The Real Reason Kids Write to Santa


My kids are young, so I make a lot of rookie mistakes that many of you with older kids can spot from ten miles away.

Like the importance of writing letters to Santa — something we didn’t do this year.

I foolishly thought people did this because it was just fun for the kids.  Or because it’s a sweet relic of childhood to keep for years to come.

No, no, no.

Now I know the real reason:  To have written, parentally binding proof of what the kids requested for Christmas.

Because, when you don’t write a letter to Santa and commit your kids’ wishes to paper, let me tell you what happens.

Your five year-old takes on an entirely new interest — one you had never once heard him mention, ever — on or about December 15.  And he is obsessed with it.  It’s now ALL HE WANTS FROM SANTA.

All of those other things you bought in early November, thinking you were on the ball?  Forget it.  He doesn’t care anymore.

Alright, you figure.  It’s not a costly gift he wants.  Let’s just go online and order it.


It’s not available, of course.  Anywhere.  Because every peer of your child has been asking for it since October. And those kids wrote it down in their letters to the big guy.

OK, well, that’s that, you tell yourself.  After all, you don’t want to be that parent whose kid gets spoiled on Christmas.  Surely he’ll love the other toys.  And there’s a life lesson in there somewhere, right?

And then you hear him, in his room, telling his toys that he only wants ONE THING from Santa this year.  That new thing that did not exist in his mind two weeks ago.

That thing that would not have been in the parentally binding letter to Santa.  Had you done one.

Sigh.  You want to track down the Kindergarten classmate that introduced him to this idea and substitute his lunch box cookies with broccoli.

Next thing you know, you’re in your car heading to Toys R Us at 8am five days before Christmas.  Because when you called there inquiring about said toy, two things happened.  First, they laughed at you.  And then, they mentioned the arrival of a new toy shipment.  The specificity level of what would be in that shipment was exactly zero.  But hey, your item might in there.

And you can’t believe you are this person, jumping through hoops for this one toy.

You also can’t believe the lines at Toys R Us at 8am.

And, above all, you can’t believe Toys R Us doesn’t offer in-house trauma counselors to deal with this madness.  Or a bar.  Because you’re not above a mimosa at this point.

Was your item on that magical shipment?  Nope.

But another truck arrives on Sunday.  Yes, that would be December 23.  48 hours before showtime.

So you are pretty much ready to admit defeat.

And, then, after school that day, your son tells his grandmother on the phone all about THE ONLY THING HE WANTS FROM SANTA.

So maybe one more trip back to the store on Sunday wouldn’t be such a disaster.

But wait!  The item has been found online!  There are four left in stock!  Shut the front door — this could be the end of the saga.  Until you realize that the Super Expedited on Crack Shipping Cost will amount to more than double the value of the actual toy itself to ensure a Christmas Eve arrival.

I’m writing this late at night on December 22.  I have no ending to this story because I don’t know yet if I will greet that truck again tomorrow.  And I don’t know if I’ll just suck it up and pay for Certifiably Insane Shipping. Or if I’ll just let it go. Right now, this is a Choose Your Own Adventure book and I am the unwilling protagonist.

But I can tell you one certain outcome.

Next year, we are writing letters to Santa.  Before December begins.

And then we are having them notarized and mounted in laminate.



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  1. Teri says:

    Well??? Did you do it??? Come on, inquiring minds need to know!!!

  2. Heather says:

    C’mon, Kimma, you KNOW we’re all dying to know what this coveted prize is?! do tell!!!

  3. Krinn says:

    Oh, I have felt your pain. The elusive Chick Hicks “Cars” Car which I finally found in a set of other “Cars” all of which we had, but of course I bought them all again; the zhu zhus that required daily calls to Toys R Us and enough money spent in gas to have paid for all the other presents under the tree. This is why I had to take 11 years off from full time employment – finding the elusive gift is a full time job!!! It is all worth it in the end and it does get better with age. At 8, 10 and 12 they rarely change their minds, after all what more could a 10 year old want than the latest iPad, with all appropriate accessories and a nice itunes gift card to fill it with all necessary apps. Makes me miss the days when the $10 robotic hamster provided pure Christmas bliss!

  4. Liz says:

    What is the hot ticket toy this year? We’re up to our eyeballs in legos. I’ve given up on trying to get him to keep the sets together. The particular item gets built once, then dismantled and turned into some grotesque creation that I am supposed to be able to recognize. At this point I’m just happy if I don’t find the legos with the bottom of my feet in the middle of the night!

  5. Keesha says:

    I am impressed that you have ordered anything for Christmas in early November! But I hear you about jumping through hoops with your nipples on fire just to get something for your kid in time for Christmas!

    • fordeville says:

      The early November shopping was a first-time thing this year. I forgot to take into consideration that, on Dec. 23, I’d have a hard time finding those purchases that I’ve been hiding for 5 weeks.

      Next year, back to procrastination. It’s in my DNA.

  6. Erica Gutowski says:

    I had a similar situation once. My now ten year old was just three….I worked insane hours as a retail manager and bought him nearly every piece of the then coveted “GeoTrax” train set because he loved trains. Of course, I first took him to see the mall Santa on the 23rd. He sits down and tells Santa he wants a robe, slippers, and puzzles for Christmas. First mention of each….unbelievable panic and mommy guilt set in as I attempted to spend the next 24 hours locating these items. Insanity really….and I must have asked him 100 times what he wanted before that. But what do you do? NOT provide what he told the Jolly Man he wanted for Christmas just days before? Parenting is rough…rewarding but rough. 🙂 Hope you got the toy you need.

  7. We didn’t write letters to Santa either and I have been kicking myself over this. Off to drink a mimosa and hope the Christmas Day disappointment is more annoying than fodder for their future therapist. Merry Christmas, Kim!

  8. Anna says:

    so, so? did “santa” get it here in time?

    • fordeville says:

      OK, so here’s the end to the story.
      Long story short: I caved and overpaid in shipping. I did. And I felt like a real jackass about it. But, thankfully, it was worth it. My son was over the moon with his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shellraiser vehicle (yeah, I know), and he keeps saying it was his favorite gift. {Which, in my mind, is the only acceptable answer, as I was sweating it out waiting for the UPS guy late afternoon on Dec. 24}.

      Crisis averted.

      • Heather says:

        At least your son got this one, I never did buy it. But i couldn’t cave to the shipping charge, not with his Birthday coming in Feb and i knew it would be in stick every where at the discounted price. I couldn’t believe there was only one in stock in the whole online world on the 22nd (most likely the one you got, lol) …
        Thank goodness for apps and iTune cards because he has never missed it or said a word about it.

  9. Jessica says:

    Oh this is so true, my son started crying on Christmas Eve before we put him to bed because he forgot to tell Santa (or anyone else) that the thing he wanted most was a race track. Luckily all of the other presents helped him forget about it the next morning.

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