One week from today
children all over the globe will be visited by the jolly fat man. No, Vince
Wilfork isn’t crashing your Christmas dinner; I’m talking Santa, people. Being
of the age where my Facebook feed looks more and more like a Gymboree
commercial, Santa has reentered my Christmas thinking. As an auntie
(unofficial, but very much in love with my nieces), I get to enjoy the easy
parts of this: seeing the pictures of adorable (or terrified) children on
Santa’s lap without waiting in the lines of screaming toddlers, making crafts
that could definitely be deemed modern art without having to hang these
masterpieces in my house, and buying Santa-themed presents without having to
make the difficult decisions that accompany visits from St. Nick. Yes, these
first Christmases are crucial. Decisions made now will haunt or help you for
years to come.
Crucial decision number
one: to wrap or not to wrap. In my house growing up, Santa never wrapped.
Frankly, this was ingenious. As kids we could dive-bomb the good presents (i.e.
toys), which were cleverly separated into piles for each sibling, without the
hassle of unwrapping. The less desirable books and socks were wrapped by mom
and dad, in hopes that the pretty bows would make up for the educational and
practical nature of these gifts. This saved ‘Santa’ some time and some stress.
If ‘Santa’ were to wrap, Santa would have to stash not only presents, but also
paper, in places prying eyes could not discover. ‘Santa’ would also have to
disguise his handwriting or sucker some coworker into playing elf and writing
out two-dozen tags. Seems obvious to me, that paperless is the way to go.
Decision number two:
placement of the stockings. Most families seem to open stockings pre-presents.
It’s a great filler to keep the little buggers from going crazy while mom and
dad ingest large quantities of caffeine to brace themselves for the onslaught
to come. According to Christmas stories, carols, and cards, the proper
placement for the stockings is hung from the mantle. Granted this looks idyllic
leading up to the big night, but there aren’t too many pushpins or stocking
holders that will hold up ten pounds of marshmallow trees and dill pickles.
What, Santa didn’t bring all little girls jars of pickles? Once again, Santa in
my house was wise. Stockings were always left upstairs and opened in our
parents’ bed. Mom could have her coffee, dad could plunder the candy we
foolishly dumped on his side of the bed, and we had enough toys and trinkets to
keep us busy while they woke up from their two hours of sleep. Warm bed over
cold tiles, seems a no-brainer.
And the final decision of
the season for new families: Elf or no elf. Well, I think I made my opinions of
this one crystal clear earlier in the week. But hey, if you’re into creepy
little peepers, go for it.
Whatever traditions your
families choose to carry on or create, may they be memorable and enjoyable for
all (even those overworked ‘Santas’ out there!) I’ll be looking forward to my
Facebook feed come Christmas to see all my munchkins celebrating in their own