Ah, the holidays. This is the time of year when my to-do lists have become so swollen and big that they actually start giving birth to other baby to-do lists. There are the concerts, the outfits, the cookies, the presents, the million trips to the post office, the holiday cards, the stocking stuffers, the office parties, and on and on and on, until I can take a deep breath on December 26.
Despite being completely overwhelmed a lot of the time, I do love this time of year. I love the music, the eggnog, my children’s wonder-filled eyes when they first see our tree all lit up.
I also love that I still have the ability to make ordinary things magic. I can make trees come to life for my kids, I can make stuffed elves turn mischievous, I can convince my kids that reindeer fly, and even that a fat man enters our house in the middle of the night and we are totally OK with that.
My kids are at the age where they still believe in all the stuff, so for now, I am the magic-maker.
Yes, I spend a lot of my time in December lying to my kids. No, I don’t feel bad about that at all. Making magic sometimes requires lying about various stuff: the elf, Santa, the reindeer, the North Pole’s ability to take collect calls at a moment’s notice, the amount of cookies I ate last night.
But then there are all the freaking questions:
Q: But how does Santa come to Nana’s when there isn’t a chimney in her house? — our skeptical 5-year-old asks.
A: He’s magic, dear. He can do anything he wants.
Q: How do the reindeer stand on her roof, though? It’s very tilty.
Q: How does Santa actually eat all of those cookies in one night?
A: Magic. (And I really wish I knew.)
Then I hope that my daughter just lets the whole thing go, because that’s pretty much all I’ve got.
Her 10-year-old brother will most likely believe in Santa until he’s shaving, but my daughter has been challenging the physics of the whole operation since she learned to speak. I know it won’t be long before she sees through the charade (and then, hopefully, tells her brother), so I want to make the most of this time.
And while making magic requires time and effort — and Amazon Prime — it also requires that I am at my very best. I’m proposing that starting this year moms get to have a seat on Santa’s lap (and not in a pervy way) and ask for the things we need to get through the holidays. We, the exhausted and energy-depleted magic-makers.
This is what I would ask Santa for if I had the chance:
1. For my children to have the ability to drink a single cup of hot chocolate without turning into that demon from Stranger Things.
2. That every calorie consumed in December be wiped clean by all the good deeds I’m doing for others.
3. For me to suddenly fall in love with wrapping presents just like some of you crazy people out there with ribbon drawers and wrapping-paper racks.
4. That for once, the makers of the most popular toy of the season will effectively mass-produce those things so that moms everywhere aren’t having to buy mechanical penguins out of the back of warehouse trucks like covert drug dealers.
5. That December 26 be declared a national holiday for moms and dads with mandatory nice-ness from our kids, plus foot rubs and free pizza delivery.
6. That no matter what, my husband won’t ever see the receipt for that perfect holiday dress I bought for myself that may have been a bit out of my price range but does amazing things for the parts that have been wrongly targeted by all of the cookie eating.
7. That the name “Bannon” is not uttered once over Christmas dinner.
8. That I will be able to laugh at everything that will inevitably go wrong.
9. That I will remember last year when creating the custom email from Santa Claus and will not put my 5-year-old on the “naughty” list — because that was a really, really bad idea.
I am only human, so my magic-making abilities will soon start to fade. The Christmas tree will turn into a regular old fire hazard, the elves will go back into hiding, and the threats from Santa will no longer carry any weight.
But hopefully my kids will someday look back on their childhoods and say, “Damn, Mom deserves a new car for that magic childhood she gave us.”
A girl can dream.