Santa Claus may have a lighter load this year.
Mothers' Union, a faith-based UK charity, is urging parents to ban Christmas wish lists from their holiday traditions. It’s not because they’re hateful scrooges. But rather, a survey conducted by the organization found that allowing kids to rattle off their dream gifts may push moms and dads into buying presents they can’t afford, The Telegraph reports.
“The pressure this brings to bear on family relationships and happiness is enormous,” Reg Bailey, chief executive of Mothers’ Union, said in a statement. “Our survey shows that Christmas is the time of year when parents feel most pressurised into buying their children gifts which are over their budget, or inappropriate to their age.”
The survey found 84 percent of parents have bought last-minute gifts because the original pile of presents looked a bit thin. And 46 percent have run into financial problems over the celebratory season, even going so far as to take out loans, to make sure their kids’ holiday hopes come true.
While the proposed ban has drawn some support from religious figures, opponents say that such a measure is unnecessary and that the survey leaves out some critical facts.
“How do the numbers compare to 10 or 20 years ago, or to other countries? Guardian columnist, Ally Fogg wrote in an open letter to Mr. Claus. “Can you tell me, Santa, because, frankly, I'm buggered if I know.”
But Mothers’ Union disagrees and says it just wants to keep disappointment out of the picture over what should be a joyous time.
“We wouldn’t want to spoil the traditions of Christmas,” Bailey said in a statement, “but we are asking parents to consider ditching the Christmas list specifically to help reduce this sense of disappointment at what should be a time of happiness for all the family.”
Click through the slideshow below to read inspiring stories of Secret Santas who gave generous gifts anonymously.
Hope was renewed after an alleged thief stole the money from Chicago's Toys For Tots Foundation. To help replenish the supply and ensure Christmas joy for the thousands of area children the organization reaches, a generous donor gave $25,000, the Chicago Tribune reports. His only request? To remain anonymous.
Money was inevitably tight for Maria Vargas, who spent her life's savings on monthly treatment as she battles Stage Four cancer. But that changed when Vargas received an anonymous check for $10,000, left in a sack of avocados on her doorstep, KTVU reports. The family had been protesting outside of a Kaiser facility, claiming misdiagnosis allowed a tumor to grow out of control.
If you ask a child his ideal Christmas present, you're likely to get a resounding answer: a bike. One donor in Oregon has been making that a reality for the past decade. In 10 years, he's given out almost 1,300 bikes KDRV reports. He's remained anonymous and is simply referred to as "Bike Santa."
Anonymous donations have caught on at stores across the country. Kindhearted Secret Santas are paying off remaining Kmart layaway balances for families nationwide, the Associated Press reported. These Santas have started spreading the love to other stores as well, hitting up Wal-Marts in Joplin, Mo., according to the AP.
Sometimes gifts for children don't come in the form of a firetruck or a new doll. An anonymous donor paid for an extended motel stay for Kim Artis and her 10-year-old daughter and 18-year-old disabled son as holiday budgets threatened to put them on the streets, the State Journal-Register reported.