A mother sick of her children misbehaving made them believe Santa would cancel Christmas unless they improved.
The three kids discovered the Christmas tree wrapped in industrial strength cling wrap with a note warning they had just one week to shape up.
Signed by Elise, purportedly one of Santa’s elves, the note put the children on notice, telling them her boss was angry with them.
‘If you want me to keep visiting, a Santa visit, your tree and presents back your behaviour needs to improve,’ the note read.
‘Santa is very angry and I’m disappointed. Be good and say sorry to mum. You all have 1 week to improve. I’m watching.’
The Queensland mother’s strategy drew a mixed reaction when it was posted on social media, with just as many praising as condemning it.
‘Teaches values to greedy middle class kids. I knew a person who spent $30,000 on Xmas – please!’ one wrote.
‘As a mother of 5, foster Mum of 2, Granny of 13 and a great grandmother I say well done. Its great to see a parent in control,’ an older woman wrote.
‘Kids of old used to get a lump of coal in their Christmas stocking if they were not up to scratch,’ a third mum wrote.
‘These lucky modern kids got given an opportunity to redeem themselves before the cut-off date. I think us parents are getting soft just like our kids.’
However, others branded it ‘awful parenting’ because it was too vague for children to know what the did wrong and so wouldn’t change anything.
Others objected to pretending to be Santa and his elves and suggested addressing problems with children as parents instead.
‘It’s too harsh. We used to just say ‘Remember Santa’s watching’. No threats, no drama – and it worked a treat in our house,’ one wrote.
‘Our grandkids get the same reminder from their parents now.’
Another parent said it was terrible parenting because it used threats and bribes to get children to behave.
‘Consequences should always be directly related and immediate. Also it’s so vague – what behaviour needs changing? How are you helping your children improve their behaviour?’ they wrote.
‘Be clear (and realistic) in your expectations and don’t forget to model the behaviour you want to see.’
A third commenter had another solution: ‘Stop lying to your kids with fairytales. Give them a spanking if they’re being disobedient then enjoy Christmas.’