Friday, December 25, 2009

you can't stop Christmas from coming

Last night, Charlie and I were up until 11:45 wondering what to do.


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.

Merry Christmas!

Love, Santa

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.

Merry Christmas!


  1. Last night my children grazed the depths of insanity themselves. We had already reduced the christmas factor this year so instead we called Santa. Santa spoke at length to the kids and their act improved, not 100% but greatly. Today was a much better day and the twins who have not napped in months took a 3 hour nap. I guess the anticipation gets to them in other ways too!

  2. that was better than not giving presents. i love your letter- it is perfect! merry christmas! looks like it was a great and memorable one!!! :-)

  3. First of all -Merry Christmas to all!! I was thinking as I was reading your post (sitting down for a much deserved mommy/wifey break -post wrapping paper flying at our home) that it must be difficult to budget for all of the children and take a tremendous amount of time to lovingly select those special things each one wants.

    I had to comment on your Christmas Eve post that after your Mexico visit, I thought for sure you were going to say you took at least HALF of a "garage full of toys" back across the border to those poor little kids that had so little and that your beautiful and healthy children had plenty. It's always a hard balance isn't it?

  4. Merry Christmas! Those last 2 blog post were awesome. Glad everything worked out. :)

  5. Good for you. the kids look like they has a great time.. and Christmas presents are given on an averaged out rate of 'good' vs 'bad' over the course of the year... kids are excited and giddy and amped up right before xmas...and right after...

    Glad that you had a great time!

  6. It sounds as if you compromised wonderfully! Read your last post late last night and was so tired I had nothing to offer (sorry!!). But small children do get over-stimulated (learned from experience) and mom and dad do expect a lot at this time of year (again the voice of experience) - but I think you handled it beautifully! Merry Christmas to you & yours!

  7. That Elizabeth. Priceless! Love the letter! So glad you got an attitude adjustment! ;-) Love, Marg

  8. Looks like you had a great day. I'm glad you had Christmas. Sounds like the kids were just overtired. Yeah for sleep!!!! Hope they go to bed before midnight. Ho ho ho. Merry Christmas!!!!!

  9. I read your previous post with not enough time to leave a comment, but I've been wondering how you guys handled things -- and I think you came up with a super solution!! Parenting is so hard -- I am always wondering and worrying if I'm sending mixed messages, what to say, what not to say, what to deal with and what to let go of . . . . Right now I'm trying to figure out a behavior plan for my girls that is positive but keeps them accountable. When things are going well it's unbelievably amazing, but when it's not is so so so hard.

    It looks like your kids had a lot of fun : ) Great pics!

  10. I think that note from Santa was awesome! We went the Elf on the Shelf route ( That thing is a wonder. I wish we could use the little spy year-round. Each time the kids started acting out, we'd tell them the elf was taking notes to give to Santa that evening.

  11. We had a great Christmas and I am so happy to have family here to share it with us. I am so proud of my grandchildren as they are introduced they look into people's eyes and shake and say "Nice to meet you." I wonder where they learned that????
    Clark is Superman in disguise--a graeat help and so pleasant.
    Happy New Year.

  12. Nice compromise. It's looks as if the kids throughly enjoyed the gifts that Santa left for them. I curious to hear how the reacted to the message from Santa.

  13. I'm glad you didn't skip Christmas. It only comes once a year, while children will misbehave and be exceptionally good on and off throughout the whole year. The note from Santa was a nice touch!

    I hope you and your family had a very merry Christmas!

  14. Jen,
    This comment isn't particular to this post. I just wanted to let you know that your recommendation for toys was a big hit in our family. Check out my post from Xmas morning.

  15. What is that tobagan toy? Looks very cool! Glad Santa changed his mind. I was there with you though! Glad you had a Merry one!