I love Christmas. I love the lights and the music. I love that families pretend to get along if even just for a few hours. I like tracking Santa’s reindeer flight on the Internet on Christmas Eve, and I like eggnog. Too much.
But this year, Christmas is killing me. At the very least it’s doing nothing good for my irritable bowl syndrome.
Like most young local families that don’t gamble on chicken fighting, we’re broke. I’ve been robbing Peter and Paul all month to fill everyone’s stocking. And while this definitely puts a damper on things, the lack of funds isn’t what’s threatening to snuff out my Christmas spirit.
It’s the kids.
No, not just my kids (though my daughter seems to be trying real hard to get on the Naughty List)—it’s kids in general and the fact that the majority of them seem so damn superficial and materialistic. For example, The Maui News (pg. C12 in their Dec. 6 issue) ran a whole page of letters to Santa written by first and second graders from a local school.
When I sat down to read it, I was feeling pretty festive. I love letters to Santa! But by the time I finished, my jaw was hanging open, having just dropped an “F” bomb or two.
Not that the way the kids misspelled words wasn’t totally adorable, or that each letter written to Santa was a reflection of who that child was, but the overall effect of the letters was disheartening.
Sure, some of the kids wanted normal stuff like Pokemon, teddy bears, fishing poles, make-and-do kits and such, but the majority want stuff that adults are into. IPods were a biggie, as were specific “hip” cell phones. Some kids asked for make-up, and one even specified that she wants Victoria Secret soaps.
I understand that kids enjoy emulating their parents and that it’s not a six or seven-year-old’s fault for wanting grown-up gadgets or stuff from a lingerie giant.
And a lot of people will argue that there’s nothing wrong with an iPod or cell phone and that lotion is just lotion, even if it’s sold in a catalog that millions of young men hide under their mattress, but still… Don’t you think that there will be lots of time for kids to use technology, and why the hell does a six year old need to smell sexy?
Kids need to be taught that there is kid stuff and grown-up stuff. You won’t find my daughter asking Santa for a riding crop and Lucite heels. That’s because she’s a kid and no matter how cool she may think mom’s stuff is, it’s out of her league and she knows it.
Of course, one year she came back from her winter trip to the mainland with her dad and after opening the presents, the first words out of her mouth were, “That’s all you got me?” I would have stuffed her bad attitude up the chimney if we’d had one.
Then again, she tends to even things out by being equal parts materialistic and conscious. For example, she doesn’t like real Christmas trees because, “It took so long to grow and now it will die… Because of you, Mom.” I have to give her props for that one, even if I can’t take responsibility for her soft heart.
I’d totally kill a tree to have my house smell like Christmas for a month.
But after reading the letters that other kids her age wrote, I tentatively asked what she planned to ask Santa for this year. Her answer? A trampoline.
Shipping it to Hawai‘i costs $500. Suddenly, that iPod isn’t looking too bad.
Starr Begley is currently experiencing reoccurring nightmares that involve Hannibal Lector, her husband and a Hibachi, though not necessarily in that order. MTW