Apparently, Landing on Santa’s “Nice” List Is Too Much Work

For the past two years, my 4-year-old son has been an angel from Thanksgiving until Christmas, because, when he misbehaved, I simply mentioned that Santa was watching him, then proudly watched him myself as he immediately changed his act.

This year, my Santa strategy has had little impact.  He’s questioned whether Santa has time to watch him.  He’s debated whether Santa can see him when he’s inside our house.

So, yesterday, when he desperately needed a nap, yet flat-out refused to go into his bedroom, I called Santa, admitting to my son that, in these last few days before Christmas, Santa may very well be too busy to be personally watching 24/7.

I dialed the phone, asked for Santa, then acted as if I were put on hold.  I heard my son move to just outside the room, so he could hear my conversation. 

“Hi, Santa,” I said, identifying myself and my son by name, address and the United States of America.  “I’m so sorry to bother you, but he was sick for an entire week and a half.  He has asthma, you know, which made his virus more serious, then he had two ear infections.  And, he desperately needs to take a nap today, but he won’t even go into his room.”

I waited a minute, then said, “Hmmmm…  Uh-huh.  OK, I’ll tell him that.  Thanks, Santa.  I’ll call you back on Christmas Eve to give you an update on how he’s acting.”

After I got off the phone, I heard my son sneak down the stairs to hide the fact that he’d been eavesdropping.  I yelled down, “Sweetie, come here.  I have a message for you from Santa.”

He didn’t answer, so I went into his bedroom, and I lay down on his bed, convinced he would come in within minutes to submit to a nap.  I woke up two hours later, alone.

I was incredulous.  He wholeheartedly believes in Santa, but he ignored the call.  When I went downstairs post-nap, I asked him why he didn’t come up when I said Santa had a message for him.  Unemotional, he said, “I don’t want any Christmas presents this year.  I’m going to wait until my birthday, because then I’ll be a year older, which is cool.”

I asked, “You don’t want ANY Christmas presents?”


“So, all of the wrapped presents under the tree, you’re just going to wait until February to open them?”


I questioned him again today, and he insisted that he doesn’t want any Christmas gifts. 

So, my plan backfired:  Rather than conform to Santa-acceptable behaviors, like napping, he’s opting out of the holiday, deciding instead to focus on his 5th birthday, for which he believes there are no strings attached.  At Christmas, he knows he needs to be good to be rewarded.  But, for his birthday, he thinks simply turning a year older guarantees gifts.

We open family gifts on Christmas Eve, when my stepsons are with us, so I have four days to fix this…

Any ideas???

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