Thursday, December 27, 2012

You Can't cancel Christmas

It’s two days before Christmas, and, like many homes, things are very busy around here.  My in-laws are in town (there’s a whole other blog); I’ll spend most of tonight wrapping (my poor back), and if I have to find one more spot to hide the damn elf on a shelf, I might…well let’s just say it won’t be good for the elf.  I love Christmas, but as you may know happy meals don’t come with toys (

Loving Christmas and hating toys makes for a convoluted and difficult internal struggle.  Every time the boys open a thing of blocks, I see myself picking them up endlessly – either crawling on my hands and knees or bending over and over and over and over. Or when they open a toy they really like, and I can clearly see that it will be broken in a week.  Over/under on number of meltdowns is 3.5.  Take the over folks, it’s easy money. 

 My mother-in-law said to me yesterday that she is getting payback.  So, when he opens a noise maker, I think to myself, “But I didn't do anything to you! Don’t you know your daughter doesn’t suffer from this.”
But Craig, think of the children.  Don’t you want them to be happy?  Kids can’t possibly flourish unless they are showered with toys to constantly keep them happy.

What makes you think I want my kids to be happy?  That’s a pretty poor assumption on your part.  Well, okay, I want them to be happy, but I see no reason to push for constantly happy. I’m not.  Furthermore, when did a thing ever make someone happy? 

Here’s the problem.

You can’t cancel Christmas. 

The Grinch tried once, but he was no match.  No matter how much crap the boys open Tuesday, it pales in comparison to the message of Christmas.  If you are a Christian and likely even if you aren’t, this is a day about a man who changed the world.

But Christmas isn't about the man. It’s about the baby.  Yeah, yeah it’s also about the winter solstice and stealing pagan holidays to make your religion more likable…stop distracting me…you’re missing my point. This man, who had more of an impact of the world then arguably any other person, was a baby, just like you.  He was as helpless as those poor kids in Connecticut, and he was as hard on his parents as your kid’s are on you. 

That doesn't mean I have to like the toys though.

Prior to the New Year, a large bin of old toys will be collected and taken to Goodwill just in time for one more charitable tax write off.  Listen Glenn, you can’t have more toys than space in the toy box.  Pick the ones you’re done with and give them to someone else.  It is never too early to start impressing Santa for next year.
More importantly, what do I get the boys for Christmas you ask?  Well, I have a real knack for gift giving, governed by a simple theory.  Don’t spend money.  Let’s take a look back at Glenn’s previous gifts.

First year – A small tin found among the Christmas crap.  I filled it with tissue paper and a spoon.  Boom, there you have it – a drum. Total cost…zero

Second year– A large stack of paper from the computer that I stapled together, and then combined it with crayons he had forgotten about.  Boom, there you have it – a coloring book.  Total cost…zero

This year – Now keep in mind these are gifts he asked for specifically. One, kids’ safety scissors, which he uses at school and we already had but he has never used.  Two, a tie and not just any tie. He made sure to tell me that he wanted a “Daddy” tie.  Not a problem son I can do that. 

“Not one of the bad daddy ties either, make sure it’s a nice one.  OK, Daddy?”

Not a problem son.  Total cost… zero, well to me anyway.  Tracey had to buy the scissors at some point.

I think I can keep the gifts under five dollars until he is at least ten, but it’s going to take work.  Work that I have no choice but to persevere in.  You can fight the over whelming consumerism, but…

You can’t cancel Christmas.  

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