‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for me. I was outside stamping reindeer footprints in the snow using homemade cardboard templates I had cut out after Googling “what do reindeer feet look like.”
What can I say? My kids were young and I got caught up in the magic.
All I can say is thank goodness they were too young to remember it the following year (and after my not so fun experience freezing my keister off crawling around in the snow trying to make it look like Dasher, Dancer, and the rest of the reindeer were chilling on our front lawn, I wasn’t about to mention it) so I wasn’t stuck making footprints for the next ten years.
Which brings me to this.
Parents of children under the age of four, heed my warning.
Choose your traditions carefully because once your kids hit an age where they start retaining memories, you’re going to be doing those traditions for a long time.
Our house has the distinction of having the world’s most awful Tooth Fairy. It’s not that she would forget one of the kids had lost a tooth it’s that she was so exhausted by the time that kid was finally in bed – No, you can NOT have another glass of water – she would fall asleep and not remember the money exchange until early in the morning, when the chances of that kid waking up whilst doing the tooth/Toonie transfer was the greatest.
Needless to say, she got caught more than a few times.
Helpful Hint: If you too are part of world’s worst Tooth Fairy group, let your kids know that the Tooth Fairy had the unfortunate experience of accidentally waking up a few kids in the middle of the night and unintentionally scaring them, so she no longer goes into rooms while they are asleep. Have your kids leave the tooth and a note on your kitchen table in the evening, where it’s there staring you in the face when you pour your morning coffee, and become a part of the Tooth on The Table club.
When it comes to traditions, don’t get caught up in the newest trends (I’m looking at you Elf on a Shelf), instead repeat these two little words:
I have nothing against Elf on the Shelf. I actually think it’s a very cool tradition and a fun way to get your kids excited for Christmas while allowing parents to be hilariously creative. But if our Tooth Fairy, who wasn’t capable of slipping a Toonie underneath a pillow, was any indication, our Elf was going to be a complete and utter failure.
Every year for my sons’ birthdays instead of giving them a card I make them a giant sign of all the reasons they are awesome and hang it on a wall for them to see as soon as they wake up. Presents are given before breakfast but they have to race through the house finding and deciphering clues to find it. This works for me because (a) I’m a morning person and have time to set the whole thing up before they get out of bed and (b) I’m really good at making rhyming clues (a talent, for sure, but not likely to ever make it on my resume).
However, I’m terrible at baking so all of our Christmas cookies are essentially things that involve melted chocolate, and my present wrapping ability is best described as “drunken frat boy.”
So now I don’t stress out trying to make magical memories baking with my kids when I know that this will only teach them new swear words, and I outsource my wrapping.
Take it from me, young parents. Know who you are and choose wisely.
There is nothing magical about being outside at 11:30pm on Christmas Eve pressing cardboard reindeer footprints into the snow when you’d rather be inside sipping Bailey’s and hot chocolate.
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