Santa’s Gifts Vs. Mom and Dad’s Gifts


When my kids were very young I struggled with the decision to do Santa or if we wanted to be the house that focused on other aspects of Christmas and did away with Santa altogether. But I knew that if we did want to do Santa we would need some rules or guidelines for Santa’s gifts.

I vividly remember being pregnant around Christmas with my first child and feeling stressed out about how we would handle all of these magical creatures like Santa, Elf on the Shelf, the Toothfairy, the Easter Bunny, etc. I bought myself a Veggie Tales Christmas movie called VeggieTales: Saint Nicholas – A Story of Joyful Giving. I decided then and there that we could incorporate our faith, our values, and a little bit of magic into our household and not traumatize our kids.

Santa's Gifts

I have gone on to embrace the magic and absolutely love bringing out our Elf on the Shelf each year and laying out Santa’s gifts after everyone has gone to bed on Christmas eve. {Christmas is where I shine, the tooth fairy and Easter Bunny are lackluster and my kids are normally pretty underwhelmed when those magical figures show up} 

But we do have two main rules for Santa….

Number 1: Santa doesn’t wrap. He has too many houses and too many presents to be using an entire forest of wrapping paper on just one household. So Santa’s presents are neatly laid out under the tree unwrapped. This has gone on to save my sanity, there is no late-night wrapping and I don’t worry about trying to hide wrapping paper that doesn’t match what is being used for our other presents.

If wrapping Santa gifts is something that causes you extra grief in the holiday season I highly suggest your North Pole elves decide to save the paper and skip the wrapping. My kids have never been disappointed on a Christmas morning to see gifts waiting for them wrapped or not.

Number 2: Santas gifts do not outdo Mom and Dad’s gifts. Meaning Santa is never going to have the BIGGEST gift in our house. He will bring them small things that they have asked for, some undies in their stocking, and little fun surprises. But Mom and Dad are going to be the big winners on Christmas day!

This is for a few reasons, I never want Santa to be our main focus. So on Christmas day, I do not need “his” gifts stealing the show! Also, every household’s budget is different. And I never want my kids to feel like one year Santa REALLY liked them {on a surplus year} and then the next year he didn’t like them as much {on our leaner years}. So we try to keep his gifts pretty consistent over the years.

Bonus Rule for Santa and our Elf:

They always point our kids back to Jesus, which is our family’s main focus when celebrating Christmas.  Our elf often reads the Christmas story from the Bible inviting our kids to read it too. Both Santa and our Elf have made and brought us nativities over the years. They also love to write “Happy Birthday Jesus” messages and leave them around the house. These small things foster so much conversation in our house about our faith and how it relates to Christmas and how Santa is embodying the grace and love that Jesus teaches us about in our Bible.

These few rules have helped me to plan our Christmas’s and make sure that even when I may have an urge to do more to “keep up with the Jones'” I have guidelines for myself. I can stop and ask myself if I am doing things just for the sake of doing things or if this fits in the parameters we have set for Santa’s gifts in our house.

What about when my kids ask about the truth:

I am not sure when or how our kids will start to wonder about Santa. As soon as they started school they encountered the kids who love to exclaim all season long that SANTA IS NOT REAL! So I imagine it is only a matter of time before we get the questions about how things REALLY work.

I have had years to think about this, I would like to explain to them that while yes mom was behind the Elf movements and the gifts being put under the tree. There IS magic about Christmas that can not be explained. You can feel it when you look at your tree lit with lights, you can feel it when you spend time with your family making memories. Even now as I type this with tears in my eyes thinking about those feelings I get during the holidays I know more than ever the spirit of Christmas, the spirit of giving and of loving this time with your family is MAGIC, it is the spirit if Santa! The essence of a being that was created only to give and not to receive. A spirit that puts the needs of others above all else and expects nothing in return. A spirit that doesn’t even wait around to be thanked. Aren’t those the stories we love to hear most? When someone is selfless and does everything they can to uplift those around them?

So while yes mom was behind the physical things that were given on Christmas, there is so much more that keeps the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of Santa alive that even mom doesn’t always understand how it is possible!

Santa's Gifts Deciding how your family will celebrate and the traditions that you do and do not allow in your house is a very personal and thoughtful experience. I can only hope that sharing some of the ways our family has incorporated and thought about Santa and Santa’s gifts in our house has helped you! 


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Jennifer is a Coastal Bend Native, born and raised in Ingleside. She began contributing to the Corpus Christi Moms Blog in 2018 and stepped up as the Community Engagement Coordinator in 2019. She is happiest when she is crafting, writing, or doing anything artistic. She loves music, especially ANYTHING from the 90's, and is often seen dancing around the kitchen to Nsync while cooking dinner. She is married to Derik and has two kids, Connor and Keeley (pronounced Key-Lee). Jennifer still feels like a novice when it comes to parenting and enjoys letting other moms know they are not doing life alone. She also admits she watches copious amounts of Netflix, but balances that out by reading to and with her kiddos as much as possible each day.