Every year I pledge to cut back and every year I fail. Maybe it’s because my children hand me Christmas wish lists that are ridiculous. They ask for iPads and iPods, Galaxy Note Pads, Giants tickets (no bleacher seats) and air hockey tables. Professional-grade mountain bikes, study-abroad trips to South Africa complete with safari, and last but not least, a Jeep Compass SUV!
Hey, if anyone’s getting a new Jeep, it’s me! The problem is that after I stop laughing and tell my kids there’s no way they’re getting that stuff, I start buying that stuff!
I use every means available to make their Christmas wishes come true. I don’t know why I do it. Perhaps I saw a movie that instilled in me a need to grant their every wish. Using every means available (credit cards), I try. This irritates my husband to no end. One year I’m sure I’ll find divorce papers in my stocking.
People who know me realize that I rarely think things through. I get all excited and giddy about something without thinking about the consequences.
Take, for instance, the air hockey table I bought for my son Ryan. I found a really nice one online at Sears. It had official NHL team logos all over it and electronic scoring. I knew Ryan would love it. I got the call that it was waiting for me at the loading dock at Sears.
I drove down there only to see three big guys struggling to pull the enormous box from the storage area. It was huge! The box was 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide and weighed 250 pounds! There was no way it was going into the back of my Tahoe.
I started to panic. I called my other son at school and told him I needed his little pickup truck. We had to get that table home somehow. With the help of the guys at Sears, we loaded it into the back of the truck and slowly drove home. Then another thought occurred to me. Where was I going to put the thing till Christmas?
I started calling neighbors and looking for someone with an empty garage. There was no room at the inn for my air hockey table. Finally, a generous couple who didn’t even know me heard my story and offered their garage. Thanks to our new friends, Don and Dott, our Christmas secret stayed a secret till Christmas Eve.
Christmas is a lot like going to Disneyland. Once you’re in that frame of mind, money doesn’t mean a thing. I can’t tell you how many Goofy hats and twirling glow-in-the-dark flashlights I own because I get swept away in the moment.
Christmas is even worse. My husband finds it amusing that my favorite Christmas cartoon is “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” I can recite every word and you can always count on me getting misty when Boris Karloff utters this famous line: “Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before, maybe Christmas he thought doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more …”
It gets me every time. But there I sit, surrounded with bags and bags of stuff I just bought. Some lesson I’m teaching my kids. On the upside, I’m usually so busy rushing around spending money and hiding enormous air hockey tables that I usually drop a few pounds.
Well, nobody is going to South Africa, or sporting a new Jeep, but my kids got a lot of good stuff. I’m now mending my credit score, and my marriage, but I’m sure by spring it’ll all be OK. Maybe next year I’ll actually live those words of the Grinch.
Happy New Year!