Growing up, we probably all heard if we weren’t good this time of the year, we’d be put on the naughty list and Santa wouldn’t come. I know my mom pulled out the “Santa’s watching” early in December if not in November. I took the threat seriously and tried to be the best I could possibly be.
I have to say, we haven’t really gotten into the whole naughty list thing here, but as of Saturday, I realize the err of my ways and I am wielding the power of Santa to my benefit.
Friday I put up some decorations. I put the stockings on their stocking hangars on the shelves we have in the hallway. (We have no fireplace and therefore, no mantle.) The shelves are off limits to the kids. I have framed pictures, sentimental things, and our 7 Japanese gods for good luck. (You do not mess with the gods, they do not like to be moved.) So, putting the stockings on the shelves, out of reach, means they are also off limits to little hands.
Unfortunately, we have a stocking situation. My sister-in-law bought the girls their stockings for their first Christmas and had their names embroidered on them. For Samantha, she went with the traditional Santa. Other than the Santa, the stockings are pretty boy/girl. So Ella and Penelope each got a ballerina in a different color. (I think a reference to the Nutcracker, otherwise, not really sure what ballerinas have to do with Christmas.) You can see the problem. Ballerinas are far more desirable for little girls.
So, every year, Sammy gets her puppy dog sad face and asks why she doesn’t have a ballerina too. So, this year, I hung her stocking in the middle. This upset Ella, the middle child, who has a strong sense of order (one might say anal retentiveness), and feels hers should always be in the middle. Being the middle child and all.
I told Ella no go, I was going with ballerina, Santa, ballerina. See a pattern. But by Saturday morning I could tell she was beside herself with worry over the stockings being in the wrong order. She kept telling me why they needed to be in the right order, with some pretty good rationalizations for a 3 year old. My favorite being that Santa would put things in the wrong stocking since he goes so fast and it’s always Sammy, Ella, Penny, not Ella, Sammy, Penny. I was messing with Santa’s ability to make it around the world in one night.
So, I changed it, without telling Sammy. Sammy, of course, noticed. I tried the you’re the big sister and Ella was really upset about it thing. No go.
I went to shower and heard a crash. I came out to see Samantha standing on one of Penelope’s bouncy toys, hanging onto the falling shelf. The stockings were on the ground, the stocking holders were on the ground, one broken, the tea cups and vase we got after Sean’s grandmother passed were on the ground and the vase was broken, and the 7 gods were strewn willy-nilly about.
I straightened the shelf and put those gods back where they belonged and turned to start yelling. Samantha grabbed her head and started crying saying one of the stocking holders hit her head and it wasn’t her fault because Penny was trying to spin the bouncy toy and that’s why she fell.
So, I did it, I invoked Santa and calmly told them that we clearly could have no stockings hung this year since they had to argue over the order, and since there were no stockings, I guess Santa wouldn’t be coming. Yep, I did it. Ella piped in, noting that they were now on the naughty list. Very true, I said.
Samantha ran, weeping, to her room. Ella followed me around while I cleaned broken glass and rearranged the shelf, enumerating all the reasons they were on the naughty list, not the least of which was spilling the gods. Penny got on her bouncy toy and had a good time.
After Samantha had calmed down, I received a letter from her that made me realize how powerful Santa is. She wrote it herself, without once asking me how to spell something. It read:
“I love mommy. I;m sorwe for brekin your (something unintelligible) from Sammy?”
Santa made my 5 year old apologize to me, in a poorly spelled letter, but that’s okay. It’s truly a Christmas miracle. I must use my new found power responsibly.
Do Santa threats work in your house? How early do you start using them? Do you pull Santa out in, like, May, if you really need to?
P.S. The stockings are hung back up and the children are leaving them alone.