I did a gift guide the other week. It was kind of fun, not least because it was totally a tongue-in-cheek gift guide – not that Brainy Smurf isn’t good for awesome gift-giving advice, but still. That said, if I were to do a serious gift guide, which is to say, one that took seriously the question of the things that I or any other contemporary mothers really need, it would look more like this:
I love Christmas. I love it with the fiery heat of a blazing winter fire and a million twinkling fairy lights. I love the sparkle and the twinkle and the plum pudding and the eggnog and the tinsel and the gift wrap and the stockings and the carols and the hymns and the stories, all the stories, every single one, from the manger to the magi to old St. Nicholas to the Grinch (spare me the pieties about not telling tales to children. A childhood without the magic of stories, woven so brilliantly as to obscure the lines between fact and fiction, make-believe and make-of-that-what-you-will, is no childhood at all, in my opinion.) I love it, all of it, the snow-globe perfection of it, the gentle sheen of protective glass over perfect, brilliant moments in time, the way that it can just take one such moment – a moment in which the crackle of the fire makes you feel perfectly, contentedly warm; the flash of belief in a child’s eyes when you tell her that the jingling of bells that she hears is the music of flying reindeer; the fleeting frost-kiss that is a snowflake landing on your cheek – and make that moment expand almost infinitely and make you forget that outside the snow globe, life’s storms come pelt hail and bend your umbrella and soak your mitts.
This was the week that I let my Bad Mother flag really fly, I think. I mean, sure, I have, in the past, covered such established bad ground as spanking my preschooler and nursing another woman’s child and dressing my kid up as a Droog, but that ground is pretty well-trodden – doesn’t everybody use A Clockwork Orange as a reference when costuming their kids for Halloween? – and in any case, I don’t think that you can really call yourself a bad parent until you start blaspheming Santa. Which I totally did.
So, I was totally joking the other day when I remarked that Santa Claus was in some respects similar to Edward Cullen (note: if you are unfamiliar with Edward Cullen, none of what follows will strike you as funny nor make any kind of sense whatsoever. Do with that information what you will). Sure, the Santa of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – the one who sees you when you’re sleeping, who knows when you’re awake – might be said to possess some of the same I Peek In Your Bedroom Window Because I Love You qualities as Edward, but really, Santa? A sparkly, red-lipped stalker? Who’s been known to chase down reindeer? Who has a penchant for cold? Don’t be ridicul —
You never really appreciate Santa until you have children. Sure, Santa is great when you’re a kid and he’s just that big guy in the snowsuit who flies reindeer and brings presents and eats a lot of cookies – which, let’s face it, basically boils everything that is great about childhood – presents, cookies, flying animals – down to its peppermint and gingerbread-infused essence and splatters a whole season with it – but once you’ve become a grown-up with your own children, Santa becomes something more. Something – some would say – better.
Santa becomes The Enforcer. A weapon, even. The Bad Moms’ Secret Christmas Weapon. Michael Bay should get on this.