Most years Ella and Jacob have seen Santa at our foster son Robby's group home. This Santa is different than other Santa's. He 's very other centered. He does let the kids tell him what they want for Christmas, but also talks about giving to others.
Jacob got on his lap and Santa asked him if he'd been good. Jacob hesitated and Santa looked at Ella - let's ask someone who doesn't know you - knowing perfectly well they were siblings. Ella didn't seem sure how to answer - she hesitantly answered, "yes to the has he been good question." On the way home Ella explained to Jacob that Santa doesn't expect perfection. She continued that he's really just expecting more of a 50/50 good to bad ratio.
Santa then asked Ella what she wanted and she kept hedging with I don't know. He said, "Let's put it this way. What would make you happy?" She said, "Mom I thought I have everything that makes me happy - friends, family and comfort. He gave me two choices. I could either write him a note asking for something for myself or I could give up my request and he would get a toy for someone who doesn't have any. I was thinking maybe I could do both. Something small for me and something for someone else." I love that she was giving it so much thought. Seemed like character building on her part.