Every year, this wondrous time of yuletide joy showers down upon us like clockwork. The smell of fresh baked goodies encompasses the nostrils, crisp snow glistens majestically though the evergreens and Christmas lights shine brightly from your overzealous neighbours that are relentlessly trying to ‘one up’ you. This is a time of hope, rejuvenation and redemption, especially when it comes to the children in our lives. Soon, an obese man in a red suit with a stomach that resembles a bowl full of jelly, will make his way into our homes, eat the designated food we place out for him drink our dairy products and in return leave the presents our brood have been waiting for all year. It is a fool proof system, every child I have personally come in contact with in this glorious season of garland and trinkets, has had a gleam of awe in their eyes as well as an extra bounce in their step. And with this beautifully created fat profit, comes the best bargaining chip a parent could ask for.
This is the first year my son Lars has really understood the magnitude of Ol’ Saint Nick, and how his behavior in the month of December will directly reflect the possibility of receiving a living room full of new toys (Thomas the train track, to be exact) or a stocking full of coal.
It is 6 o’clock dinner time, the witching hour in the Brown household, as a Canadian Food Guide balanced meal does not hold the same appeal as cheese strings and cookies to my oh so disciplined children. Once again Lars is fighting me tooth and nail about eating his chicken, potatoes and cheesy broccoli.
“Look Lars, you have to eat something with some substance to it, or you will be hungry in an hour! Eat 5 bites then you can go play.”
“I no eat 5 bites, I eat nothing! I not hungry!” He is yelling and distraught from the fact that I took his trains and track away, for being disrespectful moments prior.
“You will eat 5 bites, you are hungry, you have been telling me you want food for the last half an hour!” I am now yelling and distraught from hunger and impatience. I look around for back-up from my husband, and see the top of his head slinking into our basement. That coward! Ducking out when things gets heated, I could just scream! As I formulate my next move, the phone rings. Great, someone wanting to chat it up! This is all I need; Jamie is M.I.A, Lars is up in arms, and I am on the verge of throwing the towel in and letting the lot of ’em fend for themselves.
“Hello.” My tone is not one of good will towards men.
“Hello there! HO HO HO, I would like to speak to a Mister Lars, I hear he is being a naughty boy for his Mommy right now.” The Voice on the other end is familiar to me but superbly masked to sound jolly and robust. A smile creeps across my face giving way to a laugh that is much needed, “Why yes Santa, just one moment I will get him.” I retort in a loud voice so my son will know who the recipient on the other end of the phone is.
“Lars Santa wants to talk to you, he is on the phone right now.” My 4 year old boy is aghast with wonder as I hand him the cordless receiver. Tears stop and he puts on his best ‘let’s talk to Santa face’.
“Hello Lars, I see that you are not being a very nice boy to your Mommy right now. If you keep this up, the elves might have to put you on the naughty list. And if you are on the naughty list then you will not get….Let me see here…Yes, yes the Thomas the Train, Blue Mountain Mystery train track. You wouldn’t want to not get what you asked so nicely for in your letter to me, right Lars?”
As I watch Lars talk to Mr. Clause I can see the recognition of this dire situation slowly set into reality. He ends by telling Santa he loves him and will be a good boy. Directly after this, Lars unswervingly makes his way to the table, looks up at me and says, “5 bites right Mama?” Well at least it’s a start.
Some may say it is a dark day when one has to deceive the fruit of their loins in such a way, I say that if the ammo is there, use it!
Moments later Jamie makes his way up from his basement dwelling, and his son, swollen with marvel begins telling him about his conversation with the infamous Santa Clause. My husband listens intently and in this tick I see the legendary twinkle in the man’s eye and know that this was a role he had forever meant to play. Christmas indeed is a splendid time, filled with love, laughter and when need be; some well intentioned trickery for a moment of parental relief.
‘Have a Holly Jolly Christmas, It’s the best time of the year’…For children and parents alike!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS ALL!