It is that wonderful time of year again, when we find ourselves eyeing of the brandy custard in the supermarket fridge whilst wondering what to buy great aunt Flo for Christmas this year. Surely there is only so much lavender-scented talc one woman can use?
But there is also something else that sets this time of year apart from all others. One of the parenting perks of the pre-Christmas season is that we are now collectively able to harness our powers of bribery to cajole our children into behaving nicely in order to secure themselves a visit from the portly fella in red – Santa. Of course we pay for this perk by living off turkey left-overs in the weeks that follow as we nurse our credit-card hangovers, but…thems the breaks, baby!
Hubbster and I seem to slip into this “If you don’t behave Santa won’t bring you toys,” phase before we have even registered it. This morning, already sick of the sounds of our own voices telling the children for the gawd-knows-how-many-hundreth time about the omnipresence of Santa, (particularly when Foghorn countered “What about when you are on the toilet Mummy? Does Santa watch you when you are having a poo?”) we decided to embellish further on our Santa-story.
Me: Every time Santa sees you misbehaving he takes one of your present off the pile and replaces it with a potato.
Woo: A potato? What?
Hubbster: Yep. That’s right. (gives me the you’re-so-hot-when-you’re-sneaky look)
Foghorn: (always the skeptic) How do you know?
Hubbster: Daddy had lots of potatoes when he was little. I ate mash potato for a whole month once!
Woo and Foghorn share a look of mutual horror as they imagine themselves unwrapping a 5 kilo bag of spuds each.
Bubble: I like potatoes.
Woo: Do you want a walking baby or a potato?
Bubble: I want a walking baby.
Woo: Gotta be good then.
So, now, you see, through my ingenious little tale, I have saved a little of my sanity. No longer do I have to resort to the well-versed “Santa-doesn’t-come-to-naughty-girls-and-boys” line.
No more yelling to get the kids to pay attention when they are suffering from selective hearing. No!
Now all I need to do is lean forwards with a concerned I’ve-got-your-back look on my face and whisper “Presents or Potatoes?”
It is working a treat!
What Santa-related stories have you told your kids to get them to comply?