So this post is an in depth analysis of what exactly our children are learning from Santa Claus. Please don't get the wrong impression and immediately quit reading this post. This is not one of those Communist "Let's get rid of Santa and remember the true meaning of Christmas, bla, bla, bla" posts, but rather a "What approach really works to maximize presents while minimizing the potential of coal?" post. Read on:
So, here is our eldest child doing that which she has been doing for the past eight Christmases. I am pleased to announce that she has learned the art of "Santa Manipulation." When asked what she wants for Christmas, she sweetly replies: "Oh...I don't know. I have been so richly blessed and while I have been a VERY good girl, I just want to make sure that all of the less-fortunate girls and boys receive something before I do. I guess if you really insist on bringing me something, I will just leave it up to you as to what that will be." Of course the object here is to not limit herself to only one request, but to maximize on Santa's elfish heartstrings and receive the "mother-load." (Read "Sleigh-Load.") Works every time. (Her wardrobe choice also helps. She had just finished participating in the ward Christmas pageant as an angel. She was given the option to change her clothes. She declined. All part of her diabolical design.)
Foster has come a long way from the terrified, stuttering pre-schooler of Christmases past when placed onto Santa's lap. He has learned to be brief, concise, and to the point. Why beat around the bush? Neither he nor Santa is there for a lengthy conversation about his (Foster's) many exploits of the previous year. So he had a couple of recess detentions. Why split hairs? Confession may be good for the soul, but it is terrible for the stocking. Just get to the point and put in the request and not bore the old man. This strategy, too, works.
Aaaaah. Our newest requester. The two year old. So, up to this point in her short life, I have been instilling the importance of "Stranger Awareness." This is the only time of the year that she is encouraged to sit on the lap of an overweight, bearded white guy offering her candy (who, coincidentally, describes every level 3 sex offender in the state.) While this proved to be very confusing to her, she was able to develop her own scheme that, I hope, will evolve into something much quieter next year. Ella's strategy was, of course, panic. Scream, cry, kick, and cling to your mother. If done properly, not only do you get to escape the creepy guy's lap, but they thrust candy on you to shut you down.
I wish that you could see more of Santa's face in this pic. He was pretty much ecstatic to see this coming at him: (I'm equally excited to be included in the photo.)
And here is the after. Don't you love the pleased-with-herself-that-at-least-she-got-candy-laugh/cry? So she was slightly traumatized. It was all done in the name of Christmas joy.
Merrit, Ella, and their friend watching the "Santa Show" while munching on the fruits of their labor.
Three different children. Three very different strategies. Stay tuned for the next post to see how it worked out for them.
Feel free to share your experience with proven successful strategies. (Or failed ones for that matter.)