Re: How do you handle requests to Santa?
This year DS1 is old enough to write, so he wrote a letter. More of a list, but we are calling it a letter and mailing it (tomorrow!), as that was his intention. On it he asked for "signs" as in a slow/stop construction flagger sign, a bike to ride in the house, a book, and "walkie" for walkie talkies to go with the dress-up police costumes that I made the boys last year. I already bought new walkie talkies for them, because the cheapo ones that I gave them last year with the costumes are already in a landfill somewhere, along with their 13 miscellaneous broken parts... Anyway, he was sneaky and found the walkie talkies, but he doesn't know that I know that, so I am going to wait until well after Christmas when they are long forgotten to give them to him (lesson: don't be sneaky or you won't get the treasures you find). J am making him the stop/slow sign, I have a book about knights that I found at Goodwill for him, and I got a plasma car for him on eBay new for $37. So yeah, he's getting everything he asked for (except the walkie talkies). My younger son said he is going to ask Santa for "baby toys for the baby and a bike for Brother to ride inside". It took some prodding, but I finally got him to say that he wants "toys" for himself. Gotta love generosity! I found a used wooden castle for him and I am on the hunt for a couple of knights to go with it, used if possible. The boys already have a few knights so I just want a couple to make it a set for Christmas morning. He is also getting a new TykeLight - which DS1 said he wanted to ask Santa for - because his other one is busted and it really does help at bedtime.
We don't have cable TV and we don't do characters or licensed stuff of any kind, so it helps keep costs down and allows for more open-ended stuff. I am not a "give them everything they ask for" parent, but DH and I do what we can afford, what is reasonable, and what makes sense. DS1's requests were completely reasonable, and already in the works anyway. I shop year-round and everything they get is thrifted, used, handmade, or on sale. There will be nothing under the tree or on the mantel that is in packaging - we just don't do that! And, Santa doesn't wrap gifts, so with the little ones who don't have expressed "wishes", Santa tends to "bring" the gifts that are impossible to wrap! We use fabric gift wrap here too, which saves my sanity and is also budget-friendly.