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To give a gift-wrapped potato to DD on Christmas morning?

(390 Posts)
Skittlesandbeer Fri 15-Dec-17 21:47:38

Was chatting with school mums yesterday while we watched kids play sport. This idea was raised, and split opinion in the group.

Given that most of us have used Santa/Father Christmas coming as a carrot or a stick to encourage good behaviour in DC over November and December, doesn’t it follow that we should deal with the bad behaviour on the Christmas present pile as well?

Is it unreasonable to add a beautifully gift-wrapped potato with a label that says that this would have been a another proper present from Santa, had the behaviour been better?

This came out of a conversation about how our kids (aged 4-8) have cottoned on to the disconnect between their mums harping on about Santa’s ‘naughty or nice’ list, and in reality there’s actually a shed load of stuff to open (even though they know they’ve been naughty). One mum said her kids sneer that Santa doesn’t care, and they know they can get presents anyway so why bother being good?

I quite liked the idea, and of keeping the potato in the ‘loot pile’ for a while afterwards as a reminder (until I can’t be arsed going to the shops and cook it for their dinner!).

So AIBU to wrap one?

And perhaps give it to DD first, if she wakes me at 5.30am on the 25th after I’ve had to coordinate 40 pairs of coat hanger/tinsel angel wings for Christmas Eve mass? fgrin

A valid parenting hack, or unreasonably mean (Christmas) spirited?

BestZebbie Fri 15-Dec-17 21:50:24

Unreasonably harsh - the solution is to not use Santa's List for discipline, not to traumatise your DC. It might "work", in that she'll always remember the potato, but in a couple of years she'll also know it was you being mean!

SouthWindsWesterly Fri 15-Dec-17 21:50:28

The bonus to giving a potato instead of coal means it can be pealed for Christmas dinner...

Usernamegone Fri 15-Dec-17 21:50:38

I thought that Father Christmas have children who had been naughty a lump of coal for Christmas - but I’ve never seen that actually happen!

EndoplasmicReticulum Fri 15-Dec-17 21:51:53

My son got a potato as one of his gifts a couple of years ago after a similar conversation. It had a smily face on it and was called "Mr Potato". He was really happy. We weren't allowed to eat Mr Potato, we planted him instead.

This method doesn't work with a child who really likes potatoes.

Helpotron3000 Fri 15-Dec-17 21:52:43

My mum gave my brother wrapped coal in his stocking when we were kids. She buried the real present underneath the coal, so he had the fright of his little life

SylviaTietjens Fri 15-Dec-17 21:53:45

My dm did this to me once. She told me that I wasn’t getting any presents due to behaviour. She put all the presents under the tree a few days before Xmas - there were presents for me and I was so happy, thanked dm and apologised for behaviour. On xmas day I opened a box of tissues, a tin of beans and some of my old clothes she’d wrapped up. Everyone thought it was hilarious. I didn’t and it still makes me feel sad.

C0untDucku1a Fri 15-Dec-17 21:55:20

Id say discipline your child at the time of the misbehaviour and dont use santa / police / teacher as a threat. It just makes you look weak. Kids smell weakness.

missiondecision Fri 15-Dec-17 21:55:31

It’s mean
If you manage all year to disciple your dc without props just keep doing what you always do.

Flopjustwantscoffee Fri 15-Dec-17 21:58:14

The teachers at my sons nursery apparently told them naughty children would get a potatoe instead of a different present (they are nice people so probably said it jokingly). My son relayed this story to me really excitedly because he loves potatoes so apperently he's going to be really naughty to make sure he gets one.... hmm

Schlimbesserung Fri 15-Dec-17 21:58:41

I see what you're trying to do, but your child will probably remember it as spiteful and petty.

Flopjustwantscoffee Fri 15-Dec-17 21:59:16

Also, I always thought a lump of coal was a really stupid thing to leave for a naughty child - soooooo messy

parrotonmyshoulder Fri 15-Dec-17 22:00:21

Horrible.
Stop frightening children into submission.

Audreyhelp Fri 15-Dec-17 22:00:41

Sylvia what a horrible mum you had . Christmas should be happy memories not opening up a potato an awful thing to do.

Imsorrynow Fri 15-Dec-17 22:00:56

Please don’t

stickytoffeevodka Fri 15-Dec-17 22:01:07

Don't use Father Christmas as a threat - it's mean.

Discipline them the same way you normally would at any other time of year.

stickygotstuck Fri 15-Dec-17 22:01:27

My niece got coal for Christmas one year in response to a string of bad behaviour events that were out of character. That was the first present she opened. There were some real presents too.

She was very upset initially, cheered up when she opened the rest and we explained that obviously Santa must have know she had been naughty sometimes (but good the rest of the time or there would be no other presents).

Now in her 20s she laughs at it and thinks it was a great idea.

I had a "pet" potato for a while so not sure I'd be very upset if I were your DC, OP...

Sarahjconnor Fri 15-Dec-17 22:01:32

Awww thats really mean but we do joke presents - we just don't say they're for being badly behaved. When DS was 4 he did an xmas note saying

"Thanks for all the lovely presents Father Christmas, I liked everything, b but you don't need to bother with satsumas and apples this year. Love MiniConnor"

That year he unwrapped his stocking to find a pineapple and every year since he gets a weird or huge fruit or vegetable. It's hilarious and we all look forward to it.

This year - an absolutely huge yam grin

WhoWants2Know Fri 15-Dec-17 22:02:54

OMG, my kids would laugh so hard if one of their presents was a potato. They would also enjoy coal, and add it to the “special rock” pile.

ladybirdsaredotty Fri 15-Dec-17 22:03:03

Just thinking about doing this to my kids makes me feel sad. Plus it's not fair to leave such a gap between bad behaviour and punishment for young children, in my opinion. It is also pointless as it doesn't address the behaviour at the time.

Flopjustwantscoffee Fri 15-Dec-17 22:03:33

And Sylvia sad that's really mean

64BooLane Fri 15-Dec-17 22:04:59

Oh Sylvia that’s horrible. I’m furious on behalf of small you. flowers

Cromwell1536 Fri 15-Dec-17 22:05:53

Nope. Shitty thing to do. Don't use Christmas as an opportunity to rebuke your children by suggesting they would have had a nicer time if you were not disappointed in their behaviour. What kind of crap parent does that?

sparklepops123 Fri 15-Dec-17 22:05:53

Why would you put a chid down to make you feel better confused

Gormless Fri 15-Dec-17 22:06:24

I wouldn’t mess with a day in the year where lasting memories (good and bad) are especially easy to create. Deal with issues at the time. Whatever ones beliefs, if any, or none, most of us would surely subscribe to the idea of Christmas as a time of forgiveness and hope.

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