Parents have a lot to say on the subject of Christmas. Take, for example, the Elf on the Shelf, which now ranks right up there with co-sleeping, breastfeeding, and religion as a hot topic you approach with caution in conversation.
But recently I was wondering: what is my son getting out of it?
At four years old, Felix now knows some of the routines. Like most kids, he’s in tune with the magic of the season. He’s been watching the calendar for months, just waiting for December. For the past three weeks or so, he’s only wanted Christmas music, books, and television shows, the majority of which talk about the warmth of the holidays, the delicious food we gather to share, the pleasure of giving, and how a big jolly man-in-red bestows toys.
So, over lunch today, I asked him. “Do you like Christmastime?”
“Yeah,” Felix said.
“Why do you like Christmas?”
“Because I like it.”
The little smart aleck said this in a tone of, a-duh, dad! Why do you think I like it.
And then he turned himself in his seat, as if he were going to talk to someone sitting on his left, except no one was there — it was just the two of us eating lunch at the table. Isn’t it funny how some body language just doesn’t change? I flashed back to the days of trying to make conversation with pretty girls at hip Lower East Side bars, when my attempts at conversation also yielded cold shoulders.
Well, ok then, nothing to do but marshall my dignity and press on. How about “What do you like about Christmas?” This got us somewhere, though I was a bit surprised at his answers, which I’m including here, unedited and in their full glory, along with my editorial comments.
The Best Parts About Christmas… from a kid’s point of view. 1 of 7
I enjoyed taking trips to see Santa at Macy's, and around downtown in the snow. These, however, didn't make Felix's list of Christmas joys… Click on to find out what he loves about the season!
Let’s start with the obvious: Toys 2 of 7
Me: What are you excited about getting for Christmas?
Me: Do you like giving presents to other people too?
Me: What's more fun, giving them or getting them?
Felix: Giving them.
Me: Oh, yeah?!
Felix: I mean getting them. Both. Both are more fun.
Obviously we need to talk about what the word more means.
Candy Canes 3 of 7
Felix: I like them 'cause they're minty and sweet and very yummy.
Me: Do you think it's special that they only come out once a year?
Felix: No. It's sad that they only come out once a year. Why is that?
Me: I guess it's just to make them special.
At this point I feel like a horrible interviewer, since we're just going in circles here.
Making Cookies 4 of 7
Felix: It's fun making cookies 'cause you get to decorate them.
Me: What's more fun, eating them or making them?
Felix: Eating them… eating them, and making them.
Obviously, the kid has problems making decisions, since this is the second either/or question that he's opted for both!
Me: Do you have anything else to say about cookies?
Felix: No. Nothing.
Decorating the Tree 5 of 7
Felix: It was fun putting up the tree.
Me: What was fun about it?
Felix: It was just… fun. That's all.
Me: Do you have anything else to say about it?
This is turning out to be the hardest interview I've ever conducted. It's like the kid took lessons from Bob Dylan or something.
Seeing the Lights 6 of 7
Last weekend we took a trip out to Dyker Heights, a neighborhood in Brooklyn famous for going all out on their decorating. While there, Felix complained about being cold, and said he wanted to go home, so I was a little surprised that he put this on his list.
Felix: I loved the lights! It was fun. They're beautiful.
Me: That's cool. Would you like to do it again sometime?
Being Home with Mommy — And You Too 7 of 7
Felix: Mommy doesn't have to go to work. I don't have to go to school. And Daddy still works on his computer but not as hard as he does in the summertime.
I'm happy that he recognizes that I "work hard," and so don't ask anything more. Quit while you're ahead, right?