PSA: Please Stop Telling Your Children Their Pricey Gifts Came From Santa

A social worker explained how giving Santa credit for items like iPhones and iPads can have heartbreaking consequences for families.

mother and kids looking at tablet next to xmas tree
Photo: Getty Images

It's the most wonderful—and stressful—time of the year for parents everywhere who want nothing more than to make the holidays magical and memorable for their children. From Elf on the Shelf to DIY experiences to booking a family getaway, the ways to make a L.O.'s eyes light up are endless. But a social worker named Megan Dunn took to Facebook to ask that parents abstain from an all-too-common Christmas practice: giving Santa Claus credit for the priciest gifts under the tree.

In a post originally shared in 2017, then re-shared by a woman named Lauren Hodgson this year, a social worker named Megan Jackson noted, "I cannot stress this enough. STOP TELLING YOUR SANTA AGE KIDS THAT THEIR IPADS, AND IPHONES, AND 200 DOLLAR TOYS ARE FROM SANTA."

Dunn went on to explain, "Cause some families can't afford that. Little kids wonder why they got socks or a coat or hand me down toys from Santa and other kids got an iPad." The social worker said that she has had parents cry to her that their kid asked if they're not good enough or if Santa doesn't like them as much.

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"Breaks my heart for the parents and the kids," she wrote. The bottom-line to her: "Take credit for the gift. Santa didn't buy that iPad; Momma or Daddy did. Leave the less expensive gifts from Santa. Be blessed you can afford what others cannot. Merry Christmas."

On Hodgson's post, commenters applauded the message, sharing related details. One who is also a social worker said, "TRUTH! This is the worst time of year for my families. Domestic abuse goes way up because of stress. Parents getting locked up because they're stealing for their children or doing something illegal to get money. It's heartbreaking! Thank God for people who donate, but they aren't usually donating electronics or pricey items."

Another commenter said she didn't agree with having to sacrifice her child's "imagination for the the less fortunate." "I understand, and I have empathy for everyone, but you also have to teach your children not to covet what other people have," she wrote. "It's always going to be someone who has something that another child can't have."

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On the original Facebook post, which has earned 102K shares, commenters voiced similarly passionate and differing opinions. One shared, "Everyone is so worried about making sure that their kids believe in Santa as long as possible. I'm all for it. I want my two to believe too! But let's get real, if your kid gets a bunch of toys for Christmas, and that iPad or PlayStation is the only thing that momma or daddy bought them, do you honestly think that it is going to ruin their Christmas because Santa didn't bring that iPad? Do you honestly think that they are just going to be like, 'Santa didn't bring me that, so he must not be real!' If so, this proves that our kids have gotten so wrapped up in material things and not what the true meaning of Christmas is all about."

Another mom proposed a smart solution: "My parents did it that way. They bought the big stuff for Christmas Eve, and Santa brought small stocking stuffers. This was true for many of my friends: Christmas Eve was the big night, Santa the smaller stuff."

No matter how families choose to label their gifts, Jackson's message is one that deserves sharing every year. After all, holidaytime is ultimately about much more than lavish gifts. It's about the importance of family, community, and empathy—all themes that are bigger and more important to impart than the origin story of a pricey tech device.

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