Toypocalypse 2013: Some Post-Christmas Observations and Declarations

Remember when you told yourself that the holiday hell would be over on December 26?  Well, take a look at the current state of your living room.  Does it look a little like a Toys R Us warehouse imploded on itself?  That’s because December’s fat lady has yet to sing, darling.  There’s still much to be done.

Has anyone seen the kids?

Has anyone seen the kids?

Here are some of my post-Christmas observations and declarations from this year’s edition of the yuletide insanity-fest we call the holiday season:

Why don’t toy companies just throw a toy in a box and leave it alone? Maybe if they wouldn’t shackle every inch of the damn thing to a piece of indestructible cardboard, then perhaps they could save a few bucks on materials and charge a little less for the overpriced, plastic piece of crap.

Never purchase a talking toy with no off button.  The only way to shut it off is to back over it with your SUV.

If a child is too lazy to peek inside a plain, white, unmarked box, throwing it immediately aside to move on to the next package as though it were just a pair of socks and not the ONLY gift he asked for all year long, then he kind of deserved to think Santa didn’t bother to bring it.  At least, for a little while.

10a.m. is not at all too early for a drink on a holiday (mimosas, anyone?).  Especially not when you’ve been on autopilot for the past 48 hours, alternating between cooking, baking, gift-wrapping, and occasionally pausing to feed the children.

If you stash 25 empty cardboard boxes in some random corner of your bedroom, simply because there was nowhere else to put them at the time, you WILL inevitably fall and bust your ass in the middle of the night when getting up to pee.

Getting socks for Christmas as a child? Couldn’t be lamer.  Getting socks for Christmas as an adult? Totally awesome.  You can NEVER have too many socks.

For some reason, toy companies believe that they need two versions of every toy they make: the regular version and the pink version.  Just because your child has a vagina does not mean that every single toy she owns must match her lady parts.  It is perfectly acceptable to purchase non-pink toys for a little girl.

Did you like to use your couch for sitting?  That’s a shame.  Because you probably won’t even see it again for a week.  You’ll find a place for all these new toys when your desire for a soft spot to place your ass finally begins to outweigh your disdain for reorganizing the kids’ bedroom/playroom.

Taking the tree down is nowhere near as much fun as putting it up.  Wine helps.

Of all the clever little spots where you creatively placed your elf on the shelf in the past month, you’re about to put it in the very best place of all- the attic!  Buh-bye, creepo!

Remember when you were buying all the kids’ gifts and you knew you were doing it partially for your own benefit, because their little excited faces on Christmas morning would just be so priceless?  Channel that feeling on December 26, after you’ve been forcibly extracting toys from boxes, unscrewing battery compartment covers with your blistery, screwdriver-holding hands, and exhaustively trying to fit “part B” into “slot F” for three straight hours—with no end to the toy-assembling madness in sight.

Though the spoiled brats, ahem, kids, have about a thousand new toys to play with EACH, they are still nonstop fighting over the same stupid toy.  You can take the toy away, hide it, toss it, or throw it under the tires of your SUV with its talking counterparts, but the bratty darlings will simply find something else to fight over.  Give up trying to break the endless cycle — just let them kill each other.

School is out for a week.  All rules about no TV-watching and no video game-playing are nullified.  Activate winter zombie child mode and don’t look back ’til it’s 2014.

Good news: now that Christmas is finally over, New Years is only a week away! WOOHOO!! Party time! Oh wait, you have kids.  Never mind.

Talking Christmas With My Kids

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I really, really want my kids to have a great Christmas.  It’s practically a requirement for me, as a parent and lover of all things Christmas, to make sure every holiday season rocks their little green and red socks off. Unfortunately, it seems to be getting harder every year to keep Christmas awesome while keeping my sanity in the process.  

Today I fantasized for a quick moment about happily handing over some candy canes and hot chocolate to my kids, then engaging in a mature conversation with both of them (yes, even the two-year-old) on how to behave at Christmastime.  It went a little something like this:

Our tree exists purely for festive decoration.  There is nothing festive or decorative about a half-naked Christmas tree.  Please stop incessantly removing every ball, toy, ribbon, and bow that has been placed on the bottom half of the tree, or else next year Mommy is installing an electric fence around the entire living room.

Our vicious Christmas tree guard dog.

Our vicious Christmas tree guard dog.

The gifts that are already wrapped and placed under the tree right now are NOT for you.  Stop shaking them before you accidentally break the new wine glasses Mommy bought Grandma for Christmas.  I’d hate to have to replace them with the ones I bought for myself.  Nobody comes between me and my holiday buzz.

Santa brings your gifts on Christmas Eve, not me.  But, just so you know, Mommy and Daddy (mostly Mommy) tell Santa EXACTLY what to get you every year.  And then we pay him.  LOTS OF MONEY.  That’s right.  Mommy and Daddy give entire paychecks over to Toys ‘R’ Us, ahem, SANTA CLAUS, in exchange for him to bring everything on your wish list come Christmas Eve.  It’s a real holly jolly kind of business transaction.

That tattling little elf on the shelf is ALWAYS watching.  This means that when you feed your broccoli to the dog under the table during dinner, Mommy might not see you, but that creepy elf dude sure does.  So stop doing it before he rats you out to Santa.  Dog farts are masking the pleasant aromatics of my Christmas cookie-scented Yankee Candles.

If we end up spending over two hours in line waiting to take an overpriced picture with that credit-stealing fatass in the cheap, red suit, you had better be smiling brighter than the sun when we finally get to the front of the line.  I don’t care if you have to pee so bad you might leave a yellow stain in his lap; I don’t care if your mouth is drier than the Mojave and your sippy cup has nary a single drop of juice left; I don’t even care if you just caught a glimpse of Santa secretly grabbing an elf’s ass and now you’re mentally scarred for life.  You better just plop yourself right down on his germ-infested lap and put on the biggest shit-eating grin you can muster. You’ll deal with the rest of it in therapy later on.  We have Christmas cards to mail out, for pete’s sake.

There are children all over the world who are much less fortunate than you.  Like, starving children who own nothing but the clothes on their back and maybe a stuffed animal they once found in the gutter.  Remember these poor babies on Christmas morning when there are no gifts left to open and you even think about throwing a bratty little tantrum because Santa got you the wrong action figure or whatever.  I truly hope the six-year-old boy from Bangladesh who made that action figure kept it for himself when no one was looking.

Mommy loves playing with you.  Really, I do.  But on Christmas Eve, as well as the day or two before that, my to-do list will be at least seven miles long and I’ll have not even one minute to spare for coloring, reading, playing LEGO’s, card games, hide-and-seek, peek-a-boo, couch forts, or really anything at all besides cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping, baking, and running errands.   I can, however, flip on the TV show of your preference, if you’d like.  But only if it’s DVR’d or on regular TV.  I won’t have the patience to fumble around with that exhausting “On Demand” menu that day.

I know you’re Dreaming of a White Christmas, and Walking in a Winter Wonderland, and thinking about all that redundant “Let It Snow” bullshit.  But the people who wrote those snowy seasonal classics probably never had to visit several family members residing in separate boroughs of New York City in one day.  Holiday traffic is bad enough by itself; throw a blizzard in and I might as well just pull over on the side of the Belt Parking Lot, whip out a fishing pole, then catch and make dinner right there under the Verrazano Bridge using the EZ Bake oven I bought my nephew for Christmas.  So do me a favor and go tell Frosty you’ll see him in January.

Everybody loves Christmas cookies.  They’re fun to make and yummy to eat.  You can even get a little messy while making them.  But you need to understand that the key here is a LITTLE messy. The goal should not be to cover yourself in flour, from head to toe, then do the same to everyone around you (see picture below).  At least try to keep the flour within a ten-foot radius of the kitchen table.  Just try.  Do it for Santa.

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Per a new holiday tradition, I will allow you to watch A Christmas Story with Daddy on Christmas Eve, despite the fact that you’re probably a little too young for it.  But be forewarned, you are never to ask for a BB gun, lick a frozen pole, utter the “queen of all dirty words,” or ever even consider owning a giant leg-shaped lamp.  Or else you’ll be downgraded to watching A Muppet Christmas Carol by yourselves next year.  No offense, Kermit.

The reason the delivery man keeps bringing all of those boxes to the door, you ask?  Oh, it has nothing to do with online Christmas shopping at all.  I’m actually building a small village out of cardboard boxes for bears to hibernate in during the winter.  Where is it, you ask?  I can’t tell you, there are bears already living inside.  It’s much too dangerous.  Now stop asking questions and go lay under the Christmas tree to stare at your reflection in the shiny balls.  It’s fun.

Christmas day is December 25.  Putting the Christmas tree up DOES NOT magically change the date to December 25.  Today is not Christmas day.  Tomorrow is not, either.  Nor is the day after that.  You *MUST* stop asking me every fifteen minutes if it’s Christmas yet.  It is not Christmas yet.  Do you understand?  Christmas. Day. Is. Not. Here. Yet. Believe me, when December 25 rolls around, you will be WELL aware that it is Christmas.  Until then, do us both a favor and keep your ugly sweater on, alright?

The Six Best and Worst Things About Thanksgiving

Just going to dive right in with this, as I haven’t got much time today.  There’s food to make, cookies to bake, and  a couple of crazy kids giving me a headache 😉

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The Six Worst Things About Thanksgiving:

The family divide and conquer trick – I’m no magician, so unfortunately I can’t slice myself in half and spend any single holiday with both my side of the family and my husband’s side.  Even if I attempt to magically slice just the day in half, giving some time to each side, I usually spend much more time in traffic than anywhere else.  And if you (like me in the picture above from 2008) were brave enough to say screw it and just invited everyone to your own house this year, well, good luck with that.

Christmas is coming– Um, people are Christmas shopping already?  Unless I draw a little Christmas tree on the front of my rent check,  it’s going to be a while before any of my purchases reflect the upcoming most wonderfully expensive time of the year.

The food is not that big of a deal to me– Seriously, don’t people know they sell turkey all year round?  Stuffing too!

Being a mom – Moms don’t really get to enjoy holidays.  We rarely do.  We just get to hone our multi-tasking skills, while counting the minutes until the kids finally tire of chasing each other in circles all day and pass out in the car on the way home.  Or on Grandma’s floor.  Wherever.

Happy Thanks-for-overeating Day! –  Call me a cynic, but in what way does “I plan to eat as much turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes as I can comfortably fit inside of my body without possibly exploding, then take a short break, and continue the fatass fest by shoveling even sweeter, more fattening food down my throat and into my ever-expanding gut” mean that we are thankful for what we have?  Look, I’ll probably stuff my face all day just like the rest of this shamefully gluttonous country tomorrow, but let’s just tell it like it is. This holiday has very little to do with giving thanks for anything more than the right to ask for seconds, thirds, fourths, and fifths.

Black Friday – Everything about Black Friday gives me anxiety. Waking up at the crack of dawn (or earlier), fighting insane crowds, waiting on long lines, spending too much money, and possibly being trampled to death.  Sound inviting to anyone?

The Six Best Things About Thanksgiving:

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – I don’t go, but I ALWAYS watch.  It brings back childhood memories of a happier time when Thanksgiving didn’t conjure thoughts of overeating and fighting with relatives.

Cyber Monday – Why do people kill each other over half-price toasters or whatever, when half the time it’s almost as cheap online?

Stuffed mushrooms – ‘Nuff said.

Socially acceptable afternoon drinking – Sign me up!

Leftovers – Undeniably better than the original meal.

Christmas is coming – I may be the Grinch who stole Thanksgiving, but I’m no Ebenezer Scrooge.  I actually really do love Christmas.  Everything is silver and sparkly and magical and pretty, and if it didn’t cause me to further my credit card debt even more each year than the year before, then  it really would be most the wonderful time of the year.

Happy Thanksgiving!