We’ve started to think about Christmas presents for our kids, and we’re finding that maintaining the Santa mythology is quite the delicate dance.
For months now, Captain Jelly Belly has been rhyming off the things he wants from Santa. His friend has a new car? “I’m going to ask for that from Santa!” He sees a racetrack on TV? “I’m going to ask for that from Santa!” Lately we’ve had a lot of talks about how Santa has limited room on his sleigh, and he can only bring one thing for the Captain. Why? Because Santa has to bring presents for all the boys and girls in the world, so he can’t fill his whole sleigh with stuff for the Captain.
CJB always walks away with a frown on his face, like he can tell he’s being had, but he just can’t quite see how.
Anyway, once I put the “one item” rule in place, CJB decided he wanted his one thing to be Arthur. Arthur is one of the Thomas the Tank Engine trains. CJB has about 25 Thomas trains, and he only plays with them sporadically now. Plus, he already has Arthur, only in the small metal version, and now he wants him in the big wooden version.
Needless to say, we will not be getting him an Arthur for Christmas.
So this brings up a problem. I want him to have the joy of the whole Santa thing. But he is exactly the type who, if Santa does not bring him the very thing he asked for, will a) be hysterical and b) will never trust Santa again.
Yesterday I went to the Superstore and purchased his actual Santa gift — a Lightning McQueen racetrack, in the shape of Mack, the big 18-wheeler who is Lightning’s transport. Excellent long-term play value, plus on mega-sale, plus the Superstore had a deal where if you spend a certain amount you save an additional $30, so overall, I basically got it for free. That justified the early shopping, which I swore I would not do this year, but did I mention basically free?
Now our job is to make him think that this item is what he really wants for Christmas, before we go see Santa next week (although, if CJB will actually bring himself to talk to the weird stranger, I’ll be shocked).
Yesterday afternoon CJB was playing with his Lightning McQueen so I offered to play with him. Then I said, “Wow, wouldn’t it be SO COOL if only we had a Mack?” And he said, “Yeah!” And I said, “I know! We could totally ask Santa for that to be your one thing! Then we could play Mack and Lightning together!” And he said, “YEAH! I want a Mack from Santa!”
I hope it’s not wrong to manipulate your kids like this. Now all I have to do is convince Gal Smiley she’d like a Little Tikes kitchen from Santa and we’re all set.
Then it’s on to the talk about Jesus. I think that one might be a little tougher.