• Wed, Dec 5 2012

If You Have Kids Under The Age Of 10 Enjoy The Holiday Magic Before It’s Dead

Do you have a small child I can borrow? Or trade you for? I will swap you one teenager and one ten-year-old who are totally capable of shoveling snow or taking out the trash for one small child who is still enamored with the holiday season. Because these older kids suck. Do you know why Christmas is such a magical, fun, enjoyable time with kids? Because some kids aren’t old enough to suck all of the joy out of the holiday season with their disbelief and constant eye-rolling and refusal to watch Rankin Bass holiday specials and their boring stupid Christmas lists filled with boring stupid presents like “clothes” and “iTunes gift cards.” The magic is dead for some of my children, and I’m longing for the days when they were little and would lose their little minds over something little, like a damn candy cane.

I still have one child who believes. You know, believes all of it. Who is very careful not to touch the Elf On The Shelf and who leaves out the cookies and bourbon milk and who gets very excited about the entire dog and pony show. She oohs and ahhs over houses decorated for the season, begs me to bake cookies with her, adores watching The Grinch and Rudolph and reading The Night Before Christmas. Her brother doesn’t believe in the whole Elf thing, and proudly tells his friends on the school bus this fact, leaving me to apologize to other parents and reassure his younger sister that the Elf, in fact, does fly back to Santa nightly to inform him that yes, she gave the dog fresh water. Her oldest brother simply smirks and continues texting on his mobile. The ten-year-old-not-having-any-of-this-Elf-nonsense still believes in Santa, or reassures me and his father he does, but I can see the cynicism crawling across his face when speaking of it. The oldest believes if he doesn’t bring his mobile to the dinner table that his parents may get him new guitar pedals for Christmas. This will probably be my last year for having any of the small people I gave birth to believing and enjoying the holidays with that sense of wonder and awe that little kids have.

Christmas is for babies and toddlers! There is nothing more wonderful than sharing the holidays with small kids. They are so! excited! about everything! They love whatever gifts Santa brings, are overjoyed to find an orange in their stocking, are always on their best behavior in anticipation of Christmas morning. Older kids ruin Christmas. They find family holiday celebrations boring. They barely glance up at Christmas lights when we pass by them in the car, because they are too busy downloading songs to their iPods. They mumble-sing their way through holiday songs. They eat more cookies than they decorate. My daughter is running around the house with a drawing of mistletoe she made and kissing everything she can lay her lips on in the house, including the dog and the ornaments on the tree. My boys are bitching about an upcoming outing to see a holiday display.

My kids understand the spirit of the season lies in giving to those less fortunate during the holidays. I think in the upcoming years we will have to focus on doing more for our community in the form of holiday charity work and gift donations rather than watching little ones rip through wrapping paper and biting the heads off chocolate Santas. As my kids get older, maybe we can recapture some of the joy and wonder of the holidays by sharing more of it with good causes in our town. I’ll still miss having small kids flip out over receiving a new doll or firetruck, but I can find joy knowing that a child I will never meet have their holiday made a little brighter by getting some extra gifts under their tree.

Until then, I will drink hot chocolate and listen to Christmas music on my own, until I have my own grandchildren to really get excited over Christmas with. Unless any of you have an extra three-year-old you want to borrow me.

(photo: Yarkovoy /shutterstock)

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  • aileen_t

    I have a six year old and I dread the day she no longer wants to bake cookies and decorate the tree with me.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      I am really hoping my daughter always will, but am still dreading when she wants sweaters and iPods instead of dollies and books :( we need a “make kids stay little forever” machine!

  • CMJ
    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      I saw that! It’s so great! I love the kids and I love crazy Mariah <3

    • chickadee

      That is so awesome — I love The Roots. And Mariah Carey just demonstrated the natural awesomeness of her voice. Again.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      The kids are so so cute too, it totally put me in the spirit

    • CMJ

      The kid in the sock monkey hat made my week

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      Ahem. Get on it lady!

  • Gina

    I was just going to say when the grandkids come it will be exciting all over again! :) And maybe I’m lame but I was in high school and would still drive around with my mom to look at the light decorations lol.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      awwwww, see, I could never grow too old and cool for xmas lights

    • LiteBrite

      I would too, even in high school and college. Even now, I love driving around, looking at holiday lights and outdoor decor. There is a neighborhood in our city that goes all out every Christmas. It’s fairly well known in the city, and cars line up and down the neighborhood streets with people looking at the decorations. I’m trying to talk DH into doing it this weekend, but he’s balking. Boo!

  • chickadee

    Hee! I spent 6 days with my eldest (who is at college) and we bought lights and things to decorated her room with and we had hot chocolate and made snowflakes with 3 of her friends and watched “Elf” four times.

    My 15-year-old and I watched “Rudolph” last night and we have a chart detailing when are where all of the good Christmas specials are on and we’ve already started scouring the town for the tackiest displays. You should come to our house. Bring your daughter and we can bake things.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      I am moving in!

  • LiteBrite

    I am mom to a five-year-old boy who already thinks like his cynical, logical father. When asked if he wanted to see Santa this year, he said no. When asked how would Santa know what he wanted unless he told him, my mini-DH said “Santa can just figure it out.” (Santa was very tempted to “figure out” the kid doesn’t get anything!)

    He was, however, pretty excited to see all of the Christmas lights.up the day after Thanksgiving, and he will watch endless hours of Frosty and Rudolph with me. So, I’ll take it.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      Santa told me your kid wants rocks and some new pajamas! awwwwwww, mini-dh :D

  • C.J.

    My 10 year old doesn’t believe anymore, she hasn’t since she was 8. Luckily she gets a kick out of encouraging the 7 year old to believe so hopefully the little one will last longer believing. The both still love the baking and the lights and the Christmas specials, I hope that at least stays!

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      You know, this may be a boy versus girl thing. My boys find so much of it totally boring but my daughter still loves it all, for now!

    • chickadee

      And mine are 18 and 15, and they still get excited about Christmas (and all that that implies).

  • momjones

    I love your kids! I’m still smiling about the completely real reactions of each one of them at this particular point in their lives. Just a note – Remember, MI isn’t that far away!

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      aww, they are crazy about you, I will drop them off at your “fine establishment” — as my middle one called it. make your daughter send you the paper my daughter wrote, you will like it

  • denise

    Maybe we should place kids in a bubble. That way we can lie to them at will and never be found out. Or better yet and more realistically, realize that our kids WILL NOT EXPERIENCE CHILDHOOD THE WAY WE DID 30-50 years ago. They grow up faster now unless they are in that bubble. The internet and social media make information spread like wildfire. And while, back in our day, butt head little Bobby may have known the truth and told only his hapless friends, today Bobby can tell hundreds of kids at one time that Santa is not real. YOU CANNOT EXPECT 8 YEAR OLD KIDS WITH CELL PHONES TO BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS. The better option is to acknowledge that Santa is now relegated to a primarily preschool audience and move on. Grieve, weep, stress, and mourn but to think that kids these days don’t find out about everything, including sex, MUCH earlier than we desire is foolhardy. The only way around this is the bubble…