Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Let 'Em Down Easy, Santa

It is a few minutes past midnight as I start this, meaning I have at least 17 more hours to keep the kids away from any wayward white-bearded fat men in red suits.

Oh, I know what they want. I don't need chubby's help there. I just know he ain't bringing it.

Thing 1, my precious little girl who can't spell her way out of … well, anything that requires the spelling of "exit," has been banging at the computer since September. She typed up a meticulous Times Roman listing of the last three American Girl catalogs. Her ongoing Word document, at last glance, was up to 16 pages.

The other day, after finding a print out, I asked her to get a calculator. Add up the price of each item (which she dutifully listed, I should note) and let me know the total, I told her.

Her digits gave out by the third page.

Thing 2 took a simpler approach this year. (Normally, he takes scissors to any mail-order catalog or Sunday advertisements that feature toys that he sees and starts cutting ragged circles around indiscriminate items he "wants." The mounds of clippings are then stuffed into a manila envelope and tossed aside. One of us usually discovers it during spring-cleaning. )

This year, though, he declared all he wanted was a Target gift card.

For $100.

No, $200.

Uh-uh, $1,000.

It's all blurry now, but I think his last bid was $5,000.

Then there is the special request. The one the Things will make if they pay their annual homage to the Toy Dude.

"I need to tell him we want two turtles and a puppy," Thing 1 said to me as I stared vacantly into another simmering pot of rice pilaf for dinner.

It's not that don't sympathize. From preadolescence upward, I begged my parents for only two things every Christmas and every birthday: a 10-speed bike and a dog.

"You get a bike and next thing, you'll want a car" was my mom's standard reply to Option 1. Even after I got my first car.

Her message was usually less subtle, and much shorter, when the canine issue was raised. I always thought the look in her eyes was something akin to what men saw shortly before Medusa turned them to stone.

Needless to say, I ended up buying my own 10-speed when I was 22. I finally got a dog when I was married. Eight years later. And living in a different time zone.

Precious Things, it therefore tears me in so many different ways to read this note I found next to the stockings that you hung with care:

"Dear Little Uncools,

Even though you didn't come see me, don't think I haven't forgotten about you! I know you have your hearts set on me bringing your dog, Murphy, a blushing puppy bride and yourselves a little green floatable friend each.

You have both tried to be good. But trying isn't enough when it comes to pets. You both need to show you can take care of yourselves before you can take care of another life. For example, Thing 2, you'd be well advised to heed your father's words about brushing, wiping, showering and so on.

Thing 1, wipe off that smile, you can't remember to make your bed even though you have been offered cold, hard cash to do so. And I know you are all about the Benjamins.

It would help if you cared more for the pet you already have. Telling your father he needs to brush Murphy's fur, clean his teeth and the like, while showing you have management potential, is not actually caring for your dog.

Thing 1 -- feed him in the morning as well as at night. Take him out to play ball once in a while instead of watching another re-run of "Jon & Kate Plus 8." Thing 2 -- you gained valuable experience picking up after the horses and sheep in camp this past summer. Apply it daily in your own yard.

I'll be checking in on your progress in a few months. Meanwhile, please accept and enjoy these Nintendo DS games.

Your Friend,


P.S.: Mmmm - love those Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies!

P.P.S. : If you think you got screwed, check out these bozos on my naughty list."


  1. I think they got off lucky. I mean Santa could have gone old school on them and given them coal or switches!

    My five year olds birthday is 3 days before Christmas and for the last 4 months (ya know since the toy commercials have gone into overdrive) all I hear is "Can I have that for Christmas or my birthday?"

  2. I love this! The Tooth Fairy has left notes when she's forgotten to leave money (really, how many more teeth do they have to lose??), but this Santa note is different. Nothing like a Christmas morning let-down delivered by Santa himself including a lecture on self-maintenance. Let me know how it works for you.


  3. I think my 4 siblings and I are the only ones who didnt' grow up asking for pets. Perhaps that's because my parents bred and showed Dalmatians, so we always had dogs and puppies around. I did ask for a cat and for years, I thought my dad's eyes might actually start throwing lasers at me. I eventually got a cat, and I think he became more attached to it than I did. LOL

    Happy holidays, Uncools! Try not to be too disappointed with the Nintendo games. When I was your age, they didn't even have Nintendo; I played on an Atari. :)

  4. I can relate to the American Girl doll insanity. We just welcomed Kaya into our lives. Bestowed upon us by grandma. I don't have enough money to buy Kaya's right arm.

  5. If they don't sell puppies in the dollar bin at Target - then my kids wouldn't get one either.

    I can see why they'd want one, a Slinky doesn't come when you call it.

    Happy Holiday!

  6. Bwahahaha!

    Merry Christmas, indeed.

  7. Santa leaves a note for each kid in their stockings. It got started after a note was written by my oldest to him that asked for things she wanted, thanked him ALOT throughout the note and then ended with "I know I am a bad girl, but will you give me one more chance?" I almost cried and started writing feel good letters from santa to them to let them know that even if they are being naughty, they are still good! (yikes)

  8. I still write a letter to Santa every December to ask him just where in the hell is the Barbie penthouse (with elevator!) that I've wanted since I was 6! My Mom, apparently in cahoots with Claus, still tells me there's nothing wrong with couch cushions as the interior of said penthouse.

    Then she hands me an empty tissue box and tells me it's Barbie's Corvette. Nice.

    (p.s. - Be glad they didn't ask for eight brothers and sisters. Damn I love that Jon)

    Merry Christmas!

  9. You wouldn't mind taking a picture of the kids right after they read the Santa letter would ya? I'd love to see the looks on their faces.

    Merry Christmas.

  10. Like that letter thing. My things have been asking me for fish. I refuse until they start helping more also.

    I have gotten the kids some of the things they want but with my little boys b-day 4 days after this joyous day it is hard. I love him but hate when his b-day is. Bonus I cna get some of the stuff he wants on super discount.

  11. I fortunately never had to ask for pets (there was always one at the house), but I was restricted to one main (costly) gift per event (BDay or Christmas), and yes I was an only brat and that is how they kept for making me too spoiled. The best gift I got was a telescope (which I still have) and a train set (that my Dad played with more than I and I don't have). I do not remember how the news there was no Santa was broken to me, but I remember precious little from wen I was a tyke. Anyway you seemed to handle things well, let us know how they handled the letter.

  12. bloody brilliant.

    Merry Christmas!

  13. Merry Christmas! -- My son after opening about 1 million gifts and playing with all of them suddenly realized that he didn't get something on his list -- a skateboard. Never mind that there is about five feet of snow on the ground, making such things totally useless.

  14. My 5 year old has the "I want that" syndrome. We try to Tivo any shows he watches so we get no commercials, but everything he sees, including improbably mundane products like tooth whitening systems and those glass plant watering globes are all desired items. I've given up, I just say random things like "you'll have to work that out later" or "I don't think Santa buys stuff from that company" or "really? because I don't think you'd have much use for a shop vac" to steer him away.

  15. They would be potentially disappointed by Nintendo DS games?

    We were allowed to ask Santa for just one thing we really wanted. I don't think dogs or turtles or even ponies ever came up.

  16. Ah, the DS. That's all my daughter wanted. And a creepy swimming baby doll.

    the Santa notes are too funny.


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