Pros and Cons to Using Santa’s Naughty and Nice List Over the Holidays

Have you been naughty or nice?
Have you been naughty or nice?

“Have you been naughty or nice?” is a question that parents have been asking their kids for years when the Christmas holidays are approaching. Many kids grow up believing that Santa has a recorded list of everything they have done throughout the year, whether naughty or nice.

While it seems beneficial to keep kids under control by telling them Santa is watching what they do or not do, the whole idea about it can be quite confusing for kids. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of the list gimmick.

On the Pro Side:

Keep Kids Motivated

If kids know that Santa is watching all year long, they may feel like helping out more when others need help. Of course, you want them to do these things out of the goodness of their hearts, but if they get off to the right start because they believe it will place them on Santa’s good side, why not? It’s all about motivation and encouragement.

Encourage Kindness and Sharing

When you tell your kids (the ones who still strongly believe in Santa Claus) that Santa is taking notes on their behavior, it might actually motivate them to be more kind, share more and mind their manners more.

Teaching them that Only Good Things Come to Those that Help out

Even though it may seem like a sneaky trick that parents pull, it can actually teach some fantastic lessons to kids. If kids are constantly minding how they behave, they may help out more in their community, help more around the house, and learn that by being helpful brings happiness to all.

On the Con Side:

They Might Always Expect Material Things

If kids believe that Santa will give them gifts if they stay on the “nice” side of the list, they may forget what is truly important and just expect material items when they are good. This could become a habit and may be a big mistake come Christmas Day. They might expect a landslide of gifts because they ‘made an effort’ to be good when really it should be an everyday event in their lives.

Kids Might Feel Horrible if They Act Out and Have a Bad Day

Kids may not always express guilt, fear, and worry. If they feel as though Santa (a.k.a one of their heroes) is watching every move they make, and then they make a mistake or act out one day, they may become scared. They may feel as though they messed up and that Santa won’t love them anymore, and most importantly won’t come to visit on Christmas Eve. This is mostly for the younger kids that truly believe in Santa Claus. You might have one guilt-ridden kid on your hands!

Anxiety Over the Christmas Holidays

Kids have a lot of anxiety about different scenarios and events in life. While the Christmas holidays may bring on anxiety for many adults for various reasons, Christmas is generally a very happy time for kids. If your child has a bad day here and there, they may begin to feel sad and believe that Santa won’t come for them. This may cause great anxiety in your child days and possibly weeks before Christmas.

If we could encourage our children to be good out of their kindness of their hearts instead of expecting something in return, we have won part of the parenting battle. It’s time to kick materialistic attitudes to the curb and encourage more giving and sharing among our children.

How does the naughty or nice Santa list work for you? Share with us!

Natasha Lees

Natasha Lees has been a freelance copywriter for over 15 years and has written for a variety of publications, both online and offline. She is a loving mother to her toddler son and step-mom to three amazing teens ages 13 to 16. When she isn't busy with her family, you'll find her writing or planning her next vacation escape or media trip. She has written for companies such as The New York Times Company, Sunwing Vacations Inc., Mastercard Caribbean and Princess Cruises to name a few. She adores her new writing role in the Piccolo Universe and continues to provide readers with articles and stories regarding her personal family experiences, challenges and parenting tips.

1 Comment
  1. I love your article Natasha. Pros and cons are hitting the point. To avoid cons I told my children the truth from an early age, that Santa does not bring toys. Toys under the tree are from mom and dad and other family members. However, I always remind them that Santa is real, and is some kind of energy, so positive and so joyful that lucky for those who take time to notice it. I remind my children to make a wish, any wish, and wait for it. The wish comes true believe it or not in the next year, sometimes pretty quick and sometimes it may take longer, until closer to the next Christmas. I also remind my children that it is not about whether they had been nice or naughty, but whether they believe that they are loved and watched and protected in every step of the way, and most importantly, that they are always forgiven if they understand their mistakes, so no guilt feeling may come between them and Santa.

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