That Damn Elf on a Shelf

I guess it’s time this Elf on a Shelf thing happens. He’s here… And I can’t say anything to change that. Santa has a lot going on. I know that. You know that… we all know that. So of course he has little helpers everywhere and this house is no different.

Elfie is here to check things out. He’s just going to be a silent observer of sorts as Santa described. Bottom line… when Santa asks you for a favor… well, he’s not the type of person you can deny.

12.1.17

When your kid won’t eat breakfast… but your elf will. #Christmas2017 #Elfie

12.2.17

Great way to motivate your kid to start piano lessons. (PS Elfie is no Beethoven). #Christmas2017 #Elfie #PianoLessons #NiceHairJax

12.4.17

This has been the most elaborate Elfie appearance so far and will probably be the most elaborate one of the season…

PS: Is this a Flour Angel or crime scene body outline?

12.6.17

I’ve resorted to this. #Elfie #Christmas2017

12.20.17

And this effectively ended Elfie’s life… you don’t sit near, let alone in, Buster and Max’s food bowl and expect to live to tell the story. Thanks for a fun run Elfie… sorry your hat and leg were gnawed off.

I’m not sure how or why Elfie makes such a difference in some households… maybe it’s because here we don’t spend six hours suspending him and props from the ceiling with elaborate decorations… but our kid could care less about this thing, who he reports to and what the repercussions may be from misbehaving.

Case in point… RULE NUMBER ONE of fight club… don’t talk about fight club… RULE NUMBER ONE of Elf on a Shelf… don’t touch the Elf on a Shelf. To Jax this means… literally not only touch the Elf, but take him and body slam him repeatedly and then launch him into orbit. We’re screwed with this kid… Santa I hope you packed enough coal.

Santa’s Homeboy 

Waking up before your two year old on Christmas morning is like finding Bigfoot. It’s like discovering the Lockness Monster. It happens once in a lifetime. But it happened here on Sunday. A real life miracle.

Coffee was brewing and I was able to conduct a full home inspection to make sure Santa wasn’t still lurking around somewhere. I heard somewhere on the internet that the last one up on Christmas Morning gets to open the first present. Jax must have read that one too, because he slept in like he was on vacation (in all reality I guess he’s always on vacation).

 

The walk down to see what Santa brought wasn’t as exciting as I’d expected. I guess Santa and “Bammy” are one in the same? Once we were able to coax him down to the Christmas tree the wrapping paper and cardboard boxes became airborne and toys flooded the family room floor. The people who thought up Peppa Pig and the good folks over at Disney’s who created Frozen made a fortune off of this household.

 

I think this is the last year we are going to get away with a relatively “small Christmas.” Now that Jackson and Santa are homeboys I have a feeling next year’s Christmas list is going to be quite big.

Merry Christmas to all… and to all a good night from all of us and of course from Jax in his Peppa Pig tent that took three adults to put together (even though it only had four pieces).

 

Thanks again Santa. Until next year…

 

Homemade Christmas Presents

So it’s about that time where we start getting homemade Christmas presents from Jackson. He’s hit that age where he makes ornaments googlie-eyed closepins that resembles a reindeer.  Or a pop sickle stick Christmas tree with his school picture in it that 25 years from now we can give him to put on his tree so we can laugh at how cute he was and how messy his finger painting skills were. 

I figured that’s what we’d be getting when his teachers told us that he had made us a gift. Then we opened this:

Homemade ✅

Thoughtful ✅

Cute ✅

The Pose he’s in… 🤔

Why does it look like my son is posing for a centerfold?

Well 25 years from now he’s going to regret this Christmas gift when we break it out at his first Christmas in his new home. 

Undercover Santa


I have this theory about Santa that literally might blow your mind so I hope you are sitting down as you read this…

We all know there is only one Santa and his helpers come to malls to help Santa out while he is busy getting ready for his big night. He can’t be bothered with food courts and cell phone kiosks… Santa is making his list and checking it twice. He’s doing competitive eating practice drills so he can stretch his stomach for 793 trillion pounds of cookies that he’s gonna cram into his belly on XMAS eve.

I want you to think about literally every single Christmas movie you’ve ever seen. Think about the plot of every single holiday film, there’s at least an 85% chance the guy we met this weekend at the mall is actually Santa Claus. I’m so convinced that Christmas time is Santa’s time to come down and check in on what’s actually going on… sometimes he needs to get a closer look at a particular kid before he puts him or her on the naughty list. So what better way then to sneak into “Santa’s Workshop” behind the mall fountain and tap the fake guy out. It’s like a holiday version of undercover boss.

This one was so obvious to pick out though. The beard, the jolly laugh where his belly jiggled like a bowl full of jelly… you can’t fake that HO HO HO… you can practice it all you want, but even the best actors can’t completely imitate a Bronx accent or perfectly convey the voice of a character they are playing (except Allen Rickman… he is THE Professor Snape, he was perfect). There was something about this Santa’s HO HO HO. It was smooth and rolled off the tongue like it was natural to him… you know why? Because it was. This Santa was literally a saint. No “helper” Santa could have that much patience. No way, no how.

That brings us to the waiting line to meet Santa… Jackson screamed, yelled, ran, jumped and tried to attack Mrs. Claus (mind you that’s what you get for being all up in a two year olds personal space). There were a few children ahead of Jax and they pulled Santa’s beard and kicked him in the shin. What did Santa do? Smiled and calmed the child down with a reassuring touch and no break in character. Then Jackson arrived. I was so nervous, I apologized proactively and even asked one of the elves if Santa had good heath insurance. Jackson, the child with limited “sit still” ability was mesmerized by The Jolly Man in Red. It was instantaneous. This was nothing a mere mortal could do. This was the work of a Saint… Saint Nick.

I am so confident (I’ve seen The Santa Clause, and Elf and Miracle on 34th Street)… this guy was actually Santa Claus. I know that I’m going to see him in a few weeks smashing cookies in my kitchen and he’s going to give a small head nod and a knowing wink. And I’ll nod back. A “Jetereske” tip of the cap for not kicking my kid out of line at the mall when so many other “helper Santas” would have.

 

Hey Santa:

Christmas Disaster

You remember that scene in Old School where Will Ferrell’s character takes a tranquilizer dark to the throat and then stumbles around aimlessly knocking over everything in his path? Remember that scene in Harry Potter where the troll is loose in the dungeon and starts smashing everything and destroying anything that he comes across? Yes? You do? Good then you don’t need to do much to imagine what I went through last night attempting to put up the Christmas tree with a two year old.

It was like watching Godzilla march through a Japanese village and topple over buildings and houses with no regard for humanity. Strings of lights popped, glass ornaments were launched into orbit and the dogs were forced into hiding. It became every man for himself. What should have taken an hour and included hot cocoa, laughs and fun… was more about dodging projectiles, fear of injury and trying to preserve a level of sanity that would at least keep me from drop kicking the tree out of the window.

I’ve been part of a few insane missions as a parent: changing the first huge diaper explosion, or trying to coral a herd of children at a two year old’s birthday party, but even trying to put together “some assembly required toys” is nothing compared to the challenge of installing the North Pole in your home with a toddler on the loose. “You gotta keep your head on a swivel” is the understatement of the century.

Every time I turned to hang a candy cane, every time I stepped back to check the “swoop” of the string of snowflakes, literally at every turn there was damage done to something that has been in the family for generations. Grandma’s handmade strawberry ornaments were eaten as an after dinner snack, the “baby’s first Christmas ball was thrown into the fireplace faster than any left fielder trying to catch a running tagging up from third.

I mean I love my kid and I love Christmas… but I came out of this worse for the wear. I feel like I did in high school after football two-a-days. It was a long… long……. long night, but in the end another night worth the effort!


… now…. Calgon, take me away.

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.