Did your trooper see their present hidden in your wardrobe? Weren't able to get the 'dream' toy? Here's some excuses to get parents out of sticky situations - and keep the magic alive - this Christmas.
The golden rule to remember is that each of these excuses must be given with absolute and total conviction to be effective. You must believe it to make it believable.
1. If your trooper's friend - or older sibling - tells them that Father Christmas doesn't exist and its you that buys the presents
Excuse: Depending on our trooper's age, you have a couple of options:
- For younger troopers, laugh heartily and seem really incredulous. "Really? No Father Christmas?" You can also rely on any other adult to join in. "You'll never guess what so-and-so said. No Father Christmas!"
- For older troopers use the power of reasoning. Say that they must know that you're not buying the presents as you're really not keen on their noisy toys (trust me, this will resonate with any trooper) so if you were buying, you'd have chosen something different.
How to avoid the situation in future: unfortunately, this is unavoidable. A natural part of growing up is to realise that Father Christmas doesn't exist. But I am a great believer that childhood is a precious and short time and that our job as parents is to let them have as much enjoyment out of it as possible. That's why it is best to have an armoury of plausible excuses.
2. If your trooper sees their present in a shopping bag or hidden in a cupboard
Excuse:Tell your trooper that you bumped into Father Christmas when you were out shopping. He told you that so many children had been good this year he was finding it hard to get around to everyone. He asked you if you wouldn't mind bringing back some of your presents. Be sure to say you are very sorry you didn't hide it better but you're not used to hiding presents.
How to avoid the situation in future: easy to say but try and shop only when there are no troopers about, such as in the morning when you've just dropped them off at school. Wrap them as soon as possible as it is easy to pass off wrapped presents as being for cousins, friends etc. Always be sure to keep a list of what you have bought though.
Find one excellent place to hide presents - in a house the loft is a great choice (although do not leave it until the night before Christmas to try and retrieve them). Or at your parents' house. They have a lot more experience than you.
3. If you weren't able to get your trooper the thing they really wanted
- If your trooper is very young, don't worry. I have spent many a Christmas feeling terrible that I didn't get that 'must have' toy to find out on Christmas Day that my troopers are very happy with what they have. I know it sounds like something out of Dickens, but you'd be surprised.
- If your trooper is older and you have the money, but the items were sold out. Get a friend to write a note from Santa (your trooper may recognise your handwriting) to say that there was a huge demand for this toy, so the Elves were unable to make one in time. So you have left the money with you to buy one in the sales. In the meantime, he hopes you have a lovely time with the rest of your presents.
- If you just don't have the money. From birth, some relatives will give you money to buy presents for your troopers. I save this for moments such as these. In the absence of these savings, consider asking grandparents and other relatives to contribute. Even if this means they club together and the special present comes from the family and not Santa (which is not as bad as it sounds, as you're not getting the credit for any of it). Look into getting a used one at a reduced price. If none of this is an option, take a deep breath and don't let this affect your opinion of yourself as a great parent.
How to avoid the situation in future: in the case of the must have toys selling out, try and find out as soon as possible what they want. Our kids start their Christmas list after Halloween. If they ask for anything, I tell them to put it on their list and Santa will decide. I also ask other parents at the school gate what the 'must have' toys are - some parents have a radar for such things.
If at all possible, save the money you get given for your troopers into a present fund and perhaps contribute it to yourself throughout the year.
4. If your trooper asks you why the 'real' Santa they met at the school, play group, supermarket etc is not the same (or if they recognise the person underneath the Santa disguise)
Excuse: Santa really can't be everywhere all at once, and right at this busiest time of year, he is most in demand. Because he doesn't want to disappoint children he lets people pretend to be him, but they must pass a test. When they pass this test and Santa knows that they are a good Santa at heart, he sends them a white beard from the North Pole. This contains a little bit of Santa magic.
How to avoid the situation in future: again, this one is unavoidable. In December you literally cannot move for Santas. In fact, on more than one occasion I have actually had to play Santa to my own kids! For younger troopers this is a fantastic and exciting experience. For older troopers, keep this excuse up your sleeve.
5. If your trooper wakes to find you, or your partner, leaving their presents at the end of their bed
Excuse: If your trooper is fully awake (as opposed to just waking a little, in which case you can just pretend you were tucking them in) and can see the toys, the only thing to do is to say you heard a noise in their room and came in to find that Santa had been. This will of course mean that you will have a trooper awake at some ungodly hour. Unless you can successfully get them back to sleep, in which case, please let me know how.
How to avoid the situation in future:
The only way to prevent this situation for sure is not to leave presents at the end of the bed. In our house we leave them under the tree.
If you have any other excuses to get out of these sticky situations, please do let me know. A parent can never have too many excuses.