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Vivi's Top 10 Real Life Parenting Christmas Pet Peeves
10. Holiday Baking – “Sure Mom we’re going to help!” This never lasts long. They start out with the greatest of intentions. But in the end, I am alone in the kitchen, mixing, rolling, cutting, decorating, packaging and doing a moundful of dishes. They come around long enough to eat the dough, lick the beaters, spill the sprinkles, break the cookies and nag me to please have just one more.
9. Sibling Shopping – “I know just what I want to get them.” Yeah. Famous last words. They’ve got all kinds of grand ideas. Footballs. (Uh. What do you mean it costs $40?) Eventually they are negotiating…”Mom will you pay half? I’ll pay you back?!” Finally, no one can truly stand to part with their money and they want to go to Five Below because that is about all they can manage to contribute to the holiday and all they really feel that sibling is worth…sometimes if there has been a recent altercation only the Dollar Tree.
8. Shopping for Us – the ‘Rents - I manage to buy several items for my husband. The next thing I know they are trying to scoff up MY gifts to MY husband. They start snatching at $50 ties or costly boating items, trying to assume the credit for the purchase and the idea. “OOH. OOOH. Can this be from me?” Every year it’s the same thing. Did you buy it? Did you think of it? Then BACK OFF! Go shake your piggy bank or make a nice craft out of popsicle sticks.
7. Decorating the Christmas Tree – Ugh. Painful. I give the instructions. Don’t hang them all in the same place. Make sure you don’t put them too close together. The heavy ones need sturdy branches. Make sure the balls go INSIDE the tree. Don’t hang them all in the front. Distribute to the back as well. Don’t move someone else’s ornament. Make sure you have an ornament hanger on it. Hang some up high. Don’t hang them too low. Yet every year, we have the same dilemma. Nothing on the back. Tree slightly leaning forward due to the ornaments all placed in the front. Nothing at the top. Too many dangling on the bottom branches for the animals to take and chew. Every year I will go around and redecorate the tree so that it will stand up straight and stop leaning toward the big screen television.
6. Excuse Me But Those Gifts Were Given to ME! - Being a dance teacher, each Christmas I come home with quite the booty! My fabulous students and mothers fix me wonderful gift bags of goodies. As I walk through the door, the vultures begin to circle and the jackals begin rummaging through the bags. It doesn’t matter how many warnings I give them. “They are mine. Do not eat these. They were for me – not you.” Every year within 24 hours (or most times much less) it is all gone. I wander aimlessly through my home – shouting to no one - “Who ate my Reese's?” But apparently no one did again. Those darn Reese's fairies must be sneaking in and out again. I’ve learned that if I really want something – I’d better hide it. I’ve hidden gifts in my bedroom closet – in the laundry room cabinets – in the china cabinets…so annoying.
5. Dinners the Days Leading Up to Christmas – It never fails. I will be up to my eyeballs in last minute shopping, wrapping, cleaning and all sorts of yuletide ridiculousness and those children will start their annual holiday whining. It usually starts by 4pm – “What’s for dinner? I’m starving. What are we supposed to eat? I’m not eating sandwiches again. I’m sick of soup. I don’t want cereal for dinner.” This is when I have a hard time containing myself. I find myself wanting to scream – “Why I’d be happy to fix a gourmet meal for you every evening in exchange for no presents on Christmas day. How does that work for you?” Sheesh.
4. Plugging in the Christmas Lights - Boy this is a lovely thing. For 30 days each evening I get to say, “Would you guys help me plug in all of the Christmas lights?” and basically get either no response or a half hearted attempt. I’ll walk in to find half of the Christmas tree lit – every year for all of their little lives they know there are 2 cords to plug in – TWO people! When you stand back do you not see that ½ the tree is not lit? Same thing with outside lights. Half the house lit, really? Can we just try one year not to look like the Charlie Brown Christmas House? I finally threw out all of the electric candles in the windows because they were never all plugged in at once. Nothing like having 1 plugged in upstairs and 3 downstairs and the other 5 windows are just dark. I bit the bullet last year and bought battery operated ones that automatically shine when it’s dark. Thank you Jesus for the technology – I think even He was offended by the lousy attempt.
3. Dressing in a nice outfit for the holiday - God forbid my sons decide to wear a nice shirt and sweater or my daughter a dress for the day of our Savior’s birth. Even better – how about putting some shoes on to mark the occasion? When did it become okay to wear nylon sport shorts and dirty mismatched socks for Christmas Day or the Christmas Eve church service? I can go out and purchase for each of my teenage boys a spanking brand new crisply ironed plaid dress shirt, dress socks, nicely pleated dress slacks and shined shoes – but getting them to put it on without arguments and whining will NOT happen. “This is stupid. Nobody cares. Why do we have to do this? It itches. I’m hot. This is so embarrassing. “ Blah blah blah… Not to mention my beautiful daughter…I will purchase a lovely satin tied dress and black heels for her each year…but everything is uncomfortable and feels weird and her feet are killing her of course. So it lasts for all of 5 minutes and the next thing I know she is in her dance sweatpants with a Hollister t-shirt running around barefooted. Make no mistake those will be all of the Christmas pictures too…there will be no evidence that I actually tried to get them to show some class. One day they will reminisce looking at those pictures and say, “Mom I can’t believe you let us look like that on Christmas?”
2. Children plotting and planning their Christmas Eve shenanigans in an effort to catch Santa Claus - Every year it is the same thing and it has gone on for many years now. They put their heads together and concoct some sort of plan to trap Santa. Letters hidden requiring signature, staying up all night, plans to meet somewhere in the house, assigning the “look out”. One year they even strung fishing line across the fireplace and through the family room! It’s so frustrating. I never did this. I was always afraid if I didn’t go to sleep he wouldn’t come. That’s what I was told – so I listened. Not my kids – they don’t believe for one minute that he won’t come. They measure the amount of milk poured into the glass. Count the cookies on the plate. Listen for every creak of the floor. They are on FULL alert. Waiting to entrap Santa Claus. I always wonder if they caught him, what would they do with him? I shudder to think. They’ve probably plotted that as well…
1. Revisions to the Christmas List! - OMG!!! This sends me OVER the EDGE! It will be days before Christmas and suddenly what was the #1 present for weeks upon weeks, is trumped by something else. Something that I cannot find. Something that is out of stock. Something that is WAY over budget. Or there are ADDITIONS to the list. Things they “forgot” about but really meant to tell us about. Something sooooo important. It never fails. This will happen. Or deletions from the list. “Well I thought I wanted that but then I saw it at the store or so and so has that and it’s stupid.” Hmm. Returns before Christmas Day – that’s fun. Or exchanges on the list. “I know I said I want that one, but I’d rather have this one instead. I decided I don’t want it in blue, I’d rather have the red.” When I try to reason with them and explain that perhaps those things will not make it under the tree or perhaps some things have already been purchased, they ever so gently remind me that Santa can take care of it. Oh yeah, silly me, what was I thinking– I forgot about that – that makes it all manageable. :)
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