The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: The Santa Question Edition

Several readers have asked me whether or not my children believe in Santa Claus. The answer is simple: yes, they do, but without active encouragement from me.

When children are young, their imaginations are in hyperdrive. They believe things to be real that aren’t real. My son, for example, had two imaginary friends for a while that didn’t have names. Rather than telling him that they weren’t real, I basically helped him to name them, played with them, and over time, we made up a pretty large back story about them. At age four, he no longer believes they’re real or pretends to play with them, but we still make jokes about Ralph and Norman. In fact, two Christmas gifts under the tree this year are labeled as being from Ralph and Norman.

When I’m asked directly about Santa, I tell him the truth: Santa has lots and lots of helpers that help make Christmas a little bit magical, which I consider to be absolutely true. I don’t tell him that I might be one of those helpers – there’s no need to. His imagination runs wild with the possibilities anyway. I see no need at all to stomp a boot into his imagination.

To us, Santa is an embellishment of a real person, an embellishment that represents something very real and powerful – giving to your friends and loved ones as well as giving to charity. I don’t see any reason to quash my child’s imagination with regards to that. We just make sure that the children see that the best part of Christmas is the giving, not the receiving.

Anyway, on with some personal finance links.

What’s Your Trajectory? Taking action isn’t enough. Having a direction isn’t enough, either. Your actions need to have direction if you want to get anywhere when it comes to your dreams. (@ jonathan fields)

Teaching Children to Fight Clutter My perspective is that clutter goes hand-in-hand with the accumulation of too many material items, which is often linked to financial problems. As I watch my children slowly accumulate toys, I’m beginning to plan a big decluttering of their items soon – perhaps in the early summer when we have a yard sale. (@ unclutterer)

Don’t Try to Keep That Resolution I think she’s on to something when she says to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Quite often, our resolutions demand perfection – a perfection we can’t possibly achieve – and thus we fail, and feel bad about ourselves. (@ happiness project)

You Can Negotiate Anything You certainly can, but there are costs to this kind of behavior. I have ended budding relationships and walked away from businesses I once trusted because of people doing things like “playing dumb” or using hardball negotiating tactics. Treating others like pawns for your own manipulation and personal gain is not something I want in my life – and I think a lot of people feel the same way as I do. (@ get rich slowly)

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