MONIQUE BATSON — Less social media sharing adds to magic of Christmas

Published 12:04 am Thursday, December 23, 2021

It seems every Christmas morning I see what 100-plus kids received as presents. Most of the time, I already knew because I was still awake when every parent took to Facebook to post a photo saying, “Santa was here.”

There were times I looked at what Santa had brought just one child wondering if he had come close to doing enough at my house. But every year my four kids got 10 presents each, and I joined the rest of the world in posting all the happy unwrapping photos the next morning.

Until I didn’t anymore.

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Until the year I read something that not only made me question the concept of Santa as well as my own behavior. And following the past two years, it seems like a good reminder for all of us.

Since the start of the pandemic, so many families have faced the loss of a job — or worse yet, the loss of a loved one. Prices continue to climb while earnings do not. Stress and pressure like that means there will likely be newly divorced families navigating the holidays as single parents. While I’m a few years into the process, it certainly isn’t an easy one.

I’m fortunate that I can provide what my children need and sometimes what they want. But — as kids do — they don’t think much about the cost of utilities or a monthly car note when they send a gift list that practically requires a loan.

Still, we always found a way to make it happen.

And then I realized they were going back to school after winter break telling their friends that Santa brought them a smart TV when Santa had only brought their friend a new outfit or package of socks.

Nothing will strip the magic of Christmas from a child like wondering why Santa was so giving to some kids and not them.

And so I stopped posting photos what amounted to nothing but bragging on my part. Then I asked them to please do the same. And once they reached the age of understanding, I explained why. It’s OK to tell your friends you got (enter a few small things here), but leave out the smart TV, please. Or better yet, try and avoid the conversation altogether.

So parents, I ask of you this: Remind yourself that Santa doesn’t make PlayStations. Sony does. If you’re going to allow your child to receive gifts from Santa, please make them small and humble.

The “big” gifts should come from you. And even then, perhaps ask your kids not to discuss those gifts with their friends, whose parents weren’t necessarily able to afford much — if anything — this year.

We’ve all been through so much, and our children didn’t go unaffected. And we only have so many years to experience the holiday magic through their eyes.

Let us do our best to ensure we don’t take it from anyone else.

Merry Christmas.


Monique Batson is the Port Arthur Newsmedia editor and can be reached at