Christmas 2013

Christmas was wonderful. My parents came down and the boys had a great day. The trick to keeping the Santa myth going (beyond taking your children out of school where they can’t hear false rumors about his existence – or lack thereof) is consistency. The gifts from Santa need to be wrapped in different paper than the gifts from family; the gift tags need to look as though they were written by an arthritic, over-worked old man with very cold fingers. There needs to be a note from Santa explaining why, although he had considered it, this was just not the year to deliver a real live puppy dressed in an elf outfit (as they had requested in their letters to him). The carrots left out for the reindeer need to thoroughly gnawed, and most of Santa’s cookies need to be eaten. Of all our Christmas traditions, the only one I really missed this year was the Playmobil nativity set (complete with Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, animals, star angel, etc.). We would set it up a few weeks before Christmas and I would put the three wise men and their camels on the opposite side of the room. Miraculously, each night the wise men somehow journeyed a bit closer to the manger. The boys would race downstairs each morning to assess their progress. “Why,” Malachi asked suspiciously, “do we never see them travel during the day?” “Well,” I said, “the wise men don’t have very good eyesight. They can only go at night when they see the light from the star angel.” Rather than repeatedly asking when Christmas was, the boys knew that once the wise men reached the manger, it was here.