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)