It's December! Cold and snow (yeah, right, not with global warming) and, of course, Christmas! My kiddo has conscientiously poured over Toys R Us catalogs and other ads, circling everything she wants. Which is more or less everything in the catalog. Her behavior, though, is less than stellar. This is not out of the ordinary; it is often less than stellar. She is 5, after all. However, what I really love about the holidays, especially the time leading up to Christmas, is the threat of displeasing Santa.
I have to admit that we don't have an Elf on the Shelf. Shocking, yes, but that is the subject of another post. That's not to say that I don't use Christmas as a threat. I do. In fact, just today I have had to threaten to call the North Pole. Twice. I don't save these threats for major meltdowns, either. Whining? I'm gonna call the North Pole. Not cooperating? I'm texting Santa. Attitude? I'm sending an email. All of these threats result in pleas of "No! Don't do it!" and a rapid improvement of behavior. Is this considered bribery? Aren't we, as good parents, not supposed to resort to bribery in order to guarantee good behavior? The parenting gurus are opposed to bribery...I say: whatever works!
Listen, all too soon, the kiddo won't even believe in Santa. I'm going to get as much mileage out of this season as I can. If you are one of the minority, like me, who don't even have a resident Elf, feel free to borrow my primary blackmail tool: when the kiddo is misbehaving, I whip out my phone and call my mom. When she answers, I say "This is [the kiddo's] mom. I need to report ___." Fortunately, my mom is smart enough to play along (if she protested too loudly, the kiddo might be able to hear her and recognize her voice). I can then relay a "message" from one of the elves, basically telling the kiddo to knock it off or she won't get anything on Christmas. Most likely, by next year she will be suspicious and ask to talk to the elf. I'm not sure that my mom is up for that, so I may be auditioning potential elves before then. Or I may just cave and get an Elf on the Shelf.