Southwest Wake: Opinion

Parent Pathways: My three great Christmas ideas that weren’t

Some things sound better in theory, wouldn’t you agree?

Every year I say I’m not going to stress about the holiday or spend too much money or eat too much. After all, I’m not Norman Rockwell or Rockefeller. Christmas doesn’t have to be over the top.

This year, I devised mini-plans (in my head) to accomplish these goals – ideas that did not work.

Cookie swaps: I should just strap a 7-pound-weight belt to my middle section instead of committing to these types of events. But I have a wonderful, fun neighbor who hosts a swap, and I really wanted to attend.

I came up with the bright idea of freezing the cookies the minute I walked in the door, planning to serve them at a family gathering at my house a week later. The humiliating fact is that I cannot be trusted; I need an intervention.

I ate almost half the stash in two days until I begged that same neighbor to keep them in her freezer. On the day of the family gathering, I shamefully collected my Tupperware and proceeded to supplement my cookie tray with bakery cookies that looked homemade.

In related news, I did learn how the “soften/melt” button works on our new microwave, so there’s that.

Saving money: I’m no stranger to the joys of pre-lit garland, but when I went a-looking, many of the stores were out, and I’m too cheap to buy the really nice stuff. Standing in the garage, I noticed I had garland, and I had lights. Well, how hard could it be, really?

What I thought would be a 15-minute job turned into a 90-minute hell involving duct tape, a butter knife and quite a bit of cussing as I realized some light strands didn’t work and others lit up only halfway.

And don’t even get me started on extension cords and those things you use that let you plug in more than one thingy into one outlet. Lord have mercy. What are those even called?

God bless those people who do big light displays for the rest of us to enjoy.

Wrapping presents: Now that my sixth-grader has revealed he doesn’t believe in Santa (a relief, frankly), I figured I’d get a head start on wrapping. This worked well until he started shaking and feeling presents, intricately pawing each corner, the back, the middle.

“Get away from the tree,” I yelled, still wrapping, when the gift he was holding suddenly started working, lighting up under the paper.

“Ha! It’s a Simon Swipe!” he said. (Picture the ’80s electronic Simon game – same thing).

Forget that I had tried to get the thing to work in the store at the box’s cheery “Try me!” invitation, but I figured it just needed batteries.

My son was elated, more that his guessing technique worked than the revelation of the actual gift.

“I’m not sure I want a Simon Swipe,” he said. “Can you take it back?”


That completely upsets the order of things. There’s no way I’m doing returns at Toys R Us, either, mister. Not now. Not later. You will open your Simon Swipe, and you will like it, and you will say “Thank you; I love it.”

Whether you actually do is completely immaterial. That’s how we do it in our family. Have I taught you nothing?

Then, next year, we re-gift it to one of the cousins.