The Mothers Union in England has apparently called for an end to children writing letters to Santa.stopping a little girl writing a letter to Santa

Let that sink in for a moment – …

A case of bah humbug?

We’ll get to what I think in a moment, but the reason behind their request is to reduce the pressure on parents to buy expensive Christmas presents. And that is not a bad thing, especially with financial concerns around the world.

The Mother’s Union, a Christian charity, has research results indicating about 46% of parents take out a loan or get into financial trouble to ‘please children during the holidays’ (which could mean more than just buying presents but we’ll let slide for now).

Parents take out loans to pay for Christmas?

That staggered me. I can’t imagine taking a loan for presents – the only loan I’ve ever taken was to buy a house!

So reducing pressure on parents is a reasonable motive for cancelling letters to Santa.

What are letters to Santa?

According to the Mothers’ Union, letters to Santa are nothing more than commercialised lists of things children want.

To be fair, very few Santa letters wouldn’t include a version of ‘could you please bring me…’  so they are lists of requests.

But (actually there are a few buts to this!) the key word there is requests – just because a child asks for the $200 latest gadget it doesn’t mean that child has to get it. Or even should get it.

Santa and parents make decisions about what is a reasonable price to pay and what is a suitable gift for that child’s age, abilities and needs. Sometimes, those decisions mean saying no to kids.

Santa is incredibly generous but the Santa I know is wise enough to realise kids don’t always know best and can learn from not getting everything they ask for.

 But letters to Santa offer more than a list writing exercise.

Writing letters to Santa develops writing and communication skills.

With adult direction, letters to Santa are also polite and teach manners and gratitude.Click To Tweet

A good letter to Santa will ask how Santa is and tell Santa some news, not just list things the child wants.

It can also be a good time to reflect on the year and let the child think about their behaviour. They may be able to apologise in their letter or share pride in achievements and good deeds.

Santa may be an adult that children can trust and express things to in a letter in a time when many wouldn’t write to many other people.

In other words, letters to Santa can be much more than a commercialised list, and perhaps encouraging the positive aspects would be more effective than banning them.

Letters to Santa can be much more than a commercialised listClick To Tweet

But not all kids ask for expensive things.

For ten years I have been helping Santa write letters to Australian children at Christmas time.

For many years I have been involved with children – cousins, children I cared for professionally and then my own children and their friends.

I’ve read a number of letters and heard children’s wishes. You maybe surprised how many affordable things children ask for. Books, pencils, lollies, clothes, cooking tools and CDs are frequently on those lists.

And I’ve seen many children delighted over inexpensive gifts.

Stop letters to Santa?

Instead of stopping children writing to Santa, how about we focus on them writing real letters, not just lists?

How about we focus our children on the spirit of Christmas, not the biggest gifts?Click To Tweet

Something like our Dear Santa template and notes for writing a nice letter to Santa can make writing to Santa positive. Wouldn’t it better to hand out such tools to all the kids at school than to make a statement that is unlikely to be followed through anyway?

What are you going to do – will you stop your kids writing to Santa to reduce the commercialism of Christmas and the pressure on families?