The Nice and Naughty List

santa-list-jpg2Last year, I found a website that allowed parents to place their children’s names on Santa’s Nice and Naughty Lists. I took full advantage of it. If the kids were misbehaving, I had them gather around the computer as I pulled up the Naughty List. If they did their chores and played nicely with each other, I showed them their names on the Nice List.

Before I found this website, Nee had stopped believing in Santa. She was in second grade and all of her classmates had convinced her that believing in Santa was babyish. But seeing her name on the screen, made her believe again.

We reviewed the list on a weekly basis between Thanksgiving and Christmas. On Christmas Eve the children were anxious to see what their fate would bring. As I logged on to the website and navigated to the Nice List, I could hear Nee and N in the background saying, “Please let my name be there. Please. Please.” When I opened the list, the children eagerly scrolled through the names until they spotted theirs. Both children were relieved that they would have a Merry Christmas after all.

Unfortunately, the children learned nothing from their time on the Naughty List because they have had a naughty relapse.

I planned to use the Nice/Naughty website to manage their behavior throughout the holiday season, but I couldn’t find it so I had to take matters into my own hands. I set up a fake e-mail address (sant_claus@email.com) and sent myself the following message:

Dear Mocha Dad,

HO HO HO! Thanks for contacting me. I have attached the Naughty List as requested. I’m sad to say that Nee, N and X are on the Naughty List. That’s too bad because I was looking forward to getting Nee an Alexis Liv Doll, N a Bow and Arrow, and X a new basketball goal.

The children are on the Naughty List for the following reasons: Nee was very disrespectful to her mother a few days ago. N didn’t follow directions in the car pool line and got in trouble. And X makes a habit of being naughty almost everyday. All three kids need to do a better job of being nice to each other and cleaning their rooms. In all of my years of delivering gifts, I have never seen messier rooms.

But they still have a chance to get on the Nice List. If they follow directions, do well in school, clean up their rooms, do their chores, and treat each other with respect, then maybe I will take them off the Naughty List. But they don’t have much time to change their ways. There are only a few more days until Christmas. If their names are still on the list on December 23rd, there will be no gifts from Santa.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving. Christmas will be here before you know it.

Sincerely,

Santa Claus

The children were shaking in their boots as I read the e-mail message to them. They were even more terrified when I opened the attachment and showed them their names on the Naughty List (I added their cousins’ names to the list to make it more believable).

Since then, Nee has been much more helpful around the house. She does chores unprompted and leaves a special note behind that reads: “Another great job by Nee.” I think I could get used to this behavior.

When the kids get out of line, all of I have to do is sit at my desk and say, “I’m e-mailing Santa,” and their conduct immediately improves.

I know that it won’t be long before Santa and I are both exposed as frauds. But I intend to milk it as long as I can.

Stay Strong,

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About the author
Frederick J. Goodall is the founder of Mocha Dad - a parenting website focused on fatherhood. He is passionate about parenting and helping men to be great dads, husbands, and role models. You can contact him at fjgoodall@mochadad.com or on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mochadad
  1. I find it HARD TO BELIEVE he’s never seen messier rooms! In all his years? You’re talking hundreds of years here! And can he really judge how messy it is just from–I assume–looking at a photo you attached to your emailed report?

    Good luck to your three kids. That Santa guy is not very easy to please!

  2. I find it HARD TO BELIEVE he’s never seen messier rooms! In all his years? You’re talking hundreds of years here! And can he really judge how messy it is just from–I assume–looking at a photo you attached to your emailed report?

    Good luck to your three kids. That Santa guy is not very easy to please!

  3. We’ve done the generic form letter from Santa before. I’m going to look for something you described. If I find it I’ll let you know.

  4. We’ve done the generic form letter from Santa before. I’m going to look for something you described. If I find it I’ll let you know.

  5. The never seen messier rooms was a nice touch. I guess you better milk it for all its worth while they still believe. Happy Thanksgiving.

  6. The never seen messier rooms was a nice touch. I guess you better milk it for all its worth while they still believe. Happy Thanksgiving.

  7. I love this idea of a naughty/nice list! My oldest is 5 and he is in a big pain-in-the-butt phase. The kid is rude. It makes me crazy. (I should be clear, though. He only is rude to me and his father. He is absolutely charming in the presence of any other adult and/or child. This makes me crazier.) I may have to take advantage of the coming Christmas holiday to see if I can bribe his butt into behaving.

  8. I love this idea of a naughty/nice list! My oldest is 5 and he is in a big pain-in-the-butt phase. The kid is rude. It makes me crazy. (I should be clear, though. He only is rude to me and his father. He is absolutely charming in the presence of any other adult and/or child. This makes me crazier.) I may have to take advantage of the coming Christmas holiday to see if I can bribe his butt into behaving.

  9. Very funny. Our oldest has convinced his younger brother that its all a fake…we had trouble describing with a straight face when we were already telling them about how superheros and the like are not real. We might need to give this a try!

  10. Very funny. Our oldest has convinced his younger brother that its all a fake…we had trouble describing with a straight face when we were already telling them about how superheros and the like are not real. We might need to give this a try!

  11. I love it! What a great idea!! I have a few years before my 1 year old will get the “naughty list” email from Santa, but this had me and my husband cracking up! I hope your kids shape up before Christmas!
    Happy Holidays!

  12. I love it! What a great idea!! I have a few years before my 1 year old will get the “naughty list” email from Santa, but this had me and my husband cracking up! I hope your kids shape up before Christmas!
    Happy Holidays!

  13. To Santa,
    I am very happy you’re going to everyone’s houses tonight. I have milk and biscuits for you tonight. Ho, ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas Santa.

    Love,
    Meisha xoxoxo

  14. To Santa,
    I am very happy you’re going to everyone’s houses tonight. I have milk and biscuits for you tonight. Ho, ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas Santa.

    Love,
    Meisha xoxoxo