Monthly Archives: December 2012

Happy New Year!

You know you’re really a “grown up” when you spend so much time playing with your new vacuum that you forget to post an update on your blog. However, you know you’re still a kid at heart because you’ve already started counting down the days to Emerald City Comicon, and OMG CARRIE FISHER IS GONNA BE THERE!!!!

Happy New Year! See you in 2013!

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Santa & The Elf on the Shelf

I was having dinner and wine with some girlfriends on Tuesday night. We started talking about Santa Claus and what we would tell our children about him. One of my friends said she wasn’t going to tell her kids Santa was real because it’s a lie.

The conversation then turned to this “Elf on the Shelf” craze. I hadn’t heard of this Christmas tradition before last year. Basically there’s an elf doll that observes the day to day activities in the house then reports back to Santa nightly, while the family sleeps. He returns the next day, usually “hiding” in a new spot somewhere in the house. It sounds very cute and fun (I think the little elf doll is adorable) but something about it really rubs me the wrong way.

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The problem I have with Elf on the Shelf (and even Santa to some extent) is that these traditions encourage kids to be good in order to get presents. They’re not being good because it’s right or because it makes them feel good, they’re being good to get rewarded. And what happens at the end of the season when the elf goes back into the box? Where’s the incentive to be good?

It would be exhausting to have the elf out all year, what with its mischief and hiding but it seems to me that a child would think, “Welp, the elf is gone. So Santa’s not gonna know if I’m  being good or not.”

I believed in Santa for a time when I was a kid. The thing is I don’t think I ever felt compelled to be good because Santa was watching. I knew my behavior directly affected the mood of my parents and sister. So the people I always tried to please was them. Honestly, why should I care about the opinion of some fat guy living at the North Pole when my parents were around all year?

That’s not to say that I didn’t love all our traditions involving Santa. I did and still do! We got pictures taken with Santa, wrote letters and left milk, cookies and carrots (for the reindeer) out on Christmas Eve. But for our family the emphasis of Christmas was not about getting presents. Of course when you’re a kid that’s a very big deal, but my parents tried not focus too much on that. I was raised in a Christian household so the whole point of the holiday was the birth of Jesus and family coming to stay from far away. So it irks me to see so much emphasis put on “being good to get gifts.”

I’m not anti-Santa. Jack has gone to get his picture with Santa since he was 5 months old. This year he even told Santa what he wanted and I made sure I purchased the Lego’s he asked for and put a “From Santa” tag on the package. But I’m not going to threaten him with the prospect of no toys on Christmas day if he’s bad. I try to explain to him that when he does mean things like hit, or call people names it makes them sad and that it’s just not nice. It is difficult to explain to a three year old who is stubborn and dramatic but I think it’s an important lesson.

I believe it’s so important for our children to learn early to have empathy for others. It’s equally important for them to know that a lot of the time you do good things and get nothing in return and that’s just the way the world is. Maybe if we start teaching our kids to do good things because it’s the right thing to do, not for some kind of reward, we would see more love in this world and less indifference.

Maybe if we showed our children how to be kind to people around us, even those we find repulsive, all year round there would be no need to bribe our children into good behavior with Santa and the Elf on the Shelf.

What I’ve Done This Week

1. Played trains with my son.

2. Made cinnamon ornaments with my son.

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Jack’s fantastic ornaments.

3. Cleaned the whole frakking house.

4. Finally finished my Doctor Who wall.

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Hurray! Love my Doctor Who wall!

5. Watched a lot of anime and American Horror Story on Netflix.

6. Went grocery shopping.

7. Worked out every day.

What I didn’t do this week:

1. Think of a decent blog post. So there ya go.

Regret

The Christmas season is upon us. This time of year always makes me nostalgic and contemplative. Along with the joy of the season there’s also a certain amount of grief. Not crippling grief just a twinge every now and then as I wonder what things might have been like. I don’t think that will ever go away, no matter what the future has in store for me. As I think about the past there’s one phrase that always pops in my head; “no regrets.”

A lot of people say it. A lot of people claim they have no regrets. But I don’t think life is that black and white. Some say they don’t have regrets because everything that happened made them who they are today. Then again maybe that’s just another way we as humans try absolve ourselves of our follies. I’m inclined to believe that people think about regrets in the wrong way. It’s not bad to look back and have regrets. Letting those regrets rule your life and make you afraid of living is when they turn bad. If I’m honest I cannot look back on my life and say I have no regrets.

I have a great example. A few years back, right out of college, a close friend (one of my former roommates in fact) and I had a terrible falling out. We both said hurtful things and didn’t speak to each other for about two or three years. Then I started having dreams about running into her. In my dreams I actually felt relieved to see her. I missed my friend and wanted to reach out to her again. So I did. I sent her an email and we got coffee. We realized we couldn’t remember exactly what the big fight was about. I’m relieved to say that we’ve managed to get beyond the unremembered fight and are a part of each others lives again.

But that doesn’t take away the regret of the lost years. I still feel sad sometimes when I think about it. We missed each others weddings! We missed out on years of friendship. How can I not regret that? What I can do is not let it stain what’s going on right now. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that I still feel melancholy about the fact that I missed one of the biggest days of her life, the day she married her fantastic husband. I agree with the people that say those past mistakes make you who you are, but I won’t say that I don’t regret missing out on those years of friendship.

What do you guys think? Do you truly have no regrets in life?