Santa tries again

Santa did leave some goodies for the children in the Chicago apartment.  Silly Santa.  I hope he is not getting senile in his old age.  We had Christmas again yesterday after we arrived.  It took about 15 minutes.  Both children were pleased with their goodies, although Princess O was disappointed that she did not get another Ugly Doll.  I told her she could get one with her own money once we got home and that seemed to cheer her up.

Here is the note Santa left in Michigan after that whole train wreck:

Dear C-man and Princess O

Merry Christmas!  And thank you for the cookies.  They were yummy.

Now, I got a little confused.  I remembered that you weren’t in Iowa, but I couldn’t remember when you were going to be in Chicago, and when you were going to be in Michigan.  So I left some of your presents here, and more of them at your fancy apartment in Chicago.  That way you can have two visits from Santa!

Have a fine Christmas and give your family big hugs form me!  I hope you won’t mind having two Christmases!



Here is the note Santa left in Chicago:

What the heck?  I thought you two were in Chicago this Christmas!  Where are you?  Are you out for a late (and I mean LATE) dinner with your parents?I guess that must be it.  Oh, well, I’ll leave the stuff and you can find it when you get back—I have to keep to my schedule!

Or, wait a minute.  You might be in Michigan, right?  Sheesh, you two move around a lot—Australia, Rome, Chicago, Michigan….

Well, tell you what.  I’ll leave the GOOD stuff here, and I’ll leave a little Plan B in Michigan for you.  That way you’ll get something no matter where you are.

Always remember that I love you.


And finally, here is the note Santa wanted to leave in Chicago:

What the hell?  I land my sleigh on the roof—downtown, in the freaking snow—come down the damned trash chute, and you’re not here!  Three billion screaming kids in this world and some of them don’t even bother to leave a correct forwarding address—unbelievable!

So, Michigan?  You’re in Michigan? Fine, but I’m not hauling this crap all the way across the lake.  Not in this weather.  You want candy?  You’ll have to come back.  To Chicago.  I’ll leave you a few bucks, maybe some smokes, at that Michigan address, but it says in the Santa Contract that if you leave a forwarding address, I leave your shit there.

Sorry, but with the economy this ain’t a full service operation.  I had to lay off 1500 elves this year and I don’t have time for this crap.  Enjoy the stuff, and the next time Santa asks you where you’re going to be for Christmas?  Don’t yank his freakin’ chain.

*All notes actually written by Tom

Operation Santa

I have finished all the Santa wrapping, and most of the non-Santa wrapping.  Actually I think the only non-Santa presents I still have to wrap are mine, so I suppose it doesn’t really matter if I don’t get to those.  Yes I wrap my own Christmas presents.  I buy them too.  You are welcome to feel sorry for me.

I felt like I had to do a really good job on the Santa front this year, because the children know The Awful Truth about the fat man.  I know this because of some of the comments they have been making.  Comments like:

“Mom, we really hope Santa leaves us York Peppermint Patties in our stockings this year” and “Mom, we don’t like those cherry candy canes, so tell Santa not to leave any this time”. The word mom in those sentences was given a special emphasis.

The final nail in the coffin was a conversation we had about the pickle ornaments.  For those of you not familiar with this tradition allow me to explain.  We have an ornament shaped like a pickle.

A pickle ornament

We don’t hang it on the tree we leave it for Santa.  Santa hides the ornament somewhere on the tree and the kids look for it.  Whoever finds it first gets the pickle gift.  In most families this is something silly like candy or something the whole family can share like a game.  Well, we have two pickle ornaments because I have the two most competitive children on the planet, and I couldn’t bear the thought of what Christmas morning would be like if there was only one ornament, and only one present.

There, now that I’ve told you that story I can tell you this story:

We were decorating the tree and discussing what to do about the pickle ornaments since we will be in Michigan.  We were trying to decide if we should take them with us or not.  Princess O helpfully pointed out to me that there is really only supposed to be one pickle per family.  I told her I knew that, but that we had two because when they were little kids they would get upset if just one of them got an extra present.  The C-man chimed it with “yeah, but mom, you always just leave us bubble bath”.  Then he all but slapped his hand over his mouth.  The look on his face clearly said, “oh crap, now I’ve done it”.

So they know.  And I know they know, and they know I know they know.  So I wanted to really do up the Santa thing this year to show them that Santa still comes, even when you know he’s not really Santa.  Does that make sense?

Dear Santa – part 2

Well, I can’t possibly top this.  Every year Princess O and the C-man write letters to Santa on Christmas Eve, and every year Santa answers them (it’s really Tom).  So here are the children’s Christmas letters and Santa’s response.  All spelling and grammar errors belong to the original writers.


Dear Santa,

How have you been?  How’s Mrs. Clause?  How’s Kirby?  Is Mrs. Clause making you a pie this year?  I hope the reindeer are ok.  If you got me an Ipod Shuffle did you put it in my stocking?  Do your reindeer have understudies?  Who are Kirby’s parents?  Please don’t hide the pikles too hard this year. 

Your friend

Princess O

PS the vegetables are for the reindeer


Dear Santa

How is Rudolph doing?  I hope you brought me a Ben ten alien creation chamber.  What else did you bring me?  Well it looks like I’ll have to find out.  How many elves to you have?  We left some carrots for your reindeer.


The C-man


And here is what Santa said:


Dear Princess O and the C-man

Thank you for the good snacks.  The reindeer especially liked the carrots, but I really liked the gingerbread.  Your mom is a good cook!

You’ll have to wait and see what I brought you, but I think you’ll like them.  C-man, your list this year was pretty long!  But I think I could tell what you really, really wanted.  To answer your question, this year we have 1,378 elves working at the North Pole plus another 47 in the apprentice program.  There’s a bit of an elf shortage so if you know anyone who is short, likes cold weather and doesn’t mind shoveling reindeer poop, let me know.

Mrs. Claus is fine, thanks for asking!  I can’t believe you remember Kirby!  He’s doing well, but needs another year or two to work on his landings (boy does he ever).  His parents are two ordinary reindeer from Lapland, and his whole herd is very proud of him.  The reindeer do have understudies, there’s a whole team that’s ready to go in case someone is sick.  Three years ago, half of the team had the flu, and we had to use four substitutes – Malcolm, Henrietta, Bob and Juliet!  It was a little weird but they did great.  Mrs. Claus makes me a pie every year, but this year I’m on a diet so it was a lettuce pie.  Can you believe that?  A lettuce pie?!?  I’m hoping for lemon meringue when I get back.

I tried to make the pickles easier to find this year, but you’ll still have to work for them!  You two have been great this year and I’m very proud of all the things you’re doing.  Keep up the good work, study hard in school, and we’ll see you next year!

I love you very much,


Ladies and gentlemen, Santa has left the building

Okay, actually, he hasn’t even been here yet.  But I finished wrapping and assessing all the Operation Fat Man goodies yesterday in my last wrapping session of the season.  Hooray!

I am not sure if my children still believe in Santa or not.  I suspect they do.  I have overheard conversations when they don’t know I am nearby that lead me to this conclusion.  They talk about him like a real person.  Sometimes I worry I have sold the whole Santa thing too hard.

Anyway, yesterday while the children were at school I pulled the big opaque Sterilite containers out of the crawl space in the bathroom, bumped my head, cursed and dragged everything downstairs.  Then I went to the basement and procured my roll of special Santa wrapping paper.  Santa never uses the same paper that I use.  He’s clever that way.

The next step is printing the labels on the computer, so the kids don’t recognize Santa’s handwriting.  He used to write in the “Chalkboard” font but this year Santa is writing in cursive.  He has beautiful penmanship.  It is called “Snell Roundhand”.  I will have to try to remember that next year so Santa’s handwriting doesn’t change.

The Princess is getting an Ipod Shuffle from Santa this year.  (I predict she will lose it before New Years).  I put the shuffle in a really big box to fool her.  I am so sneaky.

Each kid is getting four presents from Santa.  I wrapped them all and arranged them artfully under the tree to make sure it all looked good, and to make sure I didn’t have to fill in anywhere.  Then I checked out the stash for the Christmas stockings for the same reasons.  I did not, however, actually stuff the stockings.

Finally everything goes back into the giant opaque Sterilite containers, but this time they go down to the basement.  I always make a lot of noise getting in and out of the bathroom crawl space, and I am afraid I will wake them up.  Better to hide the stuff in the yukky part of the basement that the children avoid.  I hope spiders don’t get into the boxes. 

Wait, I lied.  There is one more step:  eradicating the evidence.  This is the tricky part.  Every tiny scrap of gift wrap, every bit of ribbon, any and all leftover packaging, labels, price tags and shipping boxes must be bagged up and taken directly to the outside trash cans so the children don’t see any of it.  This is the part that always worries me.  I am always afraid I will miss something and they will find it. 


It’s a good thing I finished all that yesterday because they closed school early today in anticipation of the coming storm.  Never mind that it wasn’t even cloudy yet when they got home.  But, it does count as a whole day, because everybody had lunch.  Now we will just have to wait and see about tomorrow.

In other gift-wrapping news I finished two rolls of paper.  Woo hoo!  Only four more to go.  Oh, and I found some really really cute gift-wrap at Target yesterday.  I swear this is a sickness with me.  I have to remind myself that the adorable paper I think I can’t live without now is the paper I will be cursing two years from now.

Dear Santa

The C-man has 88 things on his Christmas list.  And counting. Here is a small sample:

  • 1.  Iron Man DVD
  • 6.  Ben Ten Alien Creation Chamber
  • 14.  Wii
  • 19.  Apple Itouch (Tom has one)
  • 25.  Zero Gravity mini car
  • 45.  PSP
  • 53.  Flag football set
  • 59.  Parachute guy
  • 77.  Rock em Sock em Robots
  • 82.  Boxing gloves
  • 88.  Kung Fu Panda Pandamonium double pack

So as you can see he is asking for quite a variety of things.  I think his theory is just ask for everything.  We have suggested to him that he might find it easier to list the things he doesn’t want.

Meanwhile, the Princess also has a list, and it has less then half that many items.  But of course the thing she wants most is:

A horse

Every year she asks for a horse, every year she gets shafted.  You would think she’s have figured this out by now.

I have no idea if they still believe in Santa or not.  It’s not really something you can ask them.