Soon after Labor Day anytime my kids ask for something, my response is always the same: "Put it on your Christmas list." This seems to briefly satisfy their material desires, that is, of course, until they realize that they will not get everything on their lists.
Several years ago someone gave me a pre-printed letter to Santa with eight spots for gift requests. So, my children get to ask Santa for eight things. They labor over their choices, using only pencil so they can constantly delete and add to the list as their wishes change. In the beginning, they usually have a hard time coming up with eight things even though they seem to always be asking me for "stuff" throughout the year. There is also the question of what is appropriate.
"Mommy, can I just put 'books' on my list as one line? Can that count as one thing?" she asks, her pencil eraser poised to make a change depending on my answer to her question.
"Yes, small things can be part of a group, one line, that's fine," I say. Her list already includes not-so-small stuff like a wake board that I'm pretty sure Santa is not going to be able to fit in his red sack.
My youngest daughter has an especially hard time with her list, hemming and hawing about getting it just right. She constantly asks me for suggestions as she insists on finishing it in one sitting. When she is finally done, she proudly hands it to me.
Santa definitely has his work cut out for him this year evidenced by item No. 4: "a dog."