Tell Santa not to come

OPINION PIECE

It was the carrots that did it. Up until then I had created the fun-filled and imaginary story of Santa for my two-and-a-half-year-old.

I told her every Christmas he came to leave presents for all the kids — if they had been good.

It worked really well. The amount of asparagus and broccoli eaten in our house increased significantly.

Even a picture of Santa with my fake Santa voice worked and got her to do stuff.

I couldn’t believe it. I skipped for joy thinking I had this one in the bag, “Oh what a marvellous time of year,” I sang as Olive munched her vegetables earnestly.

But on Christmas Eve, as I was putting the good little rascal to bed, I remembered we had to leave carrots for the reindeer and a glass of milk for Santa. As I carried carrots to the lounge, the tiny one absolutely lost it. Like, really fell to pieces.

“Tell Santa NOT to come,” she cried, very loudly, again and again.

There was terror in her eyes . . . it was the thought that this fat guy, who hadn’t shaved in years and wore a strange red outfit was going to come into our home while we slept, as six (or more . . . who really knew) reindeer landed on our roof.

Of course, I clicked, it was a terrifying concept.

The carrots quickly went back into the fridge as I yelled, “it’s pretend, it’s pretend” over the loud wailing.

It took me a long time to convince her that I had the power to halt this looming home invasion and we negotiated that I would tell Santa to leave her presents at the front door.

But even after she fell asleep — she woke up at regular intervals during the night whimpering, “tell Santa NOT to come”.

A little help can be a godsend

As parents, it is a godsend to have a little help over the holiday season to make children behave. Being able to bribe, threaten and cajole children into doing the right thing is fantastic — whether it be getting into their car seat without enacting gymnastic feats, eating healthy food at night or brushing their teeth. What are we left with, I pondered on Christmas Eve, if these weapons are taken out of our parenting arsenal?

Next year I will be torn between fostering her wild imagination with crazy stories that shape childhood and wondering why we make up such ridiculous things that seem to grow every year, just like the jolly man himself.

Santa wasn’t always a bad example of weight. I mean, you don’t want to get too politically-correct about it but, has anyone else noticed that the endless messages of cutting out sugar and eating well seemed to have been lost on our modern-day Santa?

St. Nicholas, an early version of Father Christmas, was actually quite slim.

For several hundred years, between 1200 to 1500, St. Nicholas brought gifts on December 6. He too could fly (although the reindeer didn’t come into the picture until 1812), he too had a white beard and he also ensured that kids toed the line by saying their prayers and practising good behaviour.

According to the online National Geographic, after the Protestant Reformation, saints like Nicholas fell out of favour across much of northern Europe and the job fell to baby Jesus and the date changed to his birthday on December 25.

But babies can’t carry loads of present very well, and threatening kids to do the right thing didn’t really become a baby either. Over the years the fictional gift-giving figure morphed into Santa.

I do not think children will be scarred by the made-up story — even though 90 percent of children (based on a sample size of 10 from the queue at Harvey Norman) screamed and refused to sit on Santa’s knee, there was one who ran up and happily sat there listing off what he would like.

But I do question who the story really benefits.

And don’t even get me started on the Tooth Fairy — this weird flying bug that comes and buys all the teeth that fall out of your mouth.

It was the carrots that did it. Up until then I had created the fun-filled and imaginary story of Santa for my two-and-a-half-year-old.

I told her every Christmas he came to leave presents for all the kids — if they had been good.

It worked really well. The amount of asparagus and broccoli eaten in our house increased significantly.

Even a picture of Santa with my fake Santa voice worked and got her to do stuff.

I couldn’t believe it. I skipped for joy thinking I had this one in the bag, “Oh what a marvellous time of year,” I sang as Olive munched her vegetables earnestly.

But on Christmas Eve, as I was putting the good little rascal to bed, I remembered we had to leave carrots for the reindeer and a glass of milk for Santa. As I carried carrots to the lounge, the tiny one absolutely lost it. Like, really fell to pieces.

“Tell Santa NOT to come,” she cried, very loudly, again and again.

There was terror in her eyes . . . it was the thought that this fat guy, who hadn’t shaved in years and wore a strange red outfit was going to come into our home while we slept, as six (or more . . . who really knew) reindeer landed on our roof.

Of course, I clicked, it was a terrifying concept.

The carrots quickly went back into the fridge as I yelled, “it’s pretend, it’s pretend” over the loud wailing.

It took me a long time to convince her that I had the power to halt this looming home invasion and we negotiated that I would tell Santa to leave her presents at the front door.

But even after she fell asleep — she woke up at regular intervals during the night whimpering, “tell Santa NOT to come”.

A little help can be a godsend

As parents, it is a godsend to have a little help over the holiday season to make children behave. Being able to bribe, threaten and cajole children into doing the right thing is fantastic — whether it be getting into their car seat without enacting gymnastic feats, eating healthy food at night or brushing their teeth. What are we left with, I pondered on Christmas Eve, if these weapons are taken out of our parenting arsenal?

Next year I will be torn between fostering her wild imagination with crazy stories that shape childhood and wondering why we make up such ridiculous things that seem to grow every year, just like the jolly man himself.

Santa wasn’t always a bad example of weight. I mean, you don’t want to get too politically-correct about it but, has anyone else noticed that the endless messages of cutting out sugar and eating well seemed to have been lost on our modern-day Santa?

St. Nicholas, an early version of Father Christmas, was actually quite slim.

For several hundred years, between 1200 to 1500, St. Nicholas brought gifts on December 6. He too could fly (although the reindeer didn’t come into the picture until 1812), he too had a white beard and he also ensured that kids toed the line by saying their prayers and practising good behaviour.

According to the online National Geographic, after the Protestant Reformation, saints like Nicholas fell out of favour across much of northern Europe and the job fell to baby Jesus and the date changed to his birthday on December 25.

But babies can’t carry loads of present very well, and threatening kids to do the right thing didn’t really become a baby either. Over the years the fictional gift-giving figure morphed into Santa.

I do not think children will be scarred by the made-up story — even though 90 percent of children (based on a sample size of 10 from the queue at Harvey Norman) screamed and refused to sit on Santa’s knee, there was one who ran up and happily sat there listing off what he would like.

But I do question who the story really benefits.

And don’t even get me started on the Tooth Fairy — this weird flying bug that comes and buys all the teeth that fall out of your mouth.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you like the new committee structure brought in at Gisborne District Council?

    See also: Committee shake-up