But then there’s the lists.  I love a list as much as the next person.  I make daily to-do lists, packing lists before a big trip, and my private journal contains a bucket list.   The Christmas list, however, is an exercise in indulgence.  I can remember my brother and I sitting down with the big fat Sears catalog as children, flipping through the pages of new toys and writing detailed descriptions (page and item numbers included for ease of reference) of all the things we wanted.

I realize as an adult my parents allowed us to go on with this charade, even thought they had no intention of buying us more than five things, because our activity must have bought them hours of quiet.  Setting my kids up for the disappointment of not getting a fraction of what is on their list doesn’t sound like it will work in my favor.

Even less appealing is Santa’s naughty/nice list.  Am I supposed to be teaching my kids the concept of keeping score and holding grudges at Christmas time?  I understand some mothers use this as persuasion to encourage good behavior during the chaotic holiday time but you still end up being the bad guy reminding them that “Santa’s watching.”  It’s a little too Big Brother for me.

I am also uncomfortable with the extent of these lies.  I might be willing to let him believe what he hears at school or write his wishlist to the bearded man, but I’ve seen some truly elaborate stunts by other moms.  Making a family member dress in a huge polyester Santa suit, fabricating hoof prints to imprint on the front lawn, and joining Santa Seekers (it’s a real organization) are way beyond my desired level of involvement.  Even the US Postal Service is joining forces with these insistent parents.  For the price of a few postage stamps you can write your child a letter, designate Santa in the return address, and mail it off to Alaska for a bonafide “North Pole” postmark.

Instead of going through great lengths to keep up the farce, isn’t it better to tell him the truth now while he will accept it without resistance?  Then when his classmates are figuring it out in a few years, he won’t experience the same feeling of disappointment.

Which brought up one very important point.

“The other mothers at school are going to hate you,” my mother informed me.