I’m not really sure when I started hating the holidays with a vengeance. I know it got worse after I became a parent. There are so many things we do to make the magic of the season come alive for our children. We kill ourselves trying to make them believe that there really is magic in the world. This year I’ve somehow either got the hang of things or decided I can only do what I can do and that will have to be enough.
Thing 1 is 10 and still believes in Santa. I know that this phase is going to be over soon so I have tried extra hard to give him one more year of magic. First there is the elf. His name is Mark and he is a little jerk. I have to move that thing EVERY NIGHT. And I’m not going to lie so far I’ve forgotten twice. The thing is, he’s really high up on a plant shelf and after the kids go to bed I have to wait for at least an hour to make sure they don’t come creeping out of their rooms for more water, or a scary dream, or they just don’t want to go to bed mom. Because if they come out and I’m standing on a stool to move the damn elf I’m going to be SO busted. The problem is I’m freaking exhausted. I love my children and I’d do anything for them but my chair is really comfy and as I have waited the requisite hour I have fallen asleep too many times. Most of the time I wake up at 3, hide the damn elf, and shuffle off to my comfy bed. Twice I’ve just forgotten. The first time I had to tell Thing 1 that the elf just really liked that spot. He gave me a questioning look so I knew I had to be more vigilant. So the elf stayed on that shelf doing other things for a few days. Just to drive home the point that he really liked it there. This morning I was woken up by Thing 1 as I was still asleep in my chair in the living room. The elf had not moved again and I saw the magic glow in his eyes dim. Now I think I have concocted a story about why Mark didn’t move. I’m going to feed my child an outright lie, because that is what we do as parents trying to keep the magic alive, and say Santa called me because Mark didn’t come home last night. I’m going to explain that Mark’s last report said that Thing 1 was being naughty by staying up past bedtime watching YouTube videos on his tablet he snuck out of the living room unbeknownst to his mother. Then I’m going to tell him that Santa and I think Mark fell asleep before he could leave because he was watching to make sure Tommy didn’t sneak the tablet again. This should work. I think it’s believable but what do I know? I just want to see the magic light shine brightly in his eyes again.
Then there is Santa. He’s a good guy but he screws me out of the cool gift every year. I started a tradition of him only wrapping his gifts in Santa themed wrapping paper. Was that a stupid move? Yes. Have I continued to make that move? Yes. So now I have special wrapping paper stashed at my office so my snoopy children don’t go looking for proof Santa isn’t real. It’s exhausting. Thing 2 no longer believes and his mother confirmed for him that Santa wasn’t real. This happened last year and I WAS PISSED. First, there are tactful ways of saying they might be right, but second he was not following the cardinal rule of keeping it to himself. When Thing 1 asked if Santa was real my response was “sometimes it’s not about how real something is, it’s about the magic it lets you see” then I asked his thoughts. Shockingly he told me he thought Santa, The Easter Bunny, and Tooth fairy were real. All the other characters were made up. In other words, he believes in the ones that bring him cool stuff. I say, fair enough. I created these monsters so I shall continue to make them kick ass in his mind. Thing 2 doesn’t believe but I made it very clear to him that if you don’t believe in Santa he doesn’t bring you presents. After that I got a lot of very enthusiastic belief out of Thing 2. I am not above threats and if he ruins his brother’s belief’s I’m going to follow through on the no gift policy. He’ll still get gifts from us but nothing in his stocking. It will be really sad for him but he has to learn that part of knowing the truth about Santa is keeping it to himself and letting others still feel the magic.
I am also the Gift Buyer in Chief. Meaning my husband and I discuss the gifts but most often I have the task of actually making the gifts appear, wrapped under the tree. This can be exhausting especially when all my children ask for are video games, which I’ve vowed never to purchase again, and other electronic stuff that I’m not going to get them. Then we have to go “off book” and find things they will like without crushing their Christmas dreams. I will say that we are very honest with our children about the “no video game” policy. They know we aren’t going to buy them the games but they also have grandparents and other parents that might be willing. That’s fine with me as long as they don’t have the expectation. This year they wanted the Spy Gear LCD Walkie Talkies. My mother tried to find them for under $98 and was unsuccessful. She got them something else so I casually put them on my Amazon Wish list. I knew I wasn’t willing to pay $98 for walkie talkies but I thought I’d keep it on the back burner. Eventually the Amazon gods were with me and the price dropped to a still outrageous but within our budget price of $65 and I snagged them. So now I’m down to Legos for the stockings and Christmas Eve Pajamas and we are good to go.
Normally I’m a ball of nerves this time of year that presents in the form of fits of tears over something minuscule but this year I feel oddly calm. I’m smiling at people at the grocery stores and trying not to get overly stressed about things I cannot change. I’m happy that we are still part of the magic that is Christmas. I’m happy that my husband will be home for an astonishing 11 days. I’m happy my children are going to have their Christmas wishes come true and I’m happy to be alive. We are in the final countdown, just 8 days until the culmination of excitement. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.