I think I may have single handedly ruined the magicalness of Christmas for my kids.
I mean, there’s only so much enchantment I can create, you know? As much as I would love to present my children with a Pinterest Christmas, I gave up on that attempt the year my daughter destroyed the homemade applesauce cinnamon ornaments just because.
They have an advent calendar with a daily treat (mostly cheap chocolate because I am not an idiot) but we had to move that surprise to the afternoon because someone (my son) wasn’t sleeping past 4:30 a.m. He was too excited because of all the anticipation, and I was too tired because of all the early rising.
But sometimes I forget to have their treat out when they get home from school. They run expectedly, eyes bright hoping for their tiny snowman chocolate. I have to inform them that no, their mother wasn’t prepared. Again. But hold on a minute and I’ll get it for you. I guess that ruins the surprise, or something.
We also acquired an Elf on the Shelf a few years ago as a family gift, though we probably would have gotten him ourselves because everyone has to have an elf now, right?
Guess how happy I am about that little nuisance? Not only does he absolutely have to be in a different spot every night, but parents now are creating ridiculous scenarios where their elf is squirting toothpaste all over the bathroom because he’s just a silly, naughty thing. Excuse me, but I have enough junk to pick up after my children. Sorry, kids. I’m not cleaning up after the elf, too. You will just have to make do with our boring Mr. Christmas.
I also don’t understand how people leave their elves in places low enough for kids to reach. My kids know they’re not supposed to touch him. However my daughter will look you right in the eye as you tell her not to touch and poke the poor guy’s leg. That’s because no one is allowed to tell her what not to do, obviously.
And now my son has started writing to our elf. Usually he tells me when he’s written a letter and asks that I make sure the elf knows about it because we have a special bond, Mr. Christmas and I. But sometimes my son doesn’t tell me and is greatly disappointed when there isn’t a response. That means, of course, that now I have to search for a letter every night, just in case.
As much as I complain, I actually wish I were better at all of this than I am. I’d love to be the type of mom who has everything organized enough to fill every day of the Christmas season with magic. I’m having a difficult enough time keeping up with all I’m supposed to be doing that isn’t Christmas related, and many times I drop the ball. But I hope they don’t remember all the times the elf didn’t respond to a letter, or how we still didn’t put up the outside Christmas lights.
Maybe, instead, they’ll remember cookies we made, the tree we decorated, the Christmas music and hot chocolate, and the holiday shows we watched snuggled up together and offer a bit of forgiveness to their imperfect Mama.
*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on December 23, 2015.