Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Magic?

Here are a few concepts The Quartet can’t seem to comprehend: my desire to sing, dinner, quiet, bath time and, apparently, Christmas. Kristy went shopping the other night, and told them she was going, but when she arrived home they asked – nee, demanded – to see what she’d bought. “They’re Christmas presents,” we explained, needlessly, one would think. But they wouldn’t have any of it, especially S and JP, who whined and cried. Then, today at work, I received a big box of goodies from Aunt Katherine down in the swamps of south Florida. When I brought it home and it was opened to reveal brightly wrapped Christmas gifts, The Quartet, again, wanted to know why they couldn’t open those gifts now, now, now. How did this all start? When did they start expecting gifts just because it’s a Wednesday near Christmas day?

JP didn’t want the gifts because it’s almost Christmas day. He could care less when Christmas is, he just wants whatever is inside that paper because it’s something for him, something he needs. This attitude brings me to the conversation we had last night where he tried to convince me there is no Santa Claus. I assumed it was a rumor he’d heard from his buddies, though he wasn’t giving up any names. I assured him Santa is real, he is watching yet wouldn’t deliver to any kids who didn’t believe, and that even his mother and I believe in the fat man. I think he may have drifted off to sleep rethinking all of this, if not the magical aura of a Santa and what he means to kids all over, then at least the fact that he may not get any loot if he doesn’t play along. And loot is what that boy wants.

The other day, at my wit’s end, I threatened S with calling Santa if she didn’t stop doing whatever it was she was doing at the time, or didn’t start doing whatever it was I wanted her to do, I forget now. She laughed, goaded and called my bluff. So I picked up my phone, flipped it open and dialed my store. I was closed so, thankfully, no one answered, but I pretended to leave a voice mail for Santa explaining that S was not behaving and should, therefore, be left off any Nice list he might be compiling. She’s jaded and didn’t seem to buy it. What I’m wondering now is if it’s okay to forgo just one Christmas to make a point. If one of the kids gets nothing for Christmas for just one year as an example, then wouldn’t it make all subsequent years more pleasant? Like in The Godfather III when the Andy Garcia character shoots one of the guys who broke into his apartment to get the other guy to tell him what he knows. I’m not suggesting anything so drastic, or quite as violent, but you see the connection? It’s all about proving a point. By making an example of one kid, one year, all other Christmas seasons could be virtually hassle free.

I know this isn’t Currier & Ives, but things just seem to be getting out of hand and I’m wondering if it’s not time to make these miscreants an offer they can’t refuse. I’m not going to give the whole Commercialization of Christmas lecture because we’ll hear plenty of that over the season, but these two are four- and five-years-old. Shouldn’t the anticipation of the big day be as exciting as the day itself and all of its promises? I also understand being a kid and just wanting the presents, I know I did as well, but I knew instinctively that they weren’t to be opened until Christmas morning and that was a big part of the magic.

I still have a few days to instill that magic into the kids. I’m not sure how to do it. I’m sure, though, that I won’t have Andy Garcia shoot one of them, that’s out of the question. But perhaps on Christmas Eve we’ll make some cider and popcorn, gather around the TV and, instead of watching It’s a Wonderful Life as has become our tradition, we’ll watch The Godfather III. Maybe they’ll glean a bit of holiday magic from an elf named Vincent.