Monday, 23 December 2013

The Naughty List - A Christmas Tradition

The Naughty List – A Christmas Tradition

Santa Claus is coming to town…or is he?

It is that magical time of year again. The malls are pumping out Christmas tunes and stores have all their Christmas decorations out to remind us that we don’t have much time left before the big day.

Unfortunately, Christmas songs are not the only thing you hear while shopping. It is also the time of year when many parents pull out the threat of the “naughty list”. The threat that Christmas will not happen and Santa will not come if you are bad. They say things like, “Santa is watching” and “Santa won’t come if you are naughty.” I realize that parents are desperately trying to keep their children in line before Christmas – and that the whole hype around the holidays just makes children more and more excited and less and less manageable. But, it is not fair to children to threaten to take away their holiday traditions, just because they are not behaving in a way that is acceptable to you.

It’s funny, because I am pretty sure that people who celebrate Christmas and do the whole “Santa thing” are the only ones dishing out the threats. I have never heard people who celebrate Hanukkah saying, “There will be no lighting of the menorah if you are bad” or what about Kwanza, are there parents out there saying, “No Kwanza for you!” I doubt it.  It seems to be a part of the whole Christmas tradition. It must be the Christians who came up with the idea of Santa watching us. Apparently we always need someone to watch us, just in case we step out of line. Basically, as adults there is the threat of going to hell which keeps us on our toes, and for children it is the threat of no toys (which, let’s face it – is their own idea of hell).

The whole concept of Santa being able to see us is a bit creepy. I can remember as a kid lying awake waiting for Santa to come and my mom saying, “Santa can’t come until you are asleep…he can see you.” So, you are telling me that I have to go to sleep so that a strange bearded man can sneak into the house, eat my cookies and leave me some presents…hmmm, made sense to me.

I have to say though, that I love Christmas. It is such a fun and magical time.  And, not only Christmas - but all of the holiday traditions that people share. The holidays are really about children. So, why are we threatening to take that away? Next time you want to pull out your “Santa isn’t going to come if you are bad card” – consider this.

Here is what your children hear when you threaten to take away their presents.

1)    The only reason to listen to my parents and be caring and considerate of others is to get what I want (presents).

2)     The way that you behave has so much power that you can change holiday traditions.

3)    Getting presents is the most important part of the holidays.

4)    As your parent, if I don’t like the way that you are behaving, I have the right to take away something very special to you.

5)    Santa won’t like you if you are bad.
I know that it is very tempting to use Santa as a means of getting your children to behave – but it is not a holiday tradition that you want to pass on from generation to generation. Besides, we all know how empty that threat is. Would you really take away your child’s imagination and love of that jolly old elf, just because they had been “naughty”? My guess is, no.

Think about all the wonderful things that you want to share with your children. The fun - the magic…and leave Santa out of your discipline strategies.

Here is a really fun way to make the idea of Santa come alive for your children – oh, and make sure that you put all of your children on the “Nice” list.

Happy Holidays!



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