This post first appeared on OneFunnyMotha.com
This year when I asked my daughter for her Christmas list, she bounded over and happily presented me with a three-page, typed, single-spaced document listing approximately 2,000 items. I grabbed the list, gave it a cursory glance and promptly handed it back before resuming work on my laptop. "Please revise and resubmit."
Actually, that's not true. First, I edited the list. Then I returned it. Santa might be a jolly, but he's no fool. "Have it back on my desk by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow."
But I must admit as I raced through the document, wildly slashing my daughter's hopes and dreams from the list, I got a creeping sensation. Holding my pen over the white sheet of paper, I paused for a moment. Is it wrong to edit your child's Christmas list?
Then I thought better of it. If your kid has the nerve to hand you a sweeping, three-page list filled with a stunning 99 entries, all bets are off. Not only that, but Kate also asked for completely ridiculous stuff. I'm not even talking about the trampoline or the mini fridge for her room that topped the list. I'm talking about item #71. Candy. One month after Halloween she asked for candy. Candy. She hasn't even finished the 50-pound bag of junk she collected from her no-holds-barred, marathon trick-or-treat fest. She wants more?
The Twizzlers came off. The mini fridge suffered a similar fate. Then I had her reorganize the list to combine all the items that came from the same store into a single entry. That way when I was in the middle of a jam-packed, ransacked department store two days before Christmas picking through piles of picked-over sweaters in my annual, last minute, frenzied holiday shopping trip, I wouldn't have to stop and flip through a multiple-page manifesto to make sure I'd gotten all the items on her list.
Some other items remained although they could've been scratched, too, like a new guitar (she started lessons two months ago) and the sock monkeys (she's got at least 5, and I ask you, how many sock monkeys does one elementary schooler really need?) I also let her keep the trampoline although she doesn't even have an outside chance of getting that one since my husband's held veto power over all toys that may result in serious head trauma since the day the kids were born. It's been 10 years. But, hey, if my daughter wants to delude herself, this is the time of year to do it.
Now the list is down to a more manageable two pages, annotated here with the comments in my head when I read it. Let me know if you think it's still a little too long.
1. Phone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
2. A new guitar in blue. (You just got a guitar in guitar color.)
3. New tuner and picks. (Fine.)
4. Laptop. (No.)
5. Trampoline. (Negative.)
6. Basketball hoop. (Probably not.)
7. Scooter. (That you'll never use?)
8. Vera Bradley backpack. (You're 10.)
9. iPad. (Before you get an iPad, I get an iPad)
10. T.V. for room. (Not happening.)
11. One Direction tickets. (Don't think so.)
12. Money. (From Santa?)
13. Mini refrigerator. (Are you out of your mind?)
14. Snow cone machine. (Doubt it.)
15. Zebra-print anything. (Could you be a little more specific?)
16. Pillow pet. (I'm trying to cut down on the amount of pets, pillow or otherwise, in this house.)
17. Bunk beds. (You don't even share a room with anyone.)
18. Gift card from Delia's. (Maybe.)
19. New t-shirts from Delia's. (That's more like it.)
20. Different color jeans/jeggings from Delia's. (Ok.)
21. Sock Monkeys. (Whatever.)
22. Hats, scarves and jewelry from Clair's. (But you don't wear hats, scarves or jewelry.)
23. Anti-bacterial gel from Bath & Body Works in assorted scents. (Huh?)
24. Stickers. (Done.)
25. A puppy! (Don't even.)
I don't want to be a scrooge, and I like to make my kids at least somewhat happy on Christmas morning, but I felt a certain amount of realism needed to be injected into the situation. We needed to manage expectations here. Both because I didn't want her to be disappointed when she only got one one thousandth of the items on her list and because she needed to know when she was acting straight up crazy. There are some items, no matter how much they're desired, that are not acceptable to ask for. A mini fridge being one of them. Unless, of course, you're heading off to college. Then it's perfectly reasonable. If, however, you are an 10-year-old and just don't feel like walking down the hall to the actual refrigerator then, no, not an acceptable request. Likewise, if you are a child and want some expensive device I don't even have, please refrain from including it on your list. There's no amount of sad eyes or begging that will procure you an expensive electronic gadget. I don't care if it is the season of miracles.
All of this is to say that while I want to make the holidays special and magical for my children, they also need to understand Christmas is not a time to completely lose your mind. I will do my best within reason to make you happy. But don't push your luck.