AT RANDOM: Coal for Christmas?

'What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more'

Sorry kids, Santa’s cutting back this Christmas.”

That’s the suggestion I’ve been hearing some families consider this year as the holiday season approaches on a tight purse-string.

Instead of lavishing children with high-priced gifts, Santa is likely to leave something a little simpler under the tree this year.

Times are tight with rents/mortgages, higher food prices (I can’t be the only one who has noticed a steeper grocery bill in the past year or so, oh and have you noticed the price of gas?), climbing utility costs, vehicle repairs, etc.

So after all the bills are paid, there just isn’t enough to buy little Sally a new iPhone or Johnny the latest tablet (that is unless you want to spend the rest of the winter without heat).

I’ll admit, I’ve actually considered cutting Santa out of the equation altogether. No I’m not axing the idea of Santa altogether – he obviously plays a leading role in most children’s Christmas – but just trimming his budget. Instead of waking up to the biggest and best gift labelled ‘From Santa’, there may just be a more affordable present from the big guy. Or perhaps there won’t be anything, depending on how behaviours shape up over the next few weeks.

Obviously finances are playing a huge role in that decision. But so too is the fact that some kids these days (and mine is no exception) seem to be spoiled rotten.

So why add to that through Christmas?

I know this is supposed to be the season of giving, but at what price? And isn’t all that giving supposed to be from the heart, not from your savings account?

To quote a favoured Dr. Seuss story: “What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more.”

Santa’s naughty and nice lists could also play a big role in what kids can expect Christmas morning.

I remember being told year-round that if I wasn’t good Santa wasn’t going to bring me anything but a lump of coal.

Then one year, it happened.

I woke up Christmas morning to find my stocking filled to the brim, but my brother wasn’t so lucky.

He obviously landed a spot on the naughty list that year and got nothing but coal in his stocking.

So I figure, since we’ve had some listening issues this year with my own daughter (she’s four going on 14) why not send a little message from Santa?

I’ve already hinted at the idea that she might not make the nice list through a great online tool called PNP (Portable North Pole). These handy videos can be personalized to your child and can rate them on where they might currently sit in Santa’s books.

My daughter loved seeing Santa’s video message to her and then a look of terror crossed her face as the naughty-nice-o-meter teetered right in the middle.

“There’s still time,” he told her.

But that hasn’t sunk in, yet.

I’m now on the hunt for a few rocks of coal, just in case (and just maybe a special little gift from mom and dad).