MONEY MORAL DILEMMA: What's more important - MoneySaving or Santa?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Money Saving Polls
111 replies 18.5K views


  • I have never understood why parents would tell a child a large present comes from Santa. Our child hangs up her stocking for santa to fill, which consists of small inexpensive gifts (when they're little a set of stacking cups or a ball can be the best thing in the world) including some writing paper to write her thankyou letters and everything else is put under the tree in the lead up to Christmas and labelled who it's from, and it's exciting watching the presents appear, getting to feel them and having to wait to open them.

    We are reasonably confortable financially but I do not consider it reasonable to spend more than about £30-£50 on my daughter, although she has on occassions got large items such as playstation, but her birthday is in January so if she has a large Christmas she gets a small birthday present. I probably spend more than I should on her, but we really try to drum in the value of money to her, although at 11 she just doesn't get it sometimes. She certainly does not have as much 'stuff' as a lot of her school friends.

    I would not go into debt to buy her the latest thing, but if there was something she really desperately wanted I would try to find a way for her to have it, and to let her understand why it may not come when she wanted it. Perhaps one way would be for everyone who's willing to give cash to the child for Christmas to help pay the child pay for it, and save for the rest. I know when my daughter has had to pay for things with her own hard cash she's sometimes not so keen, and sees the appeal of more modest items.

    I was never keen on lying to her about Santa, but wanted her to enjoy the 'magic', so I never got into these elaborate stories some parents seem to. She sussed it aged about 5, long before most of her class - we told her just to keep quiet about it so as not to spoil it for them. It was an inoccuous line on Rugrats that the tooth fairy was just an elaborate hoax perpetuated by your parents. I was quite proud that she picked it up - she'd not even been visited by the tooth fairy at that stage. From that she asked if santa really existed, (and then God!) I never actually answered yes or no, but she knew, although for several years she was a bit confused how we could get the tooth from under her pillow without her noticing and where santa's whisky went! She still enjoys hanging up her stocking, it hasn't spoilt it for her knowing it's us, and I now ask her each year if she's too old for a stocking and she says no, but she will be getting less in it as she gets older.
  • I have always said to my children, that Santa buys them a couple of small gifts as he has so many people to buy for.
    BTW my kids are 3 and 5. They believe that Santa delivers all gifts but they know that i pay for them.
    I would never take the magic of christmas away from them, but i do feel they need to know that we pay for the gifts. Anyway at 31 i still believe deep down.

    Competion runs deep at christmas time with one child getting more expensive things than others, i cannot afford to get my 2 huge expensive things, we make the most of what we have and get, they don't suffer because they are loved and that is bigger than any playstation.,
  • I told my son from an early age that although Santa delivers the pressies he also sends Mum and Dad an invoice for the pressies on the list. My little boy is now 10 and we still have a little list and we also have a max spend 0f £30-£50 which he then works out exactly what he really would like without blowing the budget. We have a daughter who is 18 months and we are not going mad- we are buying her things dhe needs ie clothes etc for xmas.
    I have told him its not based on whether they are good or not- too much to live up to and causes problems if they have been good and you cannot afford stuff. I have also told him that I wont have a playstation in the house until he is 18!! worked so far...xx
  • Let the little ones hang on to as many pleasant ideas, hopes and dreams for as long as they can. Time enough for them to learn that this world is such a harsh place and getting worse by the minute. As others have said before me, parents know that their kids are going to expect gifts as Christmas, and they also know that it happens EVERY YEAR WITHOUT FAIL! This is a money saving site, giving us all ideas and suggestions for ways to save money whether by actual saving in a bank or by getting the things we want cheaper. I know it can be difficult to predict what children will be into by the time it comes around so we should plan ahead. If we're going to be buying for other people, we can use sales throughout the year to sort them out and tuck money away for the kids stuff to be bought nearer the time. I understand all too well how difficult that can be, I was a single parent for over 10 years and my son's birthday is 26th December so we always had to have 2 days of presents. We must make sure that we do not take our mismanagement of our affairs out on the children - as I said, time enough for them to learn when they're older.
    :( Struggling too much wears a body out :cry:
  • seven-day-weekendseven-day-weekend Forumite
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    My son always knew that we and other people bought the presents and Santa just delivered them. He only believed in santa till he was about seven, as we'd never made him a magical figure and he soon worked out it was Dad.

    We often couldn't buy expensive presents for Christmas and just explained that we couldn't and he was always OK with that.

    As regards telling children S.Claus is real, I personally would rather not. It was my husband who wanted him to know about Santa; he felt it was important to the magic of Christmas to a small child. But as I said, we compromised by not having Santa as a 'magic' figure, just a special bloke who delivered presents at Christmas.

    As a practising Christian, I always used to think that if my son realised I'd lied to him about Santa, why should he believe anything I told him about God?
    (AKA HRH_MUngo)
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  • elonaelona Forumite
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    Right from the start we told our daughters that Santa delivered a stocking for each of them and that other people gave them presents.
    They still got the excitement of the stocking and people who bought them presents were acknowledged for them.

    We decided santa would fill stockings that were left on the kitchen table as he did not want to scare anyone by wandering around the house.
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  • KelinikKelinik Forumite
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    My daughters get one pressie each from Santa and know where everything else comes from so that part isn't a problem here.

    They believe in Santa just like they believe in fairies, magic, dragons and princesses marrying handsome princes - all part of being a child and something I think is wonderful. They both have fantastic imaginations which in turn is great for helping them with problem solving and also means they love story books and reading - something I strongly encourage. I see it as all linked together tbh and so when they invent a new imaginary friend (we currently have a friendly pink monster who lives under the radiator in our dining room :D ) I ask what its name is not tell them that they don't exist. Don't see the difference between that and Santa so I'm totally happy with it myself. :cool:
    :heart2: Mumma to DD 13yrs, DD 11yrs & DS 3 yrs. :heart2:
  • sheenafsheenaf Forumite
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    In our family the key thing is the present list or 'letter to santa' which must be clearly designated as a list of suggestions i.e. 'I would be delighted to receive ANY of the following' with no hint that there is any chance of receiving them all. The list then gets shown to grandparents, aunties, etc. who earmark what they will get, leaving the parent(s) to get WHAT THEY CAN AFFORD of the remainder. Hopefully the list will include smaller items like pencils, sweeties, socks and slippers but everyone knows that Santa always supplies some of these and they fairly pad out the total number of parcels.
    As to the 'is Santa real' question, I think I accidently hit on the best solution when I explained that Santa was a mythical person, like Superman and Robin Hood. By the time they were old enough to understand what mythical meant they could accept the 'reality' of Santa and could never accuse me of lying to them.
    For me the most magical part of Christmas was when we used to shout our Christmas list up the chimney to Santa and he would always reply in a wonderfully warm but gruff voice, saying that he knew we would be good girls and so we would be visiting on Christmas Eve as soon as we were asleep in bed. Strangely, our Dad, who was a shift worker always missed this message from Santa because he was asleep in the bedroom next door and he always teased us mercilesly saying we had just made it up. I never gave it a thought until I was wondering how my children would contact Santa in an all electric flat and it suddenly came back to me, the penny dropped and I thought what a wonderful dad (and mum).
  • JillD_2JillD_2 Forumite
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    My kids are 3 and 2. The younger one, dd, is too young to understand any of it, she is just 2 and only just recognises pictures of Santa.

    The older one, ds, knows who Santa is and that he brings presents. I think its lovely. Last year was the first year he had a clue and the wonder in his eyes on Christmas morning to see a present on the kitchen table and the empty glass, mice pie case and big bite out of the carrot, was absolutely magical. I will never ever forget it, His eyes were like saucers and he simply couldn't believe what had happened to the carrot etc - sooo sweet.

    We've decided that they will get a stocking downstairs, not in their rooms (don't want the pressure of trying not to wake them LOL), and that it will contain a few smallish things. Last year he got a lorry and some chocolate coins.

    I really like the idea that if they get something big then some other chldren may get nothing. We will give them a bigger thing from us if we can afford it, and if we can't then they get something small. And they'll always get something small from Santa. This year we will start doing letters to Santa, purely for the magical factor. But I wil encourage them to ask for a only small gift.

    I fully appreciate it will get harder as they get older and can start planning what they want in advance. Actually a lot of ds's friends, even at 3 1/2, are already compiling. ds hasn't got to that stage yet thankfully.

    I'll let them believe in Santa for as long as they want to, children grow up far too fast these days, let them keep their innocence I say.
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  • MSE_Martin wrote:
    This week's Money Moral Dilemma

    A family is struggling to make ends meet this Christmas, so should they explain Santa doesn't exist and they can't afford the toy or go into debt to keep the myth alive?

    MYTH - EXACTLY THAT!Started in Myra (Lycia) where "St" Nicholas was said to be bishop. There is a near universal belief that St. Nicholas of Bari once lived in Asia Minor, and died in either 345 or 352 AD. The speculation is that he was probably born in Patara in the province of Myra in Asia Minor; this is apparently based on the belief that he later became bishop of Myra in Lycia (now Turkey). 8. He is alleged to have attended the first council of Nicea; however, his name does not appear on lists of attending bishops. He absorbed pagan attributes, including those from Woden (Odin), chief of the wild hunt, who rides through the sky with reindeer and forty-two supernatural huntsmen. Since the Reformation, this saint has become merged with the Father Christmas of Yuletide. The modern Santa Claus also has elements of Thor, traditionally depicted riding a goat and carrying a wassail bowl. The myth (non-truth) has spread westward.

    As for the red and white, although it had already come to be used, it was made popular by CocaCola, who "adopted" it.

    When my girls were young, I never told them whether he exited or not - I left it to them to enjoy whatever they got during Christmas Eve night (4 a.m.!!).

    What should not happen and needs to be addressed is children being able to blackmail their parents, which they will always try, and parents being foolish enough to allow them to. If you can't afford the presents, make them something or take them somewhere that doesn't cost a lot. What about teaching them about the wonderland around us (amazing sunsets or going to the top of one of the highest buildings around you, looking out over the incredible views there by day and/or evening and have a competition to guess the buildings/landmarks. How about making the most beautiful sweets/biscuits/glace fruits, etc.? Put them into attractive jars/boxes and decorate.
    The list could go on and on. Believe me - I've been there and still have a struggle financially.
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