I see Frankenstein’s holding one of Santa’s elves, so it must be time to check my Christmas shopping list. If I’m being perfectly honest, the naughty or nice factor doesn’t come into play much around here. In fact, there are times when naughty is definitely nicer, but that’s a story for another day. Today it’s all about my shopping list. Because this year, things are going to be different.
Here’s what usually happens around this time of year:
Step 1: Children make lists.
Step 2: “Santa” sneaks a peek at the lists.
Step 3: Mom explains why half the stuff on the Christmas List is not going to show up on Christmas morn. In a kind and loving manner, of course, so as not to traumatize the little darlings.
Step 4: Mom/Santa goes shopping with firm resolve and a budget.
Step 5: Kids go crazy on Christmas morn, tripping up over all the stuff they can’t believe “Santa” brought.
Step 6: Mom spends Christmas dazed and confused. In fact, mom looks a little traumatized herself.
But this year I plan to relax in the bosom of my family, with my head held high. At least till I pass out from the sheer joy of the occasion. Or the wine, whichever comes first. Because I will not be sucked into blatant consumerism. Not like all those other years.
One Christmas, when my daughter was enthralled with all things Barbie-licious, Santa went a little crazy. Gazing down upon the Barbie kingdom of mansion, patio with a bar set-up, pool, and pink corvette, there was moment. I’m not gonna lie; I was a little jealous. Looking at that top-heavy doll I realized something. Barbie had better clothes, a cooler car, and nicer furniture than anyone else in the house. And to add insult to injury, I had to stuff Little Miss Barbie into that *&#$ corvette every time she wanted to go for a ride. Do you know how hard it is to get a doll THAT CAN’T SIT into a corvette?
Then there’s always the son who must have some Lego creation that looks absolutely fabulous on the box. The booklet that comes with these gazillion blocks is delightfully color-coded so that even the simplest child could put the fort or ship or racecar together. Theoretically. But after all the parts are dumped on the floor, where, oh where, has my little boy gone? So there good old mom sits, thumbs numb from smushing Legos into some semblance of the fort or ship or racecar. Because after an hour or so, when I’m still stuck on the SECOND page, I just start mashing pieces here and there. It’s not a pretty sight. And the rest of the year, I step on Legos or dig them out of someone’s mouth. Also not a pretty sight.
So this year, there will be no Magic Bullet under the tree. (C’mon people, it’s a BLENDER. Only smaller. Explain to me why I would want a little blender that only makes ONE Margarita at a time?) There will be no boxed sets of TV shows that we didn’t bother to take the time to watch when they were FREE. There will be no electronic gadget that requires a Ph.D. in engineering before we even manage to turn it on. I am determined to stand my ground. After all, I have before.
One year, my six year old son wanted a gas mask for Christmas. (Apparently, his delicate olfactory senses were being bombarded by all sorts of smells emanating from his baby brother. And father.) He went so far as to sit on Santa’s lap and actually ASK for a gas mask. Santa gave me such a look, I can tell you. But there was no gas mask under the tree. Do you know how much one of those things costs???