With the 2016 holiday season kicking off this past weekend, many American families found themselves without a certain toy to give their child — the Hatchimal, the hottest toy of this year’s holiday season that will almost be impossible to find.
It was so impossible to find, in fact, that parents want their children to know ahead of time that they won’t see it under the tree this Christmas.
“Rather than risk disappointing their child if they can’t find a Hatchimal before Dec. 25, they’re preempting their kid’s Christmas morning tempter tantrum with a written apology letter from Santa Claus,” according to Scary Mommy, a parenting news website.
Here‘s what the letter looks like.
But that’s not the only version. There’s this one, too.
Megan Zander, the writer of the Scary Mommy article, said that a Santa apology letter can serve as a teaching moment to young children that they won’t always receive the gift they want for Christmas.
“As parents we want to make our kids happy, but it’s unrealistic to think that we’ll always be able to get them every item on their Christmas list, even if it’s something that all the other kids are excited over too,” Zander wrote. “This year it’s a Hatchimal but what about when they want the new iPhone that’s on back order for months? Or a gaming system that’s way out of budget, even if it is in stock? Learning that you don’t always get what you want is a part of life, even around the holidays.”
But the apology letters aren’t the only letters from Santa that parents are embracing this year. According to the Huffington Post, parents can get their child a letter that’s postmarked from the North Pole.
All you have to do is let your child write a letter to Santa and put it in an envelope. Open the letter later and write your own response from Santa to your child. The U.S. Postal Service recommends being as specific as possible, mentioning your child’s responses if you can, according to the Huffington Post.
Add some postage, a North Pole return address and send it here:
North Pole Postmark
Anchorage, AK 99530-9998
Your child will soon receive the letter returned with a North Pole postmark.
Though these letters are fun and filled with holiday spirit, recent research suggests that the Santa Claus myth could create problems in the home, especially when a youngster discovers the truth.
Psychologist Christopher Boyle and mental health researcher Kathy McKay released a study this week that showed that parents may be harming their children by perpetuating the myth of Santa Claus.
The researchers said children’s trust in their parents may suffer if they learn the truth about Saint Nick.
“If they are capable of lying about something so special and magical, can they be relied upon to continue as the guardians of wisdom and truth?” they write.
Boyle said that the Father Christmas tale may also bend a child’s idea of morality, making them think it’s OK to make up myths.
“All children will eventually find out they’ve been consistently lied to for years, and this might make them wonder what other lies they’ve been told,” Boyle said. “Whether it’s right to make children believe in Father Christmas is an interesting question, and it’s also interesting to ask whether lying in this way will affect children in ways that have not been considered.”
But those issues don’t always rise up since Santa isn’t the only myth children hear about, according to PBS. Children live in a fantasy land for four or five years, so it’s not like this one lie is going to ruin their lives forever.
It helps, too, that Santa Claus is a benevolent hero. So when parents perpetuate the myth, they’re teaching their children about the value of being kind, according to an article published by PBS Parents.
“Every culture has a fairy tale or myth that belongs to its historical identity,” Dr. Benjamin Siegel, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine, told PBS. “If the myths are good and talk about sharing and helping your neighbor, then that’s really nice.”
When children do find out about Santa Claus, it’s important that parents talk with their youngsters about their frustrations. Siegel said parents should encourage their child to remember the happy memories associated with the jolly old gift giver.
“Children should also have the opportunity to define what Santa Claus means to them,” according to PBS. “They may surprise parents when they reveal that they knew all along, but still had fun playing along with the game.”