At our house St. Nick fills our stockings the night of December 5th. Google "St. Nick" if you've never heard of this tradition. I've narrowed it down to a German/Catholic thing. We also tell our kids that St. Nick is one of Santa Claus' helpers. We actually leave the kids' Christmas wish list out for St. Nick to deliver back to Santa Claus.
Totally selfish on my part.
Because I want final wish-list-choices to be made in early December. No last minute changes on what-I-really-want-Santa-Claus-to-bring. We make sure the kids list 5-6 items and remind them that Santa only brings one gift each in our house, so not all items are guaranteed.
This year, behavior has been a little up and down lately. Henry is currently the repeat biter at school, Stella is impatient and whiny, and Charlotte...well, Charlotte is Charlotte. She even told us that her stocking was going to be empty because she wasn't nice lately.
So we also had St. Nick deliver some letters from Santa Claus (not a norm for us). Instead of reprimanding each kid for their misbehaviors, Santa made a list for each kid of all of the good behaviors he enjoys watching. We went for the positive reinforcement angle.
I'm happy to report that they started fighting over the St. Nick gifts 15 minutes after opening stockings instead of immediately. That's progress, right?
Oh, and Christmas morning? Stockings are empty. They only get filled once each season!
Kim at seven thirty three created the awesome Santa Claus stationary that I used. She has it as a free download on her website. Download the PDF, save it and then type your letter right on it. Or have Santa leave a handwritten "thanks" for your cookies this year!