Friday, December 6, 2013

Holiday No-No-No, Ho-Ho-Ho

Based on yesterday's post, let me be direct: there are a few things I know right this minute I don't need for Christmas...or ever, really.

At the risk of being a giant Scrooge, here are the top three things you need not trouble yourself to share with me this December. Fa la la la la, la humbug la:

1) Photos of Elves from the Shelves Pooping.

Yeah, you read that right, and yes, that is a phrase I never thought I'd have to type. Haven't seen one, two, or a dozen of these charming shots in your Facebook feed yet? Do an image search for "elf on the shelf pooping" and you can see a bunch of them yourself. Don't do this if you aren't ready to see a lot of photos of plastic dolls sitting on toilets.

I've given up trying to fight the "Elf on the Shelf" craze; I get it now. We all have things that we really enjoy doing for our kids, that make their lives feel magical and exciting. Since EJ was little, we have loved making elaborate treasure hunts for her, since she was an early reader, and was always one to love directions, maps, etc. We—and I mostly mean my husband, who am I kidding?—can spend a few hours putting together clues, taping them around spots in the house, etc., all for five-to-ten minutes of discovery on her part, but it is totally worth it. Anyone looking in at this practice might think us nuts.

So, look, even if Santa is all-knowing and magical, and does not need any creepy spy elves to descend into your homes for a month and require parents to "help" them get into crazy high jinx every single night, and just the mention of Santa is enough to "scare kids straight" from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve (rendering all that nightly elf help completely unnecessary), I GET IT. Have fun. Assist the elf in skiing from the top of your refrigerator down to your sink, and watch your kid squeal with delight.

And I know, I think poop is hilarious. It is tempting to show off your elf's bathroom habits, especially if you are potty-training, and you think one of Santa's minions could make your life easier.

I just don't want to see it.

For many of us, there are a lot of magical traditions that we share with our kids, and sometimes, we have to really dig deep to explain them to inquisitive children. One thing I never want to have to tell my kid is that, in order to make chocolate kisses, m&ms, or peppermint candies, we must feed one of Santa's satellite elves, then wait for him/her to defecate, at which point we can collect our candy, otherwise known as elf feces.

And speaking of chocolate...

2) I don't want any chocolate diamonds

Sorry LeVian. I see your logic here, but I'm not buying it. You have a bunch of dark brown diamonds on your hands, so far from engagement rings that they might as well be inset into kitchen appliances given for unromantic eleventh anniversaries. You think to yourself:

--Chicks dig chocolate
--Chicks dig diamonds

Therefore, using the marketing version of the transitive property:

--Chicks dig chocolate diamonds.

NOT THIS CHICK. Playing an ad, over and over and over, of a woman at a "museum gallery opening" of a chocolate diamond collection will not convince me to beg my loved ones to purchase the giant, brown cocktail ring you keep showing onscreen, bathed in what looks like a CGI version of melted chocolate.

Have you ever done any baking with chocolate with a ring on? Do you know how hard it is to get hardened chocolate out from under prongs? Knowing that no one will know the difference if I have chocolate in the prongs or not, because the ring is already brown, doesn't help your sales, I promise.

You aren't the only holiday jewelry offender, though. I love Jane Seymour, but her "Open Heart" collection looks like...well...boobs and butt.  Take a look. I already have boobs; I don't need people to visualize boobs right above my boobs, and I certainly don't need anyone then musing on my accompanying backside. Sheesh.

Oh, and one last one: jewelry that comes with a stuffed animal is not for adult women. Unless you are a father or mother shopping for a sweet necklace for your pre-teen, you should not buy that for me, or anyone else who can legally vote.

Was that enough of a jewelry no-no list? Do I sound grumpy and picky? Well, speaking of lists...

3) Don't ask me to make you a list of presents I would like, my husband would like, or my daughter would like for Christmas.

God bless all of you out there who are list-makers, and take delight in doing this activity—you keep the world running smoothly, I know, and I am grateful—but I am not one of you. Getting asked to make Christmas lists takes so much joy of gift-giving/receiving out of it for me.

When I get asked to make a list, all I hear is, "In addition to doing the work of figuring out what everyone on your gift list would like, and buying them presents, please do my work of figuring out what the members of your family would like." I also think: "I'm bad at making my own lists, why on earth would anyone want a list from me?"

Now, I'm not a total jerk. If you haven't seen our kid in awhile, and want to know her current likes/dislikes, I get it, they change a lot. If you are wondering if there is something special one of us would like, but wouldn't be the kind of thing we would get ourselves, ask away. If you want to see if we already have an item, I'm more than happy to confirm that for you.

But a list? A whole list? Ugh. Inevitably, any list I try to make:

--takes away the opportunity for the three of us in our immediate family to buy the gifts that we really want to give each other, because I get desperate, and put those items on the list I give extended family.
--makes us look like jerks who just can't give enough ideas—what is wrong with us?
--makes us look like jerks who only want specific things, or fancy things, or expensive things.

Those last two points relate to each other, because, frankly, we really don't want anything for Christmas most of the time. In any given year, the things we do want are the kinds of things you have to save for, and we would never ask others to buy for us.

Those things can't go on a list (hence we are jerks for not including enough items), unless the need for a list is so insistent, I tell the truth and say the big stuff (hence we are jerks who want expensive things). They are things like:

--The fancy sheets that really fit our bed, and are very soft, and yes, are crazy-expensive, but hold up for years, and work the best. 
--Money for a painter and an electrician, or for student loans from grad school, or for a college fund for our daughter. 
--Help paying for the professional organizer we have been working with to help rid us of stuff—I actually broke down in tears sitting with our organizer this week in our daughter's room, realizing that—despite the fact that we have already removed at least a dozen garbage bags full of donations from her space—in order to make the room function we still need to strip it of 1/2 of its contents, and...gasp...Christmas is coming, and the room will be piled to the rafters again, with no room for what there is now.

Crud. I think I just made a list. A list within a list. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?

Please don't ask for another if you were hoping to get us a gift. Ignore the list(s) above, and give some honeybees or ducklings (or whatever animal fits your fancy) to needy families throughout the world through Heifer International, or donate money to the local food pantry we support, St. James Pantry. Or, if you really want to shop, buy us whatever you think we will like, and you'll discover that we love it when people pick things from their hearts, and are grateful for everything, especially the things we never would have thought to put on our own lists.

And if you really want it, let me know, and I might just buy you a chocolate-diamond encrusted "open heart" pendant, which comes with a teddy bear that you can stage with your elf in the bathroom. I love you that much. Just put it on your list.


  1. Ha! I was looking forward to your post today just so I could share my own holiday frustration, but there it is on your list! I am so done with having to decide what everyone else buys my family for Xmas. The worst is I end up getting nagged by my mom to nag Erik to make his list. This year my parents were here in October and they brilliantly got the kids to make lists and took them home with them. But I still had to do it for everyone else. And not only do you have to come up with this stuff, you have to remember which gifts you told to which relative so they don't all end up getting your kids the same stuff.

  2. There are a few things that I could think of off the top of my head that I would love to receive as a gift, but there are *so few* that telling someone what they are is a de facto request for that gift. Which is silly. Especially when the potential giver of said gift is my husband, with whom I share a bank account. I may as well just buy it for myself when I encounter Just The Thing and give it to Hubs to wrap for me, so that our daughter can see us opening gifts from each other, and Christmas morning gift giving is not about Her And Only Her. So we are trying it this year. Kinda. Hubs told me exactly what he wants, and I will order it online and wrap it. I happened to see something recently that I really wanted that wasn't in the regular purchases budget, so I put it on the card and told Hubs that he'd just bought my Christmas gift that day. Easy peasy, totally pleasy. No need for him to wrack his brain or make last minute trips to stores (which is the inevitable result when the day before Christmas he remembers that he doesn't have anything for me). Of course if I happen to see or hear of something that I think he would really enjoy, I get it--for Christmas, birthday, Valentine's Day, anniversary, no reason at all. So we are not a surprise-free family. But that kind of thing just tends to happen now and then when I'm *not* looking, and if it doesn't, well, this is *the* worst time of the year for one more thing for my mind to wrassle with. I'll report back on how it goes. Now if only I could get my MIL to believe that I really, really, actually and truly would prefer a donation to Heifer Int'l or Smile Train or Hunger Task Force instead of more clothes, when I've just struggled to winnow my wardrobe down to what will fit reasonably in my dresser and closet . . . then it would be the merriest of Christmases indeed. :)

  3. BTW, I am totally with you on elf poop and the T&A "Open Heart" pendant, Kori. (What was she thinking!?!) But a chocolate diamond I kinda dig, actually. It's kinda smoky, kinda sparkly, good for wearing with earthy colors. I've seen purty ones.

  4. I have a friend (Dave S) whose family has an interesting exchange each year. They don't. Since everyone was buying everyone else gift cards, they collectively decided to stop, and just buy themselves a gift card instead. I know—is it Christmas without gift giving/receiving?
    You know me K, I LOVE lists. And I'm always in need/want of something. But coming from a big family who just married into a big family—sometimes just being able to see most of them is gift enough. And food. And warm socks.