Sunday 25 Sep 2016

It's a Wrap
Jennifer Flaten

With the stockings hung and the tree decorated, we are officially at S-con 5. For those without children the high alert is necessary due to Santa's imminent arrival.

I like this part of Christmas, it is so near the holiday that just looking at the children and mouthing "Santa" causes them to cease their naughtiness and peer around apprehensively.

Ah, a parent could get used to this type of power. Unfortunately, it fades the minute the clock strikes 12:01 on December 25. Presents ripped open, Santa ceases to be relevant until the next December.

With the big day drawing closer, the children remain on high alert for Santa spotting. Although, I am not sure what they would do if they did encounter him. My guess is they would try to convince him that all their alleged transgressions were actually, committed by the one armed man.

In fact, if I want to snitch a cookie or have a moment's peace I just tell the children I saw Santa in a backyard. It guarantees me at least 15 minutes of quiet as they attempt to track the jolly old elf down.

To that end, they are poised to leap out of bed the minute they hear the sound of thirty-two tiny hooves on the roof. They have devised a strategy should they actually be awake when Santa arrives. Their plan includes capturing Santa.

God help Santa if they catch him squeezing himself down our chimney, they will be on the fat man before he knows what hit him.

On the subject of Santa and presents, we have a relative known for giving presents wrapped in brown paper. BC, that is, before children, I admit I looked askance at this Plain Jane wrap job.

I wondered why anyone would forgo wrapping presents in expensive brightly colored paper, complete with big foofy ribbons; yes, foofy is a word look it up.

I would spend hours, (gain before children, selecting the right wrapping paper, ribbon and matching tags-being careful to match the paper to our overall theme for the season (why no I never considered I was insane) before wrapping the present up with tight practically mitered corners.

Now I look for the biggest cheapest roll of wrapping paper the store has. After wrapping this year's haul, making sure to segregate the 'mom and dad gifts' from the Santa gifts-each one getting separate paper. I have reached the conclusion that this woman was a genius!

Why bother wrapping presents when the children are simply going to rip them apart? To children the wrapping paper is merely an obstacle to the present.

Next year I am tempted to leave the presents in the store bags. Let's face it; the kids just don't care about the wrapping paper. They want what is on the inside. I am positive I can convince them that Santa does indeed shop at Wal-Mart-I heard a rumor that those damn elves recently unionized.

Oh yeah, about the stuff on the inside -- why oh why must it be fastened down with 200 tiny rubber bands? Who in God's name is going to steal 60 minuscule pieces of Polly pocket luggage?

Furthermore, if they are standing in the toy aisle prying those same 60 pieces of luggage out of the box and Loss Prevention doesn't spot them on camera and capture them; that is, not my fault-why must I be punished?

You try removing 700 fasteners, as tiny as spider silk, after a rude awakening at 4 am by a raving horde of children eager to rip into their Christmas presents. It is just not possible to do that without a strong cup of coffee and some choice swear words-and perhaps a machete.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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