Dad Accused of 'Taking Fun Out of Christmas' for Not Letting Kids Write Letters to Santa


Kid opening Christmas presents

Christmas can be hard for families that don't have a lot of money, but many of these parents work hard to make sure their kids have the best holiday possible. One dad on Reddit explained that in lean years he and his wife decided to not let their kids write letters to Santa but instead bought them a modest amount of gifts and told them Santa only brings things they need. But now he feels guilty about his method, after a coworker told him he was taking all the fun out of Christmas.

  • The poster explained that when his now 10-year-old twins were little, they didn't have the money to buy them piles of gifts.

    Typically, they tried to spend no more than £30 (or about $38 US) and bought them "stuff they needed like clothing and then a small toy or a teddy bear," he wrote in the post.

    "When they were old enough to start asking for what they wanted we were in a better financial position than we were, but it was still a bit dicey, so I told them that they shouldn't write a list because Santa would bring them what they needed," he continued. "We did the same thing again and bought them stuff they needed and then something fun, and they liked it."

    Now the couple is in a much better financial position "and we could afford to get the kids some stuff they want and they could write a list if they wanted, however we've now spent several years saying that Santa brings them what they need."

    Plus, he and his wife had always told their kids that Santa brings the necessities, while Mom and Dad bring the fun stuff. 

    "Throughout the last few months leading up to Christmas we keep an eye on stuff they seem interested in and use that as present inspiration, so it's never been something they didn't like," he added.

    The problem is that the dad recently told his coworker -- who told him that his method was unfair to his kids.

    "'Santa is meant to be fun,'" the coworker told him, and then complained the dad and his wife were taking credit for all the fun things. "He also said half the fun is putting together a Christmas list, so why don't I let my kids have that experience?" the dad wrote.

    "I said it's how we've always done it and he said that if he found out his parents were 'pulling that [expletive]' when he was a kid he would have lost his [expletive]."

    So now the dad is wondering: Is he wrong for not letting his kids write lists?

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  • Some people were on the coworker's side: Lists are part of the fun.

    "I get Original Poster and their spouse wanting to be the ones to give their kids the fun stuff, but that kind of takes out the (in my opinion) most magical part about Santa," one commenter wrote. "Finding out that this entire time your parents actually were Santa!"

    "Christmas lists are fun for the kids," a second person agreed. "My kids know they won't get everything on the list but it's still fun to dream. We got the Christmas catalog from one of the big box stores and my 5-year-old had a grand old time circling basically everything in that catalog. 9-year-old also made a list. She asked for some stuff I didn't expect."

    Another person also thought lists were a big part of the holiday:

    "I don't think not doing lists makes OP the AH, but I do think it's overkill. My kids have always made lists with any prompting from me. They're well aware that they're not getting everything on their lists. Generally they get one thing from the list and then some stuff that's not on the list that I think they'll like. They've never been anything less than thrilled on Christmas day."

  • Some people applauded the dad for making Christmas happen any way he could.

    "Wow, your coworker is a huge [expletive]," one commenter wrote. "The way you’re doing things is amazing! I’ve always thought that Christmas lists were just for lazy parents who don't pay attention."

    "It seems like you've done amazing keeping Christmas fun and within your means," a second person wrote. "Ultimately how you handle it is your discretion. I think you're doing a great job and your friend is a bit insensitive."

    A third person had this to say: "Your coworker is being close-minded. I can't remember ever having actual lists as a part of Christmas, and that is not a tradition I particularly value. Your kids will love and value whatever traditions you have and probably won't care about missing out on this one.

    "Having Santa be responsible for useful items is GENIUS and would be bounds better for families who are strapped for cash," the person added. "I would love to see that become the trend."

    The dad later explained that his kids have never asked to write lists and added that he and his wife purposely agreed they wanted to get credit for fun presents instead of necessities.

    "Last year we bought them a remote control car each and at £50 a piece no way is someone else getting credit," he joked.

    We think that as long as his kids are happy, it doesn't matter too much if they write lists or not. Or maybe they could tweak the tradition and have his kids write Santa with one special gift that they'd like him to bring. Either way, it sounds like this dad went out of his way to make Christmas special -- and his kids might appreciate it once they get older.