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My daughter's wish list currently includes two items:

A Little Sister and a French Poodle - neither gift is really an option at the moment. She won't add anything else to the list.

I can think of other things she might like, but nothing quite as exciting as either current wish. I'm not really looking for gift ideas as much as - how do I help her deal with the disappointment when she finds neither item underneath the tree Christmas morning?

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For clarity, the "secret" is already out. Its purely disappointment, not disappointment in Santa I'm thinking about. –  balanced mama Dec 10 '12 at 21:06
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2 Answers 2

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A little sister huh? What are you waiting for? ;)

The answer to me depends on whether she's old enough to know that her expectations aren't realistic or not. If she is then I'd simply say that those aren't things that Santa is likely to be able to do and she might want to think about other things she might like to put on the list. I'd expect her to think of other things then.

If she's at the age where she thinks a little sister really is something Santa might bring I'd have a talk about how Santa can't bring everything, and list what he can bring (toys, books, games, etc). Maybe tell her that Santa and his elves make things in big factories, so he can only bring what he and his elves can build, and that babies and dogs aren't built. Lead that into talking about where human and dog babies come from and that it's up to the parents to decide when to have baby brother or sister.

Mention that Santa could bring her a doll instead, but don't ask if she would like one. Just mention the possibilities of what Santa can bring, then let that sink in and in a day or two before asking if she wants to add a doll or anything else to the list. If you ask right away you're more likely to get a knee-jerk "NO!" answer.

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"babies and dogs aren't built" - I like this way to go about it. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Dec 10 '12 at 12:12
    
Lies. Lies. The whole idea of Santa's factory is a bit see-through. Why not just say that Santa can only bring regular toys, like the ones available in the toy shop. –  Dave Clarke Dec 10 '12 at 12:43
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Santa is a big lie in the first place. If a parent has a desire not to poke a hole into the Christmas myth then lies are part of the game. –  GdD Dec 10 '12 at 13:05
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She knows about Santa. I believe she truly believes that by asking for only these two things, she will get the dog. –  balanced mama Dec 10 '12 at 18:42
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haha! I love it, the old high-ball technique, and she's just a kid! "I want a little sister! I want a little sister!" "Ok, how about a puppy then?" –  GdD Dec 10 '12 at 19:55
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I liked GdD's answer to this one if the problem was really a lack of understanding, but since it was actually the "high-ball technique" we woundd up just giving her two things (one from us, one from "santa") that we just knew she would enjoy. She learned, we couldn't be manipulated.

Then the Easter bunny brought the puppy ;-)

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:) thanks for bringing up the end of the story –  woliveirajr Nov 26 '13 at 13:55
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