When I was a little girl, Christmas was truly "the most wonderful time of the year". For months beforehand I would spend hours carefully pouring over the Sears and LaBelles catalogs seeking out my list of desired treasures. With a colored marker in hand, I would circle each and everything my little heart desired. An Easy Bake oven and Kewpie dolls eventually gave way to much more sophisticated toys. Things like the Barbie Dream pool, Snoopy snow cone maker, and a ruffled umbrella. My brothers circled things like race tracks,GI Joe figurines and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. After months of consideration we'd submit our pared down lists to the fat guy in the red suit. Between Santa, my parents, and doting grandparents we usually made off with a pretty good haul.
My parents went to great lengths to ensure the joy of Christmas magic was complete. One year a sooty boot print was left by the fireplace. Another Christmas morning revealed a torn piece of red velvet left behind as evidence of Santas misadventure with our fire grate. One year I was heartbroken when the baby doll I longed for wasn't there on Christmas morning, but a few days later my mom came in with it from the backyard...seems Santa had dropped it on the roof and it took a while for it to roll off! We always left out cookies and milk for Santa, as well as carrots for the weary reindeer.Eventually I started counting the carrots that were back in the fridge come Christmas morning and was dismayed to find our offering returned...
When my own kids came along I tried to duplicate the impressive Christmas mornings I remembered from my childhood. Care was taken to insure that Santas presents bore their own special wrapping paper so as not to be mistaken as a gift from us, the lowly parents. Cookies were set out, as well as carrots for the reindeer (which were NEVER returned to the fridge!). With two little boys we saw an abundance of train sets, Hot Wheels tracks, and super hero pajamas, followed by doll houses, stuffed animals and tutus when Andrea joined us. Later we moved on to K'nex, Legos and RC cars for the boys, and Barbies, Polly Pockets and Little Ponies for the girl. Christmas was a delight.
Fast forward a few years. I-pods, phones, and requests for cash make up the list. That's it. Nothing cute, nothing fuzzy, nothing fun to give. Enjoy 'em while they're little- cuz Christmas ain't what it used to be!