More rapidly than Rudolph coursed through Times Square in the Thanksgiving Day parade, quicker than our giblet gravy congealed, faster than Americans spent themselves into the red on Black Friday, my children stuffed Turkey Day 2006 into a cornucopia and dropkicked it.
Wiping their mouths of the last holiday between them and the man in red, they began chronicling, compiling, cataloguing, and categorizing Christmas wish lists. I even heard one experienced lad advise his siblings to ask Santa for the expensive stuff, "So Mama and Daddy won't have to spend their money on it."
At last count, my oldest son, who hovers on the cusp of silent sleigh bells, had 33 wants, needs, heart's most fervent desires; urgently clinging, perhaps, to his unquestioning faith in a fat old man who flies around the world in the middle of the night, sliding down chimneys and pulling toys from a magic sack. Maybe he senses the incognito elf's visits are numbered, and he's cleaning out the sleigh. Some humbugs might say he's greedy.
At any rate, he didn't put together your run of the mill wish list. Item #20 - WW II video games. Item #21 - WW I video games. Item #22 - Korean War video games. Item #23 (shocker) - war video games. I detect a trend.
Although my middle son didn't number his inventory, certainly for fear of appearing as gluttonous as his older brother, it reaches two pages, front and back, double spaced. Somewhere in the process of meticulously recording roughly everything that might bring a 9 year-old boy utter elation on Christmas morn, it occurred to him the impression his lengthy index might give good St. Nick. So, partway down on the back of the first page, placed precisely at the point at which his reader would begin to think dreadful thoughts, he wrote Bible.
Lest I get taken in, he also wants a dart gun and other sundry weapons.
But, Santa, you and I both know he'll shoot his eye out. Christmas is only fun until someone loses an eye. And, Claus, sir, if you will give the dart gun to some other deserving child, I'll bear some of your holiday shopping burden and get my son the fake money he requested.
Of all three boys, my youngest proved cleverest at disguising his ambition to collect as much merchandise as possible in one Noel. He numbered only 27 lines on just one side of the paper. Smart. Even smarter, he put two to three things on each line; trickery undetected upon initial consideration.
In the wake of his atrocious spelling, however, - nighf, bick, wallit, cloths, battling hellmet (a 7 year-old's way of slipping in censored semantics) - two items on his list raised my eyebrows to my hairline: leg massage and chesst set. I look forward to seeing what Father Christmas actually brings the child (preferably not a chesst set).
Finally, I perused my 5 year-old daughter's paper. Just learning to write, she managed to pen six presents. But I don't know how the age-old benefactor of children's materialistic motivations will ever convince a real, live, crowned, gowned, and jeweled princess to come live at our house and share a room with my daughter. Furthermore, I know the North Pole people have connections, but can they really deliver on the hermit crap my she-child wants? Would she settle for a hermit crab, instead?
Have mercy on me, I only have about 24 more shopping days to make sure Santa works all this out.