Do we push our Christmas celebrations back for one day? Do we return all but one gift per child? Do we stuff only our stockings and leave theirs bare?
What - oh what - should we do?
Borrowing upon the wise advice of my cousin Margaret who called at 12:30 AM EST and my advisory committee (aka: the kind people who left me comments late in to Christmas Eve) we reduced the children's gifts by approximately 25% (stashed away for next year) and added an onion to each of their stockings.
We also left a note from Santa which read,
Dear William, Elizabeth & Carolyn:
This is Santa Claus. When I arrived at your house tonight, with a sleigh full of toys, my reindeer were very hungry. It surprised me that you didn’t leave any carrots out for them. When I spoke with your Mother and Father, they told me that they had to put you directly to bed without any dessert. They also told me that over the past few days your ears have not been working very well and you’ve been teasing each other. When I heard that you were acting naughty, I wanted to turn my sleigh around and fly right back to the North Pole.
But your Dad and Mom, who love you very much, told me that you would be so sad to wake up on Christmas morning and not have any presents. So at their request, I decided to leave you a few things. But I want for you to know that there were a few more toys that my elves had made especially for you that have been brought back to my workshop until NEXT year.
I hope that you enjoy the presents that I did leave for you. I hope that you take good care of them and SHARE them with your siblings. These toys aren’t just for YOU, they are for your FAMILY. And if I see that you are fighting over something, Rudolph and I will fly down and take them away.
PS: Vegetables are very good for you. I want to see you eating your carrots instead of spitting them in to your milk. Don’t forget … I am always watching. Ho! Ho! Ho!
Yeah. Yeah. I know what I said.
I know that I said I was going to lock the fireplace and tell Santa to skip over our house. And while I meant it at the time, somewhere around my second mug of eggnog and brandy, I very distinctly heard a little voice whisper in my ear, "RELAX."
So I did.
And when I looked in on the children and could actually see the visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, I thought what kind of monster would I be to deny my five-year-olds of the awesome experience that is Christmas morning? Or more appropriately, how awful would it be to deny Charlie and myself of experiencing Christmas morning with our five-year-old children? Because today and as far as I can see in to the future, this one decision of skipping Santa would bother us a lot more than it would bother them.
This morning the children were up at 6:15 and were trying to climb over the baby gate that we had used to block off the bedroom "wing" from the rest of the house. Although we had been up until almost 2:00 AM getting things ready (because we didn't decide that to unlock the fireplace until 11:46), we were exhausted. But the children's excitement was contagious.
Carolyn said that she heard Santa's reindeer on our roof. William was convinced that he saw Rudolph's red nose in the sky. And Elizabeth said that she was sure today was going to be a better today for me (For me?! Not her? The little pyromaniac?!)
This afternoon, we put all four of the children down for a much needed nap. Two and a half hours later, they are still sleeping so perhaps they really are exhausted and over stimulated by the almost non-stop festivities. As their mother and giver of life, I should have known better. But I didn't. Probably because I was exhausted and over stimulated by all of the non-stop festivities as well. Thankfully, today is a much better day.
Today is a beautiful day.
Today is a peacefully quiet day.
And while I know that Christmas doesn't come with ribbons, tags, boxes or bags... it certainly does make it a lot more fun.
We hope that you are having an equally wonderful and blessed day.