So, the official start of the Christmas season in my house is Black Friday. I do not shop, I decorate. My house is fully prepped and ready for Santa before December even starts. The year my daughter was born, all of my Christmas cards were pre-addressed and stamped before I went into the hospital! It’s a type of madness, I know, but my middle name is Noel for Christ’s sake (pun completely and totally intended), so really, I just can’t help myself.
However, even I was unprepared for the torrent of questions about Santa and Christmas that have been unleashed upon me by my almost five-year old. See, a few weeks ago, a friend shared the story of the Elf on the Shelf. Apparently, a little elf is sent from Santa into your house and essentially spies on your children, reporting back to the S-Man every night. The parent changes the location of the elf every day, further convincing the kids that he does indeed leave the house to file his report. The elf earns its wings, or hat, or ears or something if the kids are good. I’m not too clear on the details because, instead of spending $30 on Amazon for the book and accompanying elf, I unearthed a Care Bear in a Santa suit and decided it would do. So, like any good parent, I prepared my children for a month of tyranny and told them the elf would arrive after Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, my daughter found him hiding in my pajama drawer and the elf (Santa Oopsie Bear) has begun his reign of terror a bit early. (Side note – a friend has a velvet Santa hanging in her dining room for this very purpose, but instead of scaring them one month per year, he’s there year round. It’s genius.)
Now, I am treated to hourly questions about the magic of Santa. Why does he land on the roof? How does he fly? Is the North Pole above the moon? Above the stars? Who gets presents? What does Santa do the rest of the year? What is coal? Why are there different Santas? What is an elf? How does Santa Oopsie Bear move around the house? How does he get to the North Pole and back while I am sleeping? What time does he leave? Does he get back before Daddy wakes up? Does he fly? Does he ride on a little sled? Does he take a helicopter? Will he be here every day? How does he watch us from different rooms? How does he know when we go to sleep? What happens after Christmas? Will he go to another family? Will we get a different elf next year? What does he tell Santa? How does he tell Santa because stuffed animals don’t talk? And on, and on, and on.
Then she asks the same questions again two hours later. This has been going on for three days.
My father tells a charming story of when my sister was very small, he got very angry with her and said that if she didn’t behave, he was going to set Santa on fire when he tried to come down the chimney. As you can imagine, this did not go over well. But now, as a parent myself, I can totally see how killing Santa seemed like a good idea. It is not even Thanksgiving and I am already knee-deep in reindeer poo. I simply can’t sustain this much good cheer. No one can. It’s unhealthy.
The worst part is that as I answer such important questions as how does Santa Oopsie Bear turn the doorknob and why don’t we just leave the front door open and unlocked on Christmas Eve – I actually have to remember what I say. If I mistakenly give a different answer the second, third, or fifteenth time the question is asked, then all hell breaks loose. It’s like Lost, if I get too detailed, I’ll just entangle myself five questions down the road. I have 32 days until Christmas and I’m not sure Santa Oopsie Bear is going to make it. There might be a tragic accident involving driving while drinking eggnog or a heartbreaking overdose of sugar cookies. I hear that white powder can kill you. He might accidentally get stuffed in a turkey or succumb to an allergic reaction to cranberries. I’m not sure, but it is possible only one of us will last through this Christmas season. The elf might be on the shelf, but it will be sitting next to an empty bottle of Jack.