While it feels good to give your children expensive gifts that will become obsolete and boring in exactly 11 days, consider giving your finances a little break.

Here’s how to get away with spending no money on Christmas presents for your kids while avoiding all blame.

  • A few hours before gifts normally miraculously appear, express your hope that Santa – or your preferred elderly magical gift giver – is vaccinated, considering that he’s going to be in your home breathing on everything. Try your best to look serious when your children groan at your stupid joke. 

  • Develop your scheme by downloading the CovidCheck app on your phone, saying you are going to leave it out for Santa because “it’s better to be safe than sorry.” Again, expect more groans, but this time they will be infused with a hint of worry. 

  • Proceed to the next step, your usual trick: distracting the kids while pretending to hear reindeer on the roof, sending them to bed so that Santa can bring presents while they sleep, or however you do it. 

  • Using the CovidCheck app, scan a random QR code that will yield a negative (i.e. “no go”) result, and set your phone back down without closing the app. 

  • When your kids eventually come back, their little eyes bright with hope, sit them down on the couch and say they need to know the truth. While they might claim to already know that Santa does not really exist, say, “No, Santa does exist, but he failed the CovidCheck. We had to turn him away.” Show them your phone for proof. 

  • These next few moments are crucial because you might feel the urge to crack or let your kids order a bunch of stuff from Amazon to make up for your deception. Resist. Explain that Santa, being 500 years old and in a vulnerable age group, should really be more responsible. 

  • If your kids have a hard time believing that this year they are getting none of the usual plastic or electronic stuff, you might try confusing them, since kids rarely know the details of lawmaking anyway. Mumble something about 2G, 2G+, and 3G. Say that Santa probably got confused and didn’t have time to get the latest booster, and then blame the government, since that is what they are there for anyway. 

Congratulations, you’ve just saved yourself a bunch of money. To celebrate, buy yourself an expensive gift that will become obsolete or boring in exactly 11 days.

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