We have a large family. With that large family, we have a few different religions and therefore, we are lucky to celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. It is a crazy time of year and gets even crazier during gift opening time! We had a family party last weekend and everything was happening so fast, we went home and I was confused as to who got who what! Last year I came across a blog with a woman explaining how she only gives three gifts away from Santa. At first I thought she was nuts, then I took on the tradition myself. I worry about spoiling my girls. I want to spoil them with love and affection, not material things. Trust me, they get plenty from the relatives! Plus, I am at home with them and am on a budget!

Anyhow, here’s the deal, I read The Story of Christmas to my children which explains the meaning of Christmas (in very simple terms for infants and toddlers.) Near the end, it illustrates the three wise men, each bringing a gift to baby Jesus. Perfect for my lead in. Next, I tell my girls that Santa brings three gifts: something to read, something to wear and something to play with. We make a huge list of all the things they (I say they but really, my two month old is not making a list for Santa) want and send it off like any other child in America.

I have people ask the following two questions when I tell them about this tradition:

1. What if your child is sad because their friends get more gifts from Santa. Answer: My thinking is that by the time they have the logic to be comparing the number of gifts they get, they will no longer believe. And if this is not the case, I will have some heart to hearts with my girls and explain to them how every family is different, yada, yada.

2. Will your children have just one toy to play with on Christmas morning? Answer: no way! Don’t forget, Mama and Papa also give gifts! Plus, each child has a stocking full of fun as well! Think about it, if you are like me, you visit family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So all those gifts given on Christmas Eve will be played with on Christmas morning too!

Lastly, my friend Holly told me she buys wrapping paper with Santa Claus on it and wraps Santa gifts in this paper. Genius idea! No need for labels. We will know which gifts are from Santa and which are from Mama and Papa. Each child will have a different Santa themed paper! Perfect!

I would love to hear about your fun traditions and your sneaky ways as Santa. Do you leave cookies the night before? Do you sprinkle reindeer food outside with your kids before they go to bed. Please share! Please comment!