Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We Need to Have a Talk

I've noticed that the holidays tend to be stressful. Really? you say sarcastically.

And it's not just the shopping and the running to and fro. It can even be the little things. And no, I'm not talking about the kids, although they add their own special brand of stress.

It's the little things like how we put the lights on the tree. Just ask el-e-e over at Hello, Self. It can be the weather not cooperating. Read this from Burgh Baby's Mom.

I've already written here about the struggles Mr. Daddy and I have had -- okay, it's really MY struggles -- about who to spend our holidays with, but we recently happened upon another land mine in our relationship:

Santa. As in, do we wrap the gifts that are from Santa? My answer is an emphatic NO, but Mr. Daddy is equally as horrified by the prospect of unwrapped gifts. It all goes back to, as el-e-e so astutely pointed out -- TRADITION.

In my family we always had a big gathering on Christmas Eve. We went to church, came home and ate copiously and then retired to the living room where my dad played Santa and passed out our gifts to and from each other. Then we went to bed and when we awoke, all of our glorious Santa booty was laid out for us to see (okay, that sounds all kinds of wrong, but you know what I mean!). Apparently, in Mr. Daddy's family, Santa wraps his gifts.

My first question is this: Who has that kind of time?! This spurious tradition also necessitates buying SEPARATE wrapping paper that can't be used on any OTHER presents and then must be either disposed of or completely and utterly hidden for the remaining 364 days of the year. Assuming that your preschooler won't notice that Mommy and Daddy's gifts are wrapped in the exact same paper as Santa's is not an assumption I'm willing to make at this point. I don't want Santa ruined for my 5 year old by some silly wrapping paper.

So far it hasn't really been a battle. Bubba had just turned one his first Christmas and honestly we really didn't buy him a whole lot. And we certainly didn't wrap what we did buy. Same for Christmas two and I'm thinking for Christmas three, though I can't really remember Christmas three all that clearly. Probably has something to do with the fact that I had a barely-sleeping 4 month old at the time.

It was at Christmas four that it really became an issue. Remember this train?

You don't wrap a train like that. A train like that begs to be laid out, just waiting for the sleeping child to awake. Can you imagine a four year old waking to find this train in a box? And then waiting oh so patiently (yeah right!) for Daddy to put it together. Fortunately, I was able to get Mr. Daddy to relent on the train and the "reveal" was all I could have hoped for.

But this year we're at it again. I asked Mr. Daddy the other day "Are we going to wrap gifts from Santa this year?"


"I just don't get it," I sighed. "What is the point? This goes against everything from my childhood."

"I can see," said Mr. Daddy laughingly "that we should have had a serious conversation about this before we got married!"

"Yeah," I replied. "Politics be damned. Let's talk about Christmas."

But we're wrapping. I guess I do see the teensiest benefit in that it does prolong the enjoyment of seeing what Santa brought, but it still just feels wrong. And like a lot of work.


Lulu said...

My childhood Santa Claus did not wrap my gifts. However, I did wrap Gus's. I just thought it was more fun that way.

How about not wrapping the train, but wrapping the others? OR if Mr. Daddy wants the presents wrapped, then hand over the tape and wrapping paper and let him have it while you sip cocoa and Amaretto by the fire! My vote is for that...

Sophie said...

AAAAND another thing, for those of us that do not wrap gifts: do you leave the toys in the pesky packaging or do you rip, cut, strain to take them out of the packaging? Does Santa have the time for that? Honestly I can't remember what my folks did. But those darn pesky packages are a bear to open.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

Dear god, I just had this same conversation with my husband. I was wrapping gifts and came across a toy car that I had finally bought after Alexis played with it 18 bazillion times at TJ Maxx. I asked my husband if it should be from Santa and he said absolutely, especially since that was the kind of thing only Santa would know she would want. But then he chewed my head off when I wrapped it. How was I suppose to know Santa doesn't wrap gifts? He did in North Dakota. Apparently, Santa is also supposed to take everything out of its package. I didn't get that memo either.

How about I'll wrap your Santa gifts and you can take all of mine out of their prison-like packaging?

Leslie said...

My Santa didn't wrap gifts either. And he took them out of the package and assembled them. I just thought that's what Santa did....

Laurel said...

Ah, the joys of blending family traditions. We do both, wrap and lay out. Gratefully, my husband isn't too opinionated about much, as long as he doesn't have to do it. I'm in charge of asthetics. He handles construction.

Karen said...

You've gotta wrap. Tearing paper into bits and sending bows flying is part of a tradition that every child needs to remember. Shaking boxes and stacking gifts to see who's is higher is all kinds of fun. It ranks right up there with Santa booty. ;)

And while you're at it, you'll need someone else to write the tag, or maybe do it computer generated. They can't recognize the handwriting. It's complicated but so worth it.

Wrap, I say!

Lauren said...

I'm a wrapper...I love having all those packages just spilling out from under the tree from santa (wink wink) on Christmas morning...though last year we gave mr. man a big glider airplane that needed some we put it together and hung it from the fan. Theoretically this was supposed to be easier than wrapping...but it so wasn't. He loved it though :).

Colleen said...

we wrap everything, although we have been deficient as parents in explaining the whole Santa thing to our three year old. In his first three Christmases, we never said or insinuated that anything he got was from Santa (well, unless an in-law or something marked their wrapped gift as from Santa). I asked the hubby if we need to sit down and explain Santa to Gavin, and he was kind of against it. Even though I'm fairly religious, I'm kind of annoyed and want him to believe in Santa for at least a short time. Guess I'll use that as a bargaining chip now that he wants to implement St. Nick's on Dec. 6th. We only have a couple short years where Gavin (and ultimately Cooper) will believe in Santa.
Oh, and our santa gifts as kids were wrapped in the same paper as other mom said that Mrs. Clause must've shopped at the same store.

Esme said...

We -- and by "we," I mean "I" -- wrap everything, but the gifts from Santa have their own special paper, that lives in the basement where no child dares to wander and gets used year after year. Each child gets one gift from Santa, and the rest are from family, friends, and one another. The big kids are non-believers these days (though Three is kind of on the fence about it) but they play along for Four and Five. Five will probably be more interested in the wrapping paper -- eating it, that is, not noticing whether it's Santa paper or not.

ImpostorMom said...

There was no wrapping of Santa presents when I was a kid either and I don't intend to wrap Boog's.

I vividly remember one year when my brother and I had to walk through the living room with the presents to get to our parents room to wake them. My brother covered my eyes so i couldn't see any presents. (I guess he just looked.)

As for the present wrapping in your home, if it were me and my husband wanted them wrapped I'd say that was all him. That in itself would squash that plan seeing as he couldn't wrap a present to save his life. :)

Tootsie Farklepants said...

I also came from an unwrapped Santa gift house. But my husband's Santa was a wrapper, yo. So we wrap. Peace out.

Katie in MA said...

Hello! I know you're probably wondering why in the world someone is commenting on a post so far back, but I just found your blog and I have this rule about reading all the way from the back of the archives. (Also, I like run-on sentences. Can you tell?) BUT, my point (back when I had one) was that we always had our Santa presents wrapped. And we did (eventually) notice that he used some of the same paper. My mom explained that they set out wrapping paper for Santa to use, in case he needed it.

(We also shared the tradition where we unwrapped presents from each other the night before. It helped us remember who had given us what.)