Mrs. Claus Knows Best

Hi Moms,

I love this quote by Mignon McLaughlin, "No matter how many Christmas presents you give your child, there's always that terrible moment when he's opened the very last one. That's when he expects you to say, 'Oh yes, I almost forgot,' and {you} take him out and show him the pony."

Now, here is my favorite Christmas tale about our kids when they were pre-school ages. The story is excerpted from my book When Every Day Matters.

On Christmas Eve we continued a family ritual carried forward from my childhood where our children placed cookies under the tree for Santa, then shouted up the chimney the presents they hoped he would bring them. This last minute shouting was just in case he was in the neighborhood. Then off to bed with strict orders not to get up too early.

Barely 5:00 a.m. and guess who couldn't sleep? So I put on my bathrobe and slippers and tiptoed down the hall. Standing motionless outside their rooms I could feel my adrenalin pumping. Finally, I just couldn't stand it any longer and I began clearing my throat louder and louder because in our home on Christmas there were more than just two kids in the house. Then the three of us ran laughing and hollering down the hall.

But we had a family rule. Everyone had to enter our living room at the same time. My husband, the king of teasers, had a routine that was simple: he tortured us all as much as he could for as long as he could before we entered the living room. First he pretended he was asleep. Second he crept out of bed and brushed his teeth in slow motion. After hearing enough, "DAD!" he said, "Okay, okay" and directly headed - by himself - to the living room.

"Hey," he shouted, "those cookies you left out for Santa were eaten!" Squeals of delight rang out as little feet went tearing down the hallway, halting at the top of the stairs where Katie's brother Richard stood wide-eyed looking out into the living room.

Then came the yelling, "Look at all the stuff I got from Santa!" However, there was a small problem and of course Mrs. Claus saw it coming the night before when she suggested to Santa that all the presents needed to be wrapped. Santa Claus said, "No, they never did that at the North Pole because Santa puts them under the tree, unwrapped, period!" Well, maybe dear old rational Santa wasn't as smart as Mrs. Claus after all because when young Richard ran to Katie's "unwrapped" pile I mumbled, "Oh boy" just before I told our son Richard that the toys in that pile were his sister's, not his.

With painful incredulity in his eyes, his face turned ruby and his cheeks puffed out. A second later he threw himself down on the floor next to his big sister Katie, who stood there wearing a big cherry lipped smile and the cowgirl hat that he thought was going to be his cowboy hat. And, as much as I hated being an "I told you so," I knew my husband would be eating the mistletoe that Christmas, not just standing under it.

But, as any good wife, Mrs. Claus was ready for any emergency and swiftly reached behind the tree and grabbed a bright red and yellow Big Wheel and while not exactly a pony, it saved the day and dear old jolly Saint Nicholas, too.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and abundant blessings to everyone for a beautiful and loving holiday.

Mary Jane Hurley Brant, M.S., CGP
Author of When Every Day Matters, Simple Abundance Press,
Sarah Ban Breathnach, Publisher

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