How to Handle Last Minute Changes to Your Child’s Santa List

Many parents have been there. Just when you feel like you’re rocking this Christmas thing, you’re blindsided by last minute changes to your child’s Santa list.

How to Handle Last Minute Changes to Your Child’s Santa ListYou know the story – decorations are up, cookies are baked, gifts are all wrapped – you pour yourself a nice glass of eggnog, add a little rum, and settle down to watch a Christmas movie that makes you feel warm and fuzzy. 

Out of the corner of your eye you glimpse something your child has been working on. It’s a new letter to Santa… changing their mind about what they want for Christmas. 

Maybe it happens like this. Or maybe you’re shocked with what your kid requests when they’re sitting on his lap at the mall. 

Regardless of how it happens, let’s talk about ways to cope when you’re facing last minute changes to your child’s Santa list.

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Accommodating Last Minute Changes to Your Child’s Santa List

So say in the spirit of Christmas, you decide to indulge and get one of the items from last minute changes to your child’s Santa list.

(psssst…. If you’re looking for excuses to not get the new gift, click here or keep scrolling)

Here are a few ideas:

Santa gets the original gift, parents get the new request

Explain that Santa’s elves already made the original toy your child asked for. However, since they’ve been so good you decided to get the gift for them personally. 

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Write it down for a birthday gift

If they have a birthday soon approaching, make a mental note to get them the gift for as a birthday present. You can have a note from Santa saying something like, “The elves had already loaded the sleigh with [original requested gift]. Santa will make sure your Mom and Dad know you want [the new gift] for your birthday.”

Shipping delay 

Explain that the elves were really behind this year with all the gift requests. Due to the last minute changes to your child’s Santa list, the gift will come but it’s going to arrive a little late since they need some extra time.

Or maybe that particular machine that makes the desired item is broken, so it will be delayed until after Christmas (and you have time to go purchase the item!). 

IOU note from Santa

Print out a picture with an IOU note from Santa saying the item is on it’s way. 

In a few days leave the present wrapped at the door with a cute note apologizing for the delay. You could even make the note from Mrs. Claus to be super special. 

The Easter bunny

Explain that since the gift was late, Santa didn’t have enough time to have the elves make it. However, if they still want it in a few months the Easter bunny can bring it in their Easter basket. 

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Earn it

Tell your child that since the gift request came after a certain date (or wasn’t on the original wish list), the new gift has to be earned. 

They now have to make the “ultra good list” – meaning they need to complete a good deeds scavenger hunt to ensure they receive the latest gift. 

Christmas gifts

Excuses to Not Get the Updated Gift

Parents are under no obligation to fulfill every gift their child asks for. If you’re looking for some excuses as to why all last minute changes to your child’s Santa list isn’t being honored, here are a few ideas:

  • “Santa has already left the North Pole” (this works especially well on Christmas Eve, when you can watch the live Google tracker)
  • “Santa’s sleigh is already packed up and ready”
  • “Santa’s gifts need to be something the elves can make in their workshop. The elves don’t know how to make video games, etc.”
  • “It takes the elves weeks to make all the gifts. It’s not fair to give them so little notice when they’ve worked so hard.”
  • “Santa visits millions of houses on Christmas Eve so he has to plan ahead. We need to treat Santa with respect and not change our minds.” 
  • “Santa has stopped accepting lists.”
  • “The elves take the week before Christmas off as vacation.” 

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Or you can simply ignore the new request. Especially if the last minute changes to your child’s Santa list are just mentioned in passing and not said seriously (or will be easily forgotten). 

Ultimately, Santa gives each child what he feels is best. He listens to requests and preferences – but the final decision is up to him. 

And that’s part of the magic! Santa knows all the stuff on your list and it’s fun to be surprised at what he picks out specifically for you. 

Sometimes children don’t get exactly what they ask for. Part of the beauty of wishing is not knowing what you’ll ultimately receive. 

So next time you find yourself struggling with last minute changes to your child’s Santa list, you’ll be ready! 

How to Handle Last Minute Changes to Your Child’s Santa List

About Author


Hi, I’m Jo!

I have two small children, Ry and Lily, only 19 months apart. It’s usually crazy around my house, but thankfully my wonderful husband is around a ton and helps keep the peace.

I also own my own business and work full-time. I’d love to list all these amazing hobbies I have, but honestly I can barely handle keeping the kids entertained, the house clean, and food on the table. Although on days I’m too tired to do housework, I love to pour a glass of wine and watch Supernatural or Murdoch Mysteries on Netflix.

My husband and I like to stay very busy and drag our kids everywhere with us. Weekends often include relaxing at wineries, festivals, exploring Washington D.C. and other short getaway trips.

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