One year when my son Taylor was about five or six, I took him to the mall at Christmas. Unbeknownst to me, a friend of ours was playing Santa Claus. As we were walking down the mall, “Santa” came running up, yelling my name and asking
Abby! Abby! Don’t you recognize me? It’s…
Before he could finish spitting out his name, I turned to him and said
Don’t you mean Santa? I have my son with me.
Santa recovered quickly, and he went back into Santa mode.
When we got home, Taylor told everyone, “Santa knows my mom’s name!” He was totally impressed with my access to the Big Guy.
One year, my dad suggested that my son Taylor forgo putting out milk and cookies for Santa Claus and instead substitute beer and possibly some potato chips. Of course, we may have been out of milk on December 24th. Dad was known for making substitutions himself, and Taylor had told him on more than one occasion that he didn’t care for the “foamy milk” Dad had stirred up in a pitcher from a box of the powdered stuff.
When Taylor was a little bit older, my dad encouraged him to write a note to Santa before going to bed on Christmas Eve. I can’t remember everything Taylor wrote in his Christmas letter, but his last sentence sent all of us into fits of laughter. He wrote
If the cat bothers you, kill her.
It’s kind of ironic, because Taylor is (and always has been) an animal lover. That said, the cat to whom he was referring was rather…unique. And apparently at Taylor’s age at the time, he did not want anything – or any creature – interfering with the gift delivery on Christmas Eve.
Or maybe he remembered that “Santa knows my mom’s name” and wanted to be sure the Big Guy didn’t get scratched by the cat.
On another occasion during the same school year’s Christmastime period, Taylor arrived home from school before me. He took the mail out of the mailbox and discovered a letter from his school library addressed to his parents. Being a curious individual, he opened the letter and read it.
It seems the little angel had checked out a book and forgotten to return it…for several months. The school now wanted the book, or money to replace it.
Taylor wrote his response right on the school’s letter at the bottom.
I do not have the book. I do not know where it is. Please do not write to me at this address.
The words “Signed, Unsigned” can send us into gales of laughter any time we recall the incident.
Finally, during another Christmas season, Taylor called me at school crying so hysterically that I could not understand him. He finally managed to choke out the words that G.I. Joe had “lost his head.” I knew G.I. Joe was one of Taylor’s gifts.
Between the sound of my child’s hysterical sobbing and the mental image of him holding a beheaded action figure, I knew I had to take action. I got in my car and drove home.
The chaos that was my living room was awful. Our large dalmatian dog had apparently suffered a massive panic attack while in the house alone. She had torn into all the Christmas presents under our tree, destroying many gifts and chewing/slobbering on the rest of the presents. Our Christmas tree was asunder. Ribbons, ornaments, pieces of various toys, and Christmas candy were scattered about. And, for the bonus points, the dog had then experienced a massive bout of diarrhea.
My poor child had gotten home from school and walked into this maelstrom.
I learned a valuable lesson that day about not putting out the Christmas presents early.
All of our Christmas memories are precious and whether they are funny, poignant, or happy, I love my family and all the time we spend together making those marvelous memories. Merry Christmas!