Last 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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.