, what have been these different youngsters serious about themselves?
It’s been 9 years since that Christmas, and my son doesn’t even keep in mind the incident (I like to inform myself it’s as a result of I did an awesome job at explaining it, rendering it a mere blip on his radar). Lately, we’re lucky to not have to decide on between holding our utilities on and giving our youngsters a great Christmas. Lately, I can purchase their items new, and sometimes give them what they ask for.
However that Christmas modified the whole lot about the way in which our household does Santa. By no means once more was Santa Claus the one to deliver the “large” items; these have been from Mother and Dad. Santa’s position was simply to fill the stockings with little shock trinkets and sweet. And now that we’re capable of afford to, we all the time — as a household — do as a lot as we are able to to assist make another person’s Christmas magical. We’ve got an area group that arms out packing containers with toys and snacks and enjoyable issues for teenagers in want, and choosing out issues to fill these packing containers has develop into one in every of my youngsters’ favourite vacation traditions.
In the event you don’t know the place to start out, there are lists of unbelievable organizations that assist low-income households over the holidays. And if your loved ones is struggling financially and is in search of assist this vacation season, you might be able to get further items on your kiddos with the assistance of the USPS. Study extra HERE.
Certain, youngsters want to grasp that life just isn’t honest — however that’s a tough lesson to be taught. And Christmas, essentially the most magical season of the yr, just isn’t the time to be taught it. Not by a snub from the one man that youngsters are advised they’ll depend on to make their vacation desires a actuality.