It’s Christmas time! And I am the proud parent of three small children. So you automatically can know a few facts about me. A) I’m so broke, I can’t pay attention. My Visa card is visibly smoking. B) I’m busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger. And C) To quote Clark Griswold, I am determined to make this holiday season the hap-hap-happiest day since Bing Crosby danced with Danny #%$@in’ Kay.
But seriously. Y’all ever do a Christmas season with small children? It’s not for the feint of heart, I assure you. We’re talking about a slow build from Halloween to New Year’s Day to a frothing holiday frenzy. If you don’t have small children, if you’re thinking about having children, or if your child doesn’t walk or talk right now, here’s a glimpse into your future:
You will enter the stores on November 1 to discover the North Pole has vomited all over them. Think the early Christmas decorations are annoying now? Your child will think these decorations are amazing. And that Christmas is pretty much tomorrow. Let the pleading begin! Time to enjoy a searing case of the Gimmes. You will not enter a retail establishment with your children safely again until 2012.
You can also look forward to more Christmas movies and shows than you thought existed. Oh, you have warm, fuzzy memories about all the wonderful specials like the Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon and from Rudolph and Frosty from when you were small? Your love for these will be crushed like a bug after the first 50 viewings.
But enjoy the quality shows, because with small children, there is no avoiding the odiferous dreck. Kids are not Roger Ebert. They don’t care. You will watch the loathsome Jim Carrey bastardize your beloved childhood memories of the Grinch. You will watch talking golden retrievers dressed as Santa. You will watch Ahnold JINGLE ALL ZE WAY. And you will not be able to curse out loud.
If you have small children at Christmas, another certainty is you will craft. And craft some more. Before December first, you will have already made 40 gingerbread foam ornaments, create 22 wooden holiday door hangers (colored with markers), and have written approximately 80 different drafts of letters to Santa. Not to mention create an Crayola picture gallery in your home devoted to the love of all things Kringle.
Speaking of Saint Nick, you will also spend a great deal of time threatening to text him about your children’s behavior only to end up having your children point out “He sees me when I’m sleeping and knows when I’m awake already.” You will have to corral these small children for hours as you wait in line for unconvincing Santas and surly, picture-taking elves. You will wonder: does Santa’s beard smell faintly of booze? And is that a cigarette burn on his red suit?
You don’t think you will, but you will be willing to arm wrestle other parents for the last Neck Tat Elmo or Stripper Pole Barbie. You will resist the urge to drive your Toys R Us buggy into other shopping parents like Leather Tuscadero at a demolition derby.
If you have small children,you will sing Christmas carols until July 2012.
If you have small children, you will bake. You will bake gingerbread men who will end up looking like they were decorated by a band of drunken monkeys. You may, indeed, make a gingerbread house with sloping walls held together by a bucket of icing. There will be cookies of every stripe.You will schlep these baked goods to teachers, friends, the letter carrier, and indeed, any person your child has had contact with ever.
If you have small children, you will wrap presents while shut in your walk-in closet. You will learn the subterfuge of a Jason Bourne in your purchase and hiding of these gifts. You will position the Elf on the Shelf every night. Don’t forget to move the elf. You will stay up until 2 a.m. on Christmas Eve assembling toys and bicycles in the sub-freezing temperatures in the garage in order to avoid being heard and busted. You will use four, five, and six letter words because you had no idea you needed a Phillips head screwdriver. You will spend your 401k on batteries.
Yes, parents, you will do all of this and more. And you will like it and be thankful for the opportunity to spoil your children beyond repair. Because like Kim Jong Il, they may be short, sometimes delusional and demanding dictators, but it doesn’t change the fact that Christmas is for them: our kids.
Making wonderful Christmas memories for the brief time our children are small and believe in magic? That, dear reader, is truly a gift.
TSB contributor Eliska Counce’s Momma Drama column appears Saturdays on TownSquareBuzz.com.