What if Santa doesn't bring what they wish for?
Late in November we took our kids to a big toy store for the first time. We decided to divide and conquer. I took our 5-year-old son in one direction and my husband took our 3-year-old daughter in the other. We thought it would be nice for them to choose a few things they'd like for Christmas.
I was a bit worried it would be a disaster but they were actually really well behaved. It's been ages (decades) since I've been in a big toy store and it was fun.
My daughter did a good job of asking for one of those Barbies that have a realistic body shape (honestly I didn't prime her beforehand) and a fireman's costume.
My son's eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw a big electric high speed train. And then he saw THE REMOTE CONTROLLED TARANTULA.
I had a feeling that, as creepy and fun as the spider looked, it was the kind of toy that would only be played with for 5 minutes. After quite a bit of research, I let Santa know that an electric Lego train was a good option and gave him directions to the Amazon factory.
Then a few weekends ago we took the kids to see Santa. Of course, my son told him that he wanted a remote controlled spider and yes, he'd been good. My husband and I discussed what to do about it. Even though the spider wasn't too expensive, the reviews weren't great so we decided that one main present (the Lego train) was enough. He would probably forget the gimmicky tarantula soon enough.
But he didn't. Yesterday he came home from school with a wish list he'd written in class. And there it was again at the top. I couldn't shake this tarantula!
I consulted my more experienced friends. Some said "just get the kid a spider"..."they're only young once". Others gave me really great advice about how to handle the disappointment when Father Christmas doesn't deliver and what to say.
But part of me feels that children should learn that Santa can't always give them everything they ask for, that in life we can't have what we want all of the time and that money doesn't grow on trees.
Yesterday I went into town and bought my daughter a sparkly skirt for Christmas day and a few bits and pieces. But walking home I realised something. I had almost spent the cost of the remote controlled tarantula! I started to feel mean.
As parents we say to our kids "be good because Santa knows". And my son has been good. The best he has ever been considering the changes we have put him through this year - moving countries, schools (twice) and houses (twice). I think I'm just trying to prove a point to myself or others.
So I made an SOS call to my husband, "We must get the spider". And he agreed.
That's why today on behalf of Santa, who is incredibly busy at this time of the year, one of us will be going to a big shopping centre, to a big toy shop on the busiest weekend of the year. The last one before Christmas. And the boy will get his spider.