Everywhere I look in what is quaintly known as the blogosphere, young mothers are bitching about Christmas and all that it entails. Rockstar Mommy is bemoaning the fact that the threat to call Santa doesn’t seem to carry the sting it used to. Letter B is freaking out. The tree! The cookies! The teachers’ presents! I feel their pain, really. I just don’t share it anymore.
No, after many years of crossing the fine line into holiday induced psychosis, I am rolling out two new strategies this year. The first is the ever-handy state of denial. Despite the untrimmed tree sitting in our living room and the unbought presents sitting on my list, I am happily pretending it is not the holiday season and that Christmas, not to mention Mate’s parents, is not descending upon us at an alarming speed.
Second, I have enlisted help in – if I do say so myself – something of a genius fashion. The boys have know for years that Santa and I are extremely close. A few years ago, when youngest was flirting with acknowledging the fact that Santa does not well, exist, he chose an In-n-Out by the side of highway 10 somewhere forgettable in Arizona to pop the question. Over a giant double-double, in the blazing heat and a propos of nothing, he said, "Santa isn’t real is he?" In the ensuing pause, a conversational gambit I really don’t use often enough, he laid all his cards on the table. "You leave the presents, you eat the cookies, you drink the milk. Right?"
I looked my ten year old straight in the eye, and paraphrased a line I had used with Mate when he wouldn’t stop asking about this guy I…
I said, "If you really want me to, I will tell you everything you want to know about Santa and my relationship with him. But here is the thing, you should never ask a question you don’t really want the answer to. So, I just want you to take a moment to think about whether or not you really want to know the answer to this question." He took a sip of his vanilla milkshake and said, "Ah, forget it."
So we never did have that conversation, but as I was casting about in a panic this year for ways to survive the holidays without resorting to psychotropic drugs, I hit upon the aformentioned genius idea. I said to the boys at Thanksgiving, "You guys know that Santa and I are so close we are like THIS, right? Well, he has let me know that this year, he’s totally stressed out and needs to bring in some reinforcements. I knew you wouldn’t mind of I offered your services. So he has given me money to give to each of you so you can buy presents on his behalf for one member of the family. He’s not bailing completely, he just needs a little help around the edges."
Predictably, Oldest grumbled the most. He hangs on to tradition until the absolute bitter end. His brothers approached the idea with more equanimity. In the end, we drew names from a hat, they all went shopping and, much to everyone’s surprise, fun was had while thinking about someone else for once.
I am so done bogarting the holidays.