Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It takes a village...of Santas

Remember when the kids were small, and their Christmas presents were Legos and Barbies and board games and picture books? When their eyes shone just looking at the lights on the tree or the twinkling fake icicles dangling from the soffit? When everywhere you went you could find something you knew they would love?

Those days are so gone. Our kids are 20 and almost 17. Their toys are electronic. Their clothes are expensive. Their tastes are unpredictable. But one thing they still love, no matter what is in the gift--the tag.

What? The tag? Who reads past their own name on the tag? Ah, if you do not live in the village of many Santas, you may be missing the best part of gift giving. Let me explain.

Years ago, I got tired of putting "To ________ From Santa" on every tag. It was so boring, so uncreative. And generally left unread. So I started sneaking in different names for Santa. At first it was just alternative monikers like "St. Nicholas" or "Papa Noel" (the French version). The village of Santas just kept growing, though, and DH and the kids got into the spirit and started labeling their gifts with silly Santa names that sometimes hinted at the contents as well.

This year the re-naming of Santa provided us with hours of entertainment. Consider the example above, on a gift of athletic socks (DS goes through at least a pair a week, and they fit nicely into the stocking, but socks are right up there with underwear in the "gift you really don't want to open" category). As it turned out, the tag was more fun than the gift, and we all had a good laugh over it. Other notable examples: on a replacement tripod for DD, who has suffered numerous spills with the cheap one she currently uses for oil painting, "Life is too short to waste on bad equipment Santa." On a gift to my husband of the former California governor's favorite pumpkin seed oil, "Arnold Santa-negger." "Vintage Santa" brought me a lovely beaded scarf, and "Lame Sister" received a book from "Even Lamer Brother Santa." A bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream came from "Tam O'Santa," and "Santa D'Or Dali" gave DD several new tubes of oil paints.

We had so much fun with the Santa village that I'm already thinking up Santa names for next year. I hope you all enjoyed wonderful Christmas and New Year's celebrations. Let's make something wonderful in 2012.

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