Author Topic: Is that you, Santa?  (Read 2070 times)

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kategillian

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Is that you, Santa?
« on: December 12, 2013, 08:02:48 PM »
I live in a very small town of about 900 people, of which maybe 60 are 4th grade and under kids. Every year the Fire Dept buys them all presents, and the Ladies Aux, that I'm a member of, wraps and organizes the giveaway. This Sunday Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the Fire Barn giving out personalized gifts to all of those children. It is a wonderful tradition, it is so sweet to see the kids go from babies to terrified toddlers to brave little kids who walk right up to Santa and sit on his lap. Sometimes the older people on the island have some grandchildren visiting, and they call to say "Susie who is 5 will be here on Sunday', and we say great! We'll make sure she has a present. The etiquette issue here is that, year after year, people just show up! And they just get right in line, while we're all whispering to each other... Who is that? Are they on the list? Do we have a present for them? Then we run into the back to wrap one (we always have extras) while someone out front is distracting the kid from the fact that Santa has nothing for him (yet). I want to shake the parents and say ' you know that's not ACTUALLY Santa, right? Where the bleepy bleep do you think these presents come from!?!

CookieChica

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Re: Is that you, Santa?
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2013, 08:11:18 PM »
I'm confused. Is there an RSVP process that people are ignoring?

Also, why not wrap the presents in advance and mark them so you know what's in the package?

MommyPenguin

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Re: Is that you, Santa?
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2013, 08:16:51 PM »
My guess is that she's saying that her town buys presents for the kids in the town.  But every year, people from other towns hear about this, and they come because FREE STUFF!  But of course, since they aren't actually living in the town, nobody knows who they are, and so the planners don't have gifts prepared for them.

I think that either you need to have some sort of checkin process where you verify that the person lives in the town, or you need to be resigned to the fact that every year you'll have interlopers because FREE STUFF!  Some of them might just be moochers, and others might honestly not realize that the event is meant for townspeople only.

Bales

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Re: Is that you, Santa?
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2013, 08:30:39 PM »
Hmmm, I wonder if you could combine a sign in with some sort of process whereby if not pre-registered, they get a generic (and inexpensive) gender-neutral gift?  That way you aren't turning any kids away, but also not running out of funds and/or stressing about the "visitors"

esposita

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Re: Is that you, Santa?
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2013, 08:43:40 PM »
That is really sweet, but you need to get some kind of verification process or sign-in going, asap! I can see this getting worse and worse as time goes on. Like MommyPenguin said, FREE STUFF!!

My only other idea is to have a special note to hand the kids who haven't registered, that says something like "Santa will be bringing /your/ present on Christmas morning." But I can imagine that being pretty awful for the poor kids who's parents don't care or don't know how this is supposed to work... maybe someone has better wording for a note like that.

It needs to be clear from the get-go what this is and how it works though, because if it seems like a free for all, come get a gift type of thing, people are going to take advantage of that, big time.

Winterlight

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Re: Is that you, Santa?
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2013, 08:51:05 PM »
Hmmm, I wonder if you could combine a sign in with some sort of process whereby if not pre-registered, they get a generic (and inexpensive) gender-neutral gift?  That way you aren't turning any kids away, but also not running out of funds and/or stressing about the "visitors"

This seems like the best option.  Either that or a required sign-in ahead of time, and someone with a strong stomach to deal with turning the drop-ins away.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
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PastryGoddess

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Re: Is that you, Santa?
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2013, 08:59:42 PM »
Stop promising presents to the people who do not live in town.  There is no reason for people to stop coming because hey FREE STUFF!

As other posters have said It's only going to get worse.

Since the Ladies Aux organizes the giveaway, there must be someone with a master list of kids names and addresses right?  Is this list in spreadsheet format?  If so, then how about making sure that the spreadsheet has at least 1 tab with only the kids who live on the island.  Another spreadsheet can be for non islanders who want to take part. If it were me, I'd require the parents to come with a gift for their kids so they can be wrapped when they get there.

Oh Joy

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Re: Is that you, Santa?
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2013, 07:36:59 AM »
If you're looking for a solution, could you mail some sort of invitation to the island kids and include a ticket of sorts (like special paper for a letter to Santa) and just have dollar store toys for unexpected children?

My guess is that part of the problem is that this appears to be open to the public, but it's really a private event, KWIM?  I can't automatically call visiting families greedy...how is this event publicized?

mbbored

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Re: Is that you, Santa?
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2013, 08:08:36 AM »
If you're looking for a solution, could you mail some sort of invitation to the island kids and include a ticket of sorts (like special paper for a letter to Santa) and just have dollar store toys for unexpected children?

My guess is that part of the problem is that this appears to be open to the public, but it's really a private event, KWIM?  I can't automatically call visiting families greedy...how is this event publicized?

This is pretty brilliant.

KarenK

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Re: Is that you, Santa?
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2013, 08:41:34 AM »
Unfortunately, this is the way the world is going. Some people, whether through cluelessness or design, will always try to take advantage where they can. Thus, a sweet local tradition - Santa giving a present to all the children in the community at a town holiday party - has to evolve to providing proof of residency to get a toy car. The only solution is to either stop giving gifts at all, or have people check in, and turn away anyone that does not live in your community.

At the very least, people should check in, so you have a head's up on how many extra presents to get ready!

kategillian

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Re: Is that you, Santa?
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2013, 09:55:31 AM »
Hi, OP here! My town is an island, and the ferry costs about $20 per person round trip, so people definitely are not going to spend $60 for a family of 3 to get a $10 gift. These are just relatives of island residents who happen to be here for the holidays, and hear that Santa is coming to town.

It's a great idea to have presents prewrapped, in age groups, and we do do that. My issue is with the people who just show up and expect the present to be under the tree!

lowspark

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Re: Is that you, Santa?
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2013, 10:02:18 AM »
You must be publicizing this event somehow, right? Even if just to say date, time and place? So whatever posters you are putting up, or article in the newspaper, or website, can you also put something to the effect that Santa will need advance notice of all kids who do not live on the island but who will be attending so that he can make sure his elves pack their gift?

It does sound like you are willing to accommodate those guests, as you noted that some people actually do notify you in advance. Of course, no matter what, there will be some people who just show up anyway. Have you ever run out of gifts?

BeagleMommy

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Re: Is that you, Santa?
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2013, 10:34:48 AM »
You must be publicizing this event somehow, right? Even if just to say date, time and place? So whatever posters you are putting up, or article in the newspaper, or website, can you also put something to the effect that Santa will need advance notice of all kids who do not live on the island but who will be attending so that he can make sure his elves pack their gift?

It does sound like you are willing to accommodate those guests, as you noted that some people actually do notify you in advance. Of course, no matter what, there will be some people who just show up anyway. Have you ever run out of gifts?

This is brilliant!

kategillian

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Re: Is that you, Santa?
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2013, 01:48:14 PM »
Beaglemommy, that's an excellent idea. And we have had to hand not exactly age appropriate ones because of the extra people.

lowspark

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Re: Is that you, Santa?
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2013, 02:43:00 PM »
You must be publicizing this event somehow, right? Even if just to say date, time and place? So whatever posters you are putting up, or article in the newspaper, or website, can you also put something to the effect that Santa will need advance notice of all kids who do not live on the island but who will be attending so that he can make sure his elves pack their gift?

It does sound like you are willing to accommodate those guests, as you noted that some people actually do notify you in advance. Of course, no matter what, there will be some people who just show up anyway. Have you ever run out of gifts?

This is brilliant!

 :) Thanks!!