I am pretty sure this is going to become a regular segment. Because I find myself saying it frequently, to a friend, or to my husband as we fling ourselves to the couch in relief after bedtime. Tonight the conversation was sparked by a delightful holiday activity my six year old is rather fond of.

In case you missed what is now my most popular post,May Your Days Be Merry and Lubricated, check it out first. (Apparently the word “lubricated” is good for traffic.) You can discover the unexpected goodie our daughter delivered to us as part of this new “Secret Santa” tradition she has launched. In truth, I had really hoped that last year would have been the end of her little game. I referred to it as “equal parts endearing and annoying” in my last post.

I’m afraid now that it has continued into another year of holiday fun, it is mostly just annoying. Here’s why.

As my husband and I prepared our Sunday Desperation Meal, which involves us hastily throwing together a batch of Annie’s Bunny Mac for the kids while we ate random leftovers standing up in the kitchen, Izzy covertly maneuvered around us, asking probing questions about what we wanted for Christmas.

I’ll admit that I was duped at first, and thought she might be writing stuff down to help guide Daddy through shopping later, so I eagerly contributed my ideas. “I’d like some new pajamas, a coffee mug, some earrings,” I began. “How about some candy?” she suggested. “And a necklace,” my husband stage whispered. “Oh, and a necklace!” I added quickly, feeling impressed that they had already gone shopping and gotten me some jewelry!

As she shuffled around conspicuously, it dawned on me. She was putting things in our stockings for us to open later. DOH! This became obvious when she repeatedly asked us if we could come sit down in the family room after dinner. After we finished our gourmet meal, we obediently followed her to the couch, where she excitedly urged us to check our stockings.

Suppressing a sigh, I fished inside my stocking and produced a balled up sweatshirt, some candy that my mother in law gave me last week, a pair of my earrings from my jewelry box, an old necklace, and worst of all one of her travel cups that she filled with milk that by the grace of God had not spilled all over my vintage childhood stocking.

My husband’s mom made his stocking. He will flip out if Izzy ruins it.

Now here’s what really gets me about this activity. May I say something awful? I hate it when she plays the stocking stuffing game. I get that she is trying to have some festive fun, but it’s a pain in my ass. Now there is a cup full of milk that somebody needs to drink, candy scattered all over the floor, and clothing and jewelry that used to be in its proper place that is now ALL OVER the family room. And I get to pick all this sh*t up. Forgive me for not feeling jolly.

It’s annoying as hell.

I felt really guilty about being such a Grinch until my daughter did two things to reveal her true, less than angelic, motives.

She a) began to unwrap a piece of my candy.

Hey, that’s all part of the fun, right? Open our gifts, eat some chocolate thirty minutes before bedtime! This is not a new strategy, but an old trick straight out of Izzy’s Restaurant. (If she thought I was going to fall for that one, she was sadly mistaken.)

Then b) she whined about how we never put stuff in her stocking for her to open, and next time we should do that.


My childhood stocking. They don’t make them like this anymore.
Once again, greed rules all. I am so proud.
*Also, stuff like this never ends well. Disappointed by our response to her game, I put Izzy to bed amidst crying and protests, and told her I would not be coming back into her room, as I was going straight to take a shower. Which I did, immediately, turned it on, and stood naked in my bathroom eating my chocolate while I waited for the water to heat up. When I emerged ten minutes later, Izzy was not in her room, but downstairs sniffling in front of my husband, claiming that she had been “crying and bawling.” Then I got to put her to bed again, listening to her lame complaints all the way back upstairs. So not worth it.
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