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.
Boys night watching #Elf 🌲🎅🏼
Half and hour in and my four year-old has already made approximately 187 references to Elfie (his #ElfonTheShelf). Check out @thedadexperience on Thursday, December 20th for a hilarious look at how that damn Elf has ruined parents everywhere. There’s also an in-depth look at the #Hanukkah equivalent of the Elf called #MoistureOnAMat
What breakfast, lunch and dinner looks like with two children
“The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.”
Beautifully placed garland on a Christmas tree
I share a lot on here, but one thing I refuse to do is to share pictures of our Elf on the Shelf. We’re not a Pinterest family (well Steph tries to be, but her projects usually look like the after on a failed Pinterest page… but the effort is there).
Our elf doesn’t recreate movie elaborate Christmas movie scenes depicting himself dressed up as the main character. He doesn’t tend to use props and for the most part he sits in the same place he was when everyone went to bed (usually until someone panics first thing in the morning because we realized we forgot).
Tonight, however, I watched my wife, the mother of our children, help Elfie (yes our Elf’s name is Elfie) toilet paper the Christmas tree… if you could call it that. Now I don’t know what kind of childhood this woman lived… wether it was under a rock or simply spent in a bubble, but the fact that she didn’t know how to toilet paper something is telling.
I walked down stairs to multiple rolls of toilet paper carefully patterned and intricately placed like lacy garland on the ensues of the tree branches. I watched as Elfie sat, embarrassed perched high atop the Douglas Fir. Embarrassingly realizing that he would have to take credit for this “prank”.
What toilet papering should look like:
What Stephanie’s idea of toilet papering looks like:
Luckily there was someone in the house with a bit more knowledge and experiences when it comes to toilet papering. I won’t say who he is for confidentiality reasons… but I know Elfie appreciated the more random and vandalized look of his prank now that an expert lent his expertise.
Jackson really enjoys finding him each morning and this year is Ollie’s first time being interested…even with that though, it’s a good thing we don’t do the social media thing with our elf… he would have been embarrassed by this who situation. Sorry Elfie. Sorry.
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.
I guess seven and a half months isn’t old enough to get the whole Christmas thing… but you have to start somewhere right? So I started thinking about the holiday itself, not the religious meaning or where Christmas actually began, but just the perspective of a baby who is still trying to figure out the world around him.
I can literally see his little brain working… his inner thoughts are asking: “Dad, why the hell did you plant a tree inside the house?” “Hey guys, did you know that you left some colored nightlights on outside?” “Mom, you know how your always complaining that the dryer eats all the socks… well I think I found the ones you’re looking for. They’re hanging up on the fireplace!”
You spend every waking minute talking to your baby. Teaching them about life, about nature and about how things work. Then all of a sudden, Christmas comes… things are turned upside down, people change… How do you explain this to someone who still puts anything in front of them in their mouth? Where do you begin? What do you say that can spell out what is going on in their own home? The thing is… I don’t think you can… I am going to go under the assumption that the first few Christmases are about the moms and the dads and especially about the grandmas and the grandpas (sounds like a 1970s band).
I am confident that Jax is loving all the extra things lying around the house that are (to him) edible… I know over the past few years the dogs sure have enjoyed eating hundreds of decorations and ornaments. Jackson is going to have to just deal with the fact that a big fat (healthy fat we like to say) is able to break into our house and walk around freely with no consequences. “No Jax the alarm does not work on Santa.” “No Jax Santa will not burn his buttcrack on the fire.” No Jackson, Santa will not be happy if you leave him a dirty diaper.”
400 words later and I haven’t even introduced Jax to the Abominable Snowman, Hermey, Buddy the Elf, or the Wet Bandits… or the fact that we dress up Buster and Max for XMAS too. This is going to be a long Christmas break….