Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

I have significant disdain for Elf on the Shelf. He and I are not friends because I find him creepy and manipulative. However, do you know what makes me more upset? How parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and girlfriends and boyfriends all feel ok telling little children that Santa won’t bring them shit if they don’t behave.


You could step up as adults and encourage good behavior year round. Let’s not rely on dear old Santa to do the heavy lifting once a year, hmm?

I know, Santa has a “naughty” and “nice” list, but can’t we just compare that to literally everything else in our lives? A pint of ice cream has serving size suggestions, but I don’t pay any attention to that. Let’s be real, the famous list is all for show, because every kid deserves a present.

I’ll say that again. Every kid deserves a present.

Every kid deserves to know that they are worthy. Children aren’t inherently “naughty” or “nice.” Kids make poor decisions, sure. But so does every adult, and we still feel ok with the “treat yo self” mentality. I don’t see you holding back at Sephora, Carol, and I know you haven’t been gold this year.

Please, don’t tell a kid that Santa won’t bring them presents if they aren’t being good. Just reinforce the same message all year round (gasp) that could behavior is expected regardless of rewards. Kids don’t need a creepy elf to report back or a magic snow globe that monitors their behavior. The list is part of the magic, but it should never be a crutch for parents.

Children aren’t stupid. One of two things will happen:

  • Your children will figure out that regardless of how they behave, presents will still be under the tree. Are you bold enough to call the bluff? Especially as they get older, they’ll test the theory and find out pretty quickly that you’re full of shit.


  • They’ll discover nothing under the tree and stop caring about presents. If they’ve been told repeatedly that they are “naughty” they’ll start doing you a favor and fulfilling that wish. If there are no presents, they’ve got nothing to lose. Might as well do what they want.

We all make bad choices. No child is perfectly behaved, and sure, some are a little more challenging than others. However, every child deserves a present on Christmas. Every child deserves to know that they are loved without conditions, at least once a year.

I’m not saying this because I think parents who use Santa to manipulate are lazy (even if I do think that, it’s not my point.) My point is, there is so much pressure on kids to do the right thing and make the right choices. It’s hard being young and out of control of so many things, so for one freaking day, let them have a moment with no expectations. Santa gives gifts to every girl and boy, including the naughty ones.