A Santa Miracle

24 Dec

Christmas is a time to get in touch with your inner child.

For some people, “inner children” only appear when Harry Potter comes on TV or when there’s a moon bounce at a birthday (or high school graduation) party and everyone wants to jump.

For others of us, the “inner child” section of our personality is incredibly overpowering at all points of the year. Don’t be fooled by our legal booze consumption and our fancy degrees and the fact that we’ve acquired a taste for caviar. (Have “we” done that? Has anyone done that?) We are never not feeling and wanting to act like children.

And so, when Christmas comes around, we continue to be ourselves while the rest of the world decides to conveniently “discover” how great being a child really is…which is to conveniently “discover” how great we really are…which is to conveniently take over the trait that makes us so popular and adopt it as their own. Which is akin to spousal stealing.

Basically, the “matures” are Angelina Jolie and the “kids” are Jennifer Anniston and we’re all fighting over the same hunk of fit, tan, blonde, “was ass naked in Troy” piece of meat that is the holiday season.

What happens to me – as a childlike person – during the holidays is that I start to get really competitive. Competitive to the point of indifferent (is what my child psychologist told me):

Oh, you just ate cookies past 8pm because it’s “the holiday season”? Well, would you like a tiara to go with your throne of boring? Because I just ate SIX cookies in the time it took me to call your throne “boring.”

What’s that? You’re craving a hot cocoa in the middle of the workday and it’s “so unlike you to eat sweets at work”? WOULD YOU LIKE PULITZER FOR YOUR ORIGINALITY? Honestly, I keep hot cocoa packets in my bra.

You watched The Santa Claus last night and now you think you’re Tim Allen’s biggest fan?? Okay, I’ll give you that one. You might be his biggest fan…I’m just glad he has a fan.

So that’s the competitive aspect of my holiday personality – hungry, bitter, and ready to insult Tim Allen at every turn.

The “indifferent” part comes into play when I attempt to partake in structured holiday activities.

A few nights ago, my mom and sisters and I decided to make a gingerbread house. My dad – being the forward thinker that he is – knew that the experience would end in tears, stained tables, and dog pee, and so decided to listen to the process from the other room.

Seasonal crafts are not for everyone. And by “everyone” I mean me, the busty child with the attention span of a cricket and the impulsive character of a retractable leash.

As my mom explained ever so eloquently, “You know, Soph, for a creative person, you’re not very good at crafts.”

I knew that gingerbread house erection would not be my strong suit the moment my mom brought out the gingerbread pieces and told me to “back away” because “no, I could not eat them.”

My childlike self did not like being told “no” this early in the game. And so, I became indifferent to childlike fun and decided to cause some childlike chaos. I started eating fistfuls of M&Ms; I squirted frosting onto the house in giant blobs and tried to pass them off as “mounds of creativity”; I went rogue and stuck Hershey’s Kisses on the roof of the house instead of on the “grounds,” as I was instructed.

My chaos-causing attitude was met by the iron-fisted gingerbread dictator that was my sister, Lydia. Each time that I suggested something slightly out of the box, she suggested that I “politely resign and return my frosting wand to the front desk.” She wouldn’t even let me write my name on the side of the house in bright red frosting!

Were it not for my mom, who suggested I at least be allowed to unwrap the candies, I would have been left jobless. (Which I was, after everyone realized I’d been maintaining a steady 1:2 ratio of “house candy” to “Sophie snack time candy.”)

In the end, Lydia’s side of the house looked like this:

IMG_9979

And mine looked like this:

IMG_9978

As you can see, I subconsciously managed to craft a sideways “S” out of M&Ms – because even kids can be narcissists.

In the end, the house collapsed and my dog peed on the floor. Which is all to say that people who live in gingerbread houses – LYDIA – should not throw stones at childlike people because the holidays are hard for us and because the house will collapse…and then the dog will pee.

So you see, I was having a hard time reconciling my natural youth with the forced youth that was occurring around me. And then, in true ABC Christmas special form, Santa came to the rescue.

For 21 years, I have sat on – or next to, for obvious, legal reasons – Santa’s lap at the Burlington Mall.

We always joke that my sisters and I are the oldest people to visit Santa. This felt especially true this year, as I slapped on some lipstick and geared up to ask Santa for “any form of post-grad life plan.”

When our moment arrived, I got to sit next to Santa and accidentally tangled his robe with my imposing rear. He seemed unsettled, like he wasn’t used to grown women being that close to his lap. (Who knew Mrs. Claus was such a prude?)

When Santa turned to me to ask what I want for Christmas, he said something that was both the funniest and saddest thing I have ever heard.

“How old are you this year?” asked Santa.

“Twenty-one,” I responded.

“I think you’re the only one of drinking age in this whole line!” he said.

Speechless, I smiled, grabbed a candy cane, and scurried away like an elf on speed.

So there it was. Santa had gone so far as to act disturbed by my backside and to point out my creeping age.

Did this mean I am officially an adult? Had I become so seemingly indifferent to Christmas because of Tim Allen-fueled competition that I’d suppressed my childlike nature to the point of invisibility?

IMPOSSIBLE.

Thanks to Santa’s biting wit, I decided to make a change.

So what if the mature people in the world have decided that being immature during the holidays is the best way to have fun? I can put my brilliance on loan for a few weeks every year. Hey, maybe that could be my annual gift! Like the pair of boxers you give your grandfather every year or the promise you make to your mom that you’ll spend a full day cleaning and then end up baking ten pies and hosting a neighborhood doggy play date in your living room…

Go ahead, everyone! Eat candy. Sing carols. Visit Santa. Be kids.

But, might I suggest you lie about your age when you sit near Santa’s lap? Not for your sake, but for his.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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