Sunday, January 08, 2012

Undecking the halls

All that remains of Christmas 2011 is the memories, the love handles and the pine needles stuck in the carpet.  Still, our son Evan isn’t quite ready to give up on it yet.

“Santa comin’ tonight,” he has declared every night since Christmas.

“No, buddy, he’ll come again next Christmas, but not tonight,” I’ll say.

“Okay.  Santa comin’ tonight,” he’ll reply, undeterred.  

Santa’s bigger than Elmo around here now.  Not too bad for someone Evan didn’t even know about until a month ago.  Santa must have an excellent publicist.

Here’s how Evan’s part of the conversation went when we explained the deal to him (paraphrasing): “Okay, so let me get this straight.  A fat man flies through the sky with magic reindeer, lands on the roof, jumps down the chimney and sneaks around the house.  Then he leaves a bunch of presents for me?  Okay, I’m on board.”

Santa managed to deliver some pretty cool toys, even though Evan didn’t provide much input for potential gift-givers to go on.

“What do you want from Santa?” I asked Evan before Christmas.

“Presents,” he replied.

“What kind of presents?” I asked.

“Lots of presents,” he said, displaying a keen ability to grasp the spirit of the holiday.

“Okay, but what are your favorite kinds of presents?” I asked.

“Red ones.  And white ones.  And green ones.  Those my favorites,” he said, listing the colors of sprinkles he’d just used to bury some sugar cookies.

I suppose it doesn’t matter how well you articulate your Christmas wishes when you’re completely stoked to get anything at all.  Evan ooh’d and aah’d at each present for two seconds before jumping back into the pile, tearing at anything within reach.

“Whoa, that one’s not yours!” we’d say, but he’d already be dangling the necklace from his fingers, saying, “Lookit!”

Then he’d disappear back into the pile with wrapping paper scraps shooting into the air.  It looked like there was a dog digging a hole under there.

“That kid need slow down,” the Tasmanian Devil would have said.

Besides a decent haul of loot from Santa, Evan also scored big from his grandparents, whose role at Christmastime becomes that of spoilers-in-chief.

“Vroom!” Evan said, pushing his new grandparent-sponsored racecar through his little town of blocks, speeding right past the cop car I had under my hand.  He didn’t see the speed trap until it was too late.
“Here comes the policeman!  You were going too fast – he’s going to take your money,” I said.

“Take money?” Evan asked, looking sad.  To him, money is the thing that makes the helicopter ride in the mall go up and down, so he’s a big fan of it.

“That’s right, speed demon.  You just got a ticket.  You can show up to your court date or just fork it over now,” I said.  Just as I had the inkling that perhaps I wasn’t encouraging Evan to have the healthiest attitude toward law enforcement, I looked up to see several family members giving me the “what’s wrong with you?” look.

“Babe, why don’t you teach him that the policeman is the good guy?” my wife Kara suggested.

“Sorry, I mean he’s here to help you change your tire, buddy,” I said, but Evan looked suspicious.  His daycare might need a few visits from Officer Friendly to offset our playtime.

In any event, Christmas gets exponentially more fun when you have a kid who appreciates the finer points of getting spoiled rotten.  This year was such a success, we may very well set out a cookie trap again next Christmas Eve to see if we can lure another visit from Santa.  Or maybe we’ll just leave out the cookies that Evan put on the mantel again this afternoon.

You can put some bituminous goodies in Mike Todd’s stocking at

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