Monday, November 24, 2014

Stop Judging the List, Santa

Yesterday was one of the those days where I just needed to get out of the house, and I suspected Reagan did too. Her surgery was five days ago, and she's on her way to recovery, but she's been spending a lot of time mooching around the house and whining.

Which I get, by the way. I'd probably be doing much MORE whining. 

Anyway, I asked Reagan where she wanted to go. We didn't need to do any errands - I'd done most of them during my "mommy time" on Saturday. She asked for the toy store, so, after a quick caveat with the girls about whether or not we were there to purchase toys (we were not), off we went.

Sometimes it's nice to just meander around a toy store with no expectations at all. I solved the "oh, look at this! I want this!" issue with two strategies.

1) Each girl was allowed to hold and carry a toy in each aisle. When we moved on, they had to leave the toy behind. If they didn't want to, we didn't move on. With something new around every corner, they were usually very willing to give the toys back, and they were excited to actually get to hold a few things, rather than the typical "look, don't touch" rule.

2) They were allowed to use my phone to take a picture (or have me take a picture) of any toys they wanted to add to their Christmas list. Rather than saying "we'll put it on your list", they were able to actually do something about it. It also let Madison look at the toy as she painstakingly writes her list.

Which brings us to the list...

Last year was the first year that Madison really understood the concept of a Christmas list. Rather than limit her items, she is allowed to ask for whatever she wants, with the understanding that Santa doesn't get everything. We have her mark two or three things that she really wants - things that Santa will try his best to get. Last year she was obsessed with a toy camera and a LeapFrog music player. She consistently asked for them. Every list she made, every Santa visit, every relative or stranger who asked what she wanted was met with "a camera and a music". When Santa came through on Christmas morning, she was deliriously happy. She got plenty of other gifts - including a dollhouse - that she loved, but she was so happy that Santa had read her letter and remembered what she'd told him.

Well this year she's been asking for a dancing Palace Pet. The girls watch Disney Jr, and although it is technically commercial free, they do market some of their own products pretty heavily. This Palace Pet, which I actually got to play with at an event this summer, is one they pushed for a while this fall. She's seen it in Target, and in Toys R Us, and at Walmart, and she has become obsessed.  

You control the dancing and moving with your magic wand.

The problem is that I don't want to get this toy. It's something that's going to need batteries. It's something that she and Reagan are going to fight endlessly over - and I'm not buying two. It's something that, because it needs an uncarpeted floor, is going to end up underfoot in the kitchen while I try to make dinner. And rather than something that I can see lasting, I suspect that this is the kind of toy that will fizzle as the year goes on. She's got plenty of other things on her Christmas list. I've suggested plenty of other toys that I think are more worth it. Longer lasting. Less...commercial. Better.


This is what she's been asking Santa for. She's stayed consistent. It's what she really wants (or at least, thinks she wants). Would I ever buy it on a random day? Of course not. Which is why she's putting her faith in Santa. She's been waiting patiently to share this toy with Santa, and ask him to try as hard as he can to put it under our tree.

Isn't that sort of the point of the Christmas list? Something impractical. Something that you know you wouldn't get everyday. Something you are excited about and are willing to wait for. Sure, she could use another set of tights and another leotard to go into the rotation. There are some learning toys that she's really excited about that will end up under the tree. But let's be honest - that's the kind of thing that I'm going to get her anyway.

We've had one disastrous Santa visit where I was too busy imploring the picture people to take the picture (don't worry, that story is coming) to hear what she asked for, but I know we've got a few more Santa encounters once December hits. And I think if she stays consistent, then Santa needs to stop being judgmental, and fulfill a four year old's wish. She has plenty of time to consider the pros and cons of every present - who am I to bah humbug all over her Christmas spirit?

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