Back on Track for Christmas

After 2½ days of stating that he wasn’t celebrating Christmas this year, my 4¾-year-old son said he was “just kidding,” after I pointed out that, if he were really serious, his decision meant that Santa wouldn’t come to our house. 

On Saturday, after I’d made a pretend phone call to Santa to report my son’s bad behavior, he’d been adamant that he would just open all of his Christmas gifts, currently wrapped and under our Christmas tree, on his birthday in February.  But, then, this afternoon, I had an epiphany and asked, “You really don’t want Santa to come?”

“I do!”

“Well, if you’ve decided that you’re not going to celebrate Christmas, that you’re not going to open gifts until your birthday, Santa won’t be bringing you presents this year.”

He was silent for a moment, then used his go-to phrase when trying to get out of trouble: “I was just kidding.”

And, now that he’s going to participate in Christmas after all, he’s drilling me with questions.  Tonight, after we read three bedtime books together, with me sitting in his miniature chair, with him struggling to stay on what’s left of my lap, he helped me heave myself out of the tiny chair and waddle across to his bed, then started the interrogation.

“Do you think Santa remembers what he gave me before?”

“Yes, I’m sure he does.”

“I wonder if he remembers giving me the tiny motorcycle.”

“I’m sure he does.”

“How does an elf make a tiny motorcycle?”

“Well, they have tiny hands to make tiny motorcycles, and they use tools.”

“Oh. “ 

Then, after a pause, he asked, “Is Santa nice or bad?”

“Santa’s the nicest ever.  That’s why he wants all of the kids in the world to be nice—and why he rewards you for being nice.”

“Maybe next Christmas, if I’m the nicest ever, the elfs will make me a tiny trophy.”

“Yes, maybe.  Let’s work on that.  Let’s be the nicest ever.”

“I can help you get up and walk every day.  Then the elfs might make me a tiny trophy for next Christmas.”

“That would be so nice.  And, it’s elves, with a v.  It’s one of those weird rules where the word for one elf has an f at the end, but the word for more than one is elves, ending in ves.”

Ignoring my English lesson, he abruptly said, “Let’s make a decision.”


“I will help you get up and walk on Sundays.”

“Why only Sundays?”

“Well, I’ll help on Mondays too.”

“OK…  What am I supposed to do the other five days of the week?”

“My toy elf will help you.”  (FYI:  He doesn’t have a toy elf.)

“How is a toy elf going to help me get up and walk?”

“I’ll pretend he’s real.”

“Well, a pretend elf isn’t going to be able to help me get up and walk.  He’s pretend.”

“If he doesn’t help you, I’ll shoot him in the leg.”

“If you shoot him in the leg, you’re not going to get a trophy for being ‘the nicest ever.’”

“No, that’s for next Christmas.”

“So, you think that you can shoot an elf in the leg this Christmas, then next Christmas get a ‘nicest ever’ trophy?  I’m telling you right now that if you shoot an elf in the leg, you’ll be getting coal for the rest of your life.”

With that, I told him I needed to take a bath and, while I was gone, he should tell God and Jesus everything he is thankful for.  We usually do this together, but, tonight the concept of doing so solo made him ask, “Can they even hear me?”


“Well, I’m going to tell Santa what I want for Christmas.”

“OK.  You do that.”

We’ve also discussed how Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, but my son’s questions led me to explain that Jesus died a long time ago, he died because he was nailed to a cross by bad men, “nailed to the cross” means that the bad men hammered nails into his feet and hands, he rose from the dead and is now in Heaven, and so on.  But that’s material for another day. 

I don’t remember being so inquisitive when I was a kid…

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