For all we tell ourselves about Christmas not being about gifts, for all we imagine ourselves like the Whos down in Whoville who would hold hands and sing a joyful song on Christmas morning even without any gifts, I am here to say that Christmas is at least a little bit about the gifts. In fact, it’s a lot about the gifts. I feel weird posting pictures of all our stuff in a world where some people have so little, but this is the life I’m living, and this blog is about my life. And so, with that disclaimer in place, I give you this picture of our house the morning after Christmas.
This picture is the answer to the question I ask every year of Do you think we got the kids too much?
Why is the day after Christmas called Boxing Day? Why isn’t it called The Day of Very Big Messes? I felt both defeated and fired up by this mess, like a knight who finally faces the dragon and realizes it is much bigger, much angrier, and much sharper than he imagined.
(Side note: We lost Leo in the mess yesterday morning and didn’t find him until dinnertime. The above picture shows he was there all along.)
Kevin, being from Chicago, asked for Bears stuff for Christmas. Santa delivered.
It also came with a package of gummy bears and a set of adorable bear plant holders that coincidentally will look amazing on my bookshelves.
Kevin’s favorite gift, though, was this:
He likes to say our family motto is “Cheat to win,” and he takes pride in his cheating skills. We sat down to play this game and he stole my Vermont Avenue from right under my nose, took extra money from the bank even though we made him count it out in front of us, and stole a hotel off the board that we were all watching like hawks. It’s scary how good he is at cheating. It’s like he’s had years of practice. I told him this is making me think he’s never honestly won a single game against me.
We had to end the game early so he could go to yoga, and as he was leaving I said, “Wait—how do I know you’re not cheating on me? Where are you really going?!” He just raised his eyebrows and left.
But cheaters never prosper. I took back Vermont Avenue and stole all the money from the bank while he was gone.
As for the boys, Leo got a laser tag set which led to a Christmas morning that had as little to do with the nativity as possible. Bang bang.
From the in-laws, Leo got a personal claw machine, which goes great with his cotton candy maker and gumball machine. He has two feet planted firmly on the road to becoming a carny.
Rocco got a bunch of Lego sets, all of which he had built by the 26th at 10AM, which is crazy considering we were gone all of Christmas day.
Vincenzo made it halfway through his stocking before he got to a book and never made it any further.
Speaking of stockings, it gets harder every year to find things to put in them. With 13 years of boy toys built up, we already have it all: matchbox cars, train sets, army guys, slime, kaleidoscopes, kazoos, slide whistles, magic 8 balls, Pokemon cards, whoopie cushions, ball-and-string toys, superballs, hats, mittens, handcuffs. The stocking problem is compounded by the fact that the boys’ stockings seem to grow longer with each toy we put in. I am not exaggerating.
In what freaking world does this qualify as a sock?
I have taken to filling the stockings with toys I know will break after the third use so we can put the same thing in their stockings next year (hello, styrofoam airplanes!). That, and things that come in unnecessarily large packaging. I realize that this is the opposite of how I shop the rest of the year. I also feel like I should apologize to my sister right now, who reuses everything from the leftover wax from candles burning down to her own bath water. I am not joking.
Anyway, I want to thank Baby Jesus for giving us a reason to shower each other with gifts. Ridiculous, flimsy, perfect, heartfelt gifts. Gifts that are given by people who love someone to someone who loves them back.
And so I say sorry Jnet, and thank you Baby Jesus.
WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Potato leek frittata