A Christmas Miracle

Christmas. It’s a time to appreciate what you have and reflect on the important things in life. It’s a time for giving and a time to enjoy the most important people in your life. That is unless your have kids. Then it’s about winning. It’s literally about winning Christmas (obviously winning is about being the best present giving “parent” since Santa is the best overall).

Setting aside all the magical gifts that Santa delivers down the chimney and under your barely standing, brown five week old Christmas tree, parents often both agree on an amount to spend on their children, or at least decide together what gifts will be bought for the kids. The thing is… if your anything like us it’s not just about the season of giving. It’s about the season of “who got the best gifts.” You want to try to take it easy… you know, just get little Susie an Easy Bake Oven, but it’s easy to want to go overboard and become the favorite parent. It’s amazing how fast that Easy Bake Oven turns into a live unicorn.

Although, the other side of this… Just understand you may wind up sleeping on the couch once your partner catches wind of your plan. Steph and I haven’t gotten to that point yet, as long as the kids are happy on Christmas morning… that magic of the holiday twinkling in their eyes… that’s the real gift.

Buying for the little one is easy. Oliver would go nuts over a toilet paper roll, or a box of tissue paper. Put a few random legos in a coffee can and you have created the greatest gift of all time. You can’t measure happiness in money or gift amounts, but you can however measure happiness in laughs and smiles. We all want to make Christmas morning as magical as possible, so it’s best to take advantage of how easy it is to please the little ones now.

We try to take it easy. We (Santa) buys lots of books and puzzles. This year we are going to have Jackson pick a few old toys to donate to someone in need, as he replaces those he donates with new ones Santa brings him. We aren’t naive to think that Christmas isn’t about presents, but I think this mom and dad also relish in the little things as well… a healthy and happy family. Two little boys who love each other and most importantly the fact that we got them to sit long enough with each other to get a decent Christmas card! It’s a Christmas miracle.

The Christmas Detective 🌲


Were those reindeer hooves pounding on the roof?  I’m awake now and realize I’m screwed…

As I lay there sweating in my boxers and tank top my mind raced with images of the unassembled VTech race track and Peppa Pig’s Train my heart suddenly stops as I realized the countless hours of construction that were ahead of me.  Santa decided he’d wait until Christmas morning to put everything together.
Suddenly I snap completely awake, look out the window, and see a glimmer of sunlight on the horizon.

“Holy eggnog… It’s Christmas morning!”  As an aside… Egg nog sucks. Who says “Man I’m thirsty. I want to drink something that tastes like eggs and looks like… well I’ll leave that up to your imagination, but it looks disgusting. I’ve heard many arguments from Steph for why eggnog is the perfect holiday drink… “It’s a Christmas tradition.” So is going to midnight mass… Anyone go to midnight mass lately?… Didn’t think so. Then there’s the worst argument of all… “You can get wasted off eggnog”… You know what else you can get wasted off of? Any other liquid on the planet if you add alcohol to it.  

But I digress… Let the merry mayhem commence.

 Everyone is up and it’s time for “some assembly required.”  Regardless of navigating poorly-written instructions and realizing I have 17 left over pieces when I was done putting everything together… there are few things more satisfying than watching your kid tear into his gifts, wide-eyed with wonder and joy.

You work hard to provide for your family and it feels good to make your kid happy. However, as I sat with a cup of coffee and surveyed the the damage from countless opened boxes and enough wrapping paper to wallpaper my house I realize 15 family members are about to Cousin Eddie my Christmas Vacation. We all know XMAS can get a little chaotic. So it’s  all about keeping the crazy under wraps… And that my friends is a fine art.


This year we decided to forgo a Christmas tradition (unbeknownst to me)… No presents for everyone. We were moving towards the 21st century gift giving event: The Secret Santa. I was not happy, but decided to play along (I had no choice) and I was like a soldier on a mission, and I will not be denied.

For today I am out to hunt the most elusive and fantastic of all the beasts in the world (Just call me Newt Scamander… Harry Potter reference anyone?!!). . .

Today I will find my Secret Santa.

As my family begins to filter into the house, the AC is pumping on high like its a mid-August afternoon (Mind you its 73 degree this Christmas Day) and I begin to get suspicious. My sister chooses that very moment to walk past me and I find myself forced to put on an sly smile, gesturing half-heartedly with the empty mug in one hand. It irks me to have to resort to such measures: pretending to get a refill from the Keurig just for an excuse to stake out the kitchen where most of the family is beginning to congregate.

I had no choice to stalk out these people. I had to get myself amped up somehow for this Christmas tragedy they called Secret Santa.

Maybe a little background here would be useful. When I was first exposed to this concept a few years at school, I’ll admit I was rather intrigued. I thought it might be cool to see what kind of things people in my office thought I might like. I mean it can’t be that hard to figure out a Green Bay Packers keychain or Harry Potter bumper sticker would be perfect. Then I realized I, the ultimate gift giver would be able to uncover some secret about the person I’d be buying for would be amazing. This whole thing became a strangely exhilarating experience.  

That was until Secret Santa invaded my house… Bah Humbug.

But either way here we are… And I will find this person responsible for my gifts this year. I stalked my prey. Walked in and out of gifts… Shook a few with my name on them and even tried to get Jax to do some spying for me. Too bad he was surrounded by a Toys-R-Us warehouse-like present pile. I knew at that point I was on my own.

Here’s the thing… This story doesn’t have a great ending. As a matter of fact it’s sort of boring… Somewhere in between cleaning 21 pounds of turkey off the floor and pouring my eighth glass of wine I gave up on my quest. I just couldn’t invest the time I thought I was willing to invest. I had to believe the person who was evading me like I was Tom Hanks and they were Leonardo DiCaprio would reveal themselves in the end. (I guess in all reality that’s the point of this Secret Santa mess isn’t it?!!)

 It was then I looked over at Jax who was getting comfy in his new recliner and I set myself to what Christmas is really about… Enjoying my son’s reaction as he unwrapped toy after toy after toy.

PS: Secret Santa is now OK in my book!     

 
Thanks Aunt Sandy… (I mean Santa)!!!

So that ends another Christmas Day… Another fun filled family event and another day that I was able to enjoy my son as he happily played with his presents. I hope everyone else had a very Merry Christmas… And I hope the mayhem was manageable, the smiles were wide, and the laughter was loud. 


  
    
  
  

  
  

Our Christmas Blessing

“Where do you think you’re going? Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We’re gonna press on, and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny freaking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of A-holes this side of the nuthouse.”

Not a chance Christmas went bye without some incredible stories.  Doesn’t matter if it was Jax’ first christmas or his 15th.  Today was filled with love, laughter and lunacy.  The amount of toys that santa brought for this little dude was insane.  There is not a chance in hell that he could even comprehend the amount of STUFF that he unwrapped today.  All I know, all we know, all he knows (I think he knows) is he is so lucky to have such an amazing cast of family members who treat him like he is king of the Seven Kingdoms.  Santa spent a little extra time here last night and this morning dropping off some awesome toys.

There was the chair that looks like a toilet. (I need one of these for football Sundays).

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Then there was the basket that was supposed to be for Auntie Tricia’s spa supplies.

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Grammy’s buttons on her Christmas Shirt were a source of entertainment for all ages (especially 8 month olds).

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The Wrapping paper gift was a favorite as well.  It tasted yummy.

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He also loved the Jackson sized replica of the Empire State building that he could climb and pretend to be King Kong on!

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Then there was the incredibly inspiring story of Walter the Farting Dog who shares in Jax’ favorite past time… farting.

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Jax was amazed by the generosity of everyone; Santa went above and beyond!!!!

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Jax knows Christmas is about giving not just getting presents… he spent his allowance on his brothers XMAS gift.

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… but most of all Jackson loved all the attention from the most important people in his life… his family.

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Family traditions and family craziness aside… Stephanie and I want to take a second to thank everyone who has been there to support this journey of ours through parenthood.  Most of all our parents and family and especially our friends who have answered our desperate phone calls at 2 and 3 AM when Jax was sniffling or had a fever.  There really is a magic to the holiday season, it’s a magic that exists all year, one that is always there, but often is not tapped into.  The magic of the people around you who care about you for who you are.  The people who are there for you when you need a laugh or a cry… or you need a someone to change a dirty diaper.  Those are the real reasons that the holiday exists.

Jackson, you are the greatest gift I have ever been given.  I am proud to be your father… I am happy to be part of your life and most importantly… I love you more than any present, autograph, fitted suit jacket or skinny tie in the world!

Love,

Dad

PS: You know when your Christmas ends like this:

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/63b/79650087/files/2014/12/img_0636.jpg…it was a great one!