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No, Santa doesn’t come to “good” kids only

We have been raised by our parents or even our grandparents telling us that we are either good or naughty.

Good girl,” they’d say when a child does what she’s expected to.

“You are a very naughty boy!” they’d shout when a child does something he was not supposed to do.

Now, the distinction between these two words can be seen with the naked eye. The reason we still use it to these days, though, when we have access to so many parenting solutions and advice, is foreign to me.

What we do know for sure is that calling a child “naughty” is more of convenience than it is to correct a behaviour.

We want our kids to do what we tell them to do and it is what most of us have seen our parents doing too. So, we are perpetuating the same behaviour.

This is not a parenting lecture, by no means. But I want us to realise since the festive season is knocking at our doors, that this “good” or “naughty” distinction is only making things worse.

I actually realised this was happening all over the UK when we launched “Letter from Santa” and we had to do some market research. We came across this ugly distinction way too many times and, while I understand it’s somehow embodied in our routine, it helps nobody. On the contrary. So, we took it out of our letters, with no seconds thoughts.

I come from a country where “naughtiness” was punished, indeed. And I remember my grandmother, an extraordinary woman, by the way, saying “Santa won’t come if you’re being naughty, young lady! And I will let your mother know you splashed the walls with paint and let the chicks out last night when it was freezing outside!”. Different reasons every time, of course.

Children are not good or bad, they are all incredible! And if our financial situation allows it, we should celebrate this every year!

Now, I want you to believe me, there wasn’t a single part of me, as a child, who wanted to ruin the walls or leave the chicks outside to die (they didn’t by the way). All I wanted to do was to be of help.

I wasn’t naughty, I was a good child with good intentions. I just had no proper ways of physically carry on with my good intentions. I wish my grandmother knew that because I lived with that guilt of not being good enough for years. And every year on Christmas, during all that time I still believed in Santa, I was afraid he won’t come.

That experience helped me parent my own child, although I still have times when that word sits on the top of my tongue, ready to roll out and call my little girl “naughty.”

I still have that urge to shout at her and call her “naughty” when she scribbles her name on the walls, because she’s just too excited to have learned how to write to remember the “only write on paper” rule.

I still want to do it when she climbs on the furniture and throws herself on the sofa, acting like she’s flying, because she plays pretend and she really believes she’s a superhero.

And I still want to call her the “N word” when we’re doing groceries and she starts screaming she wants a toy, simply because we haven’t set up some rules before heading to the shop.

Although this entire baking experience might become messy, it's a great lesson to them!

And it’s a constant battle, but I believe it’s sooo worth it.

Our children are not “good” or “naughty”. They are all incredible kids, doing nothing but being… kids.

So, Santa will come, indeed. If he won’t, then there must be a very good reason for that. And that reason is not that your child has been bad.

Because, next time we feel the urge to tell our children “Because of that, I’ll tell Santa not to come!” let’s imagine for a second what would a parent who simply doesn’t have the money to buy his kids presents say. Is he supposed to tell them they’ve all been naughty then?


Cristina Guraliuc storyteller

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