Having children takes Christmas and puts it on steroids for me. Not since I was a little guy in “Sigmund the Sea-monster” footie pajamas have I been so excited about Christmas. Although I am mature enough in my faith to know the real meaning of Christmas, seeing Christmas through the eyes of my kids adds so much joy to the season. I’m sure it’s the same for parents, grand-parents, and grown-ups everywhere.
When my kids were pre-K, we bought them a wooden play-fort/swing-set combo. The store told us the time for an individual to put it together was about 15 hours. I quickly pulled out the checkbook and did what any manly man would do – I wrote a check to have someone else put it together. Only problem? They were filling up the slots of the ‘construction crew’ and the only one we could get was December 19th – almost a week before Santa’s arrival. So, we booked the crew and, on the morning of the 19th, a small contingency of capable and friendly Hispanic men spent a couple of hours building the play-fort. Problem was – the kids saw it all. “What is going on Daddy?” “Why, those men are putting together one ofyour gifts from Santa – a PLAYFORT and SWINGSET!!” I said. “ YEA!!” they both exclaimed, jumping up and down and running around in glee. “But, how did Santa get it to us early? Doesn’t he deliver his toys and gifts on Christmas Eve? Who are those men?” I could tell their little minds were processing, looking for inconsistencies in my carefully laid out explanation. “Well, you see children, those are some of Santa’s elves – here to do some big manual labor and build the swingset for us.” “Oh, cool!” they shouted – “yea for Santa’s elves!” Whew – problem averted – yea for Santa’s elves at $25/hour.
Fast forward to the following week. Driving by a home construction site in our neighborhood, my daughter yells, “Daddy, Daddy!! Look at all those elves – somebody’s getting a whole house for Christmas.” Didn’t quite know how to recover from that one (how do I redirect that not all Hispanic construction guys are elves?!?!). And man, don’t even get me started on how hard I had to work a year later to try to convince my son that we were not, in fact, at the North Pole – we were in Cancun and no, Santa’s elves do not love tacos and the Macarena.
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, and when you sing Feliz Navidad, raise a Corona to Santa’s elves everywhere.