All I Want for Christmas

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by Melissa Face

This year, Evan and Delaney (respectively) asked Santa for smelly markers and cat stuff. I quit worrying a long time ago about whether Santa (or anyone waiting behind us in line to visit him) would think we were a strange family. It’s okay. I know we are.

I also know that Santa appreciated their modest, budget-friendly wish list because the days for simple requests are definitely numbered in our household. They will soon ask for big-ticket items like expensive shoes, gaming systems, and tech gadgets that haven’t even been invented yet. But not this year. This would be the Christmas of cat pillows, art supplies, and scented stickers.

Sure, I could have worked with Santa to pull off an additional Christmas surprise, a larger gift for them to enjoy, but I just didn’t feel like creating a want that wasn’t there. It reminded me of a conversation I had with a young child years ago, before I had children of my own.

“Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas?” I asked him.

“Yes! I did! I even got things I didn’t KNOW I wanted!” he responded.

The child was excited and adorable, but I’ve held on to this line for years now. This is what parents do. We let our children know what they should want. We put the ideas in their heads for things they should ask for, things they might enjoy. (Most of the time, their actual wants are quite simple.) Then, we take pictures of the Santa spread to show everyone online what we were able to do for our children. I have done it, too.

But not this year.

This year, with the exception of a few, small surprises, Evan and Delaney received exactly what they asked for. And this year, coming downstairs to see what Santa brought was not the highlight of Christmas. The true magic appeared in all of the little moments that followed.

Since Christmas morning, they have played together with every gift they received. Evan has helped Delaney create beaded necklaces and decoupage, and Delaney has worked with Evan on Lego projects and complex art designs.

And of course, they have spent hours and hours with their smelly markers. Some nights we have to take the markers away from them and force them to go to bed. Then, we check on them an hour later and find them asleep with a couple markers under their pillows and blue and orange streaks below their noses. We are starting to think they may have a marker problem.

This was truly one of our favorite Christmases, and the best part has been watching an incredible bond develop between my children. They really are best friends. They want to be together constantly (remember the pic of them in the dentist’s chair??), and they make cards and gifts for each other when they have to be apart.

Sure, they have their moments of friction like most siblings do. Just this morning, Delaney pushed Evan out of bed while the three of us were snuggling.

“Laney! Why would you do that?” I fussed.

“I just wanted more room. I’m sorry.”

In true Evan spirit, he forgave his sister, and ten minutes later they were playing with their markers again. It doesn’t matter what toys they have, as long as they get to play with them together.

The best things in life really are free, or easily purchased at 5 Below. I’m glad Santa listened to my kids’ request this year. I’m glad I did, too.



Published by melissafacewrites

Melissa Face is the author of I Love You More Than Coffee: Essays on Parenthood and I Love You More Than Coffee: A Guided Journal for Moms (forthcoming). Melissa is a 25-time contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series, and her work has been featured in Scary Mommy, Sasee Magazine, Richmond Family Magazine, and Tidewater Family Plus Magazine.

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