If you're not careful about the traditions you start (or if you're just a tad bit sociopathic) you might traumatize your kids, and scar them for life. Like Doug and I did.
Years ago,in 1988 when Scott was 5, Brian was 3, and Dianna was just a newborn, we dangerously messed with Christmas. It's just that the kids were so darn cute. . . and so darn gullible that we had no choice but to mess with their minds.
We bought some walkie-talkies for the two boys, (remember, there was a time when there were no Nintendo game systems, or game boys, or Wiis or cell phones, and walkie talkies were impressive gizmos.) But first, Doug set one up under the Christmas tree skirt, and headed down to our basement with the other one. I set off our kitchen timer bell (which Doug could hear) when Scott got near the tree, and Doug called, in a high-pitched squeaky, tree-like voice, "Oh Scotty! Have you been a good little boy?" and pretty soon, Scotty and Brian were deep in animated conversation with our talking Christmas tree. They were so smitten by the tree, that they eagerly committed to all kinds of goodness for the coming year, and promises to even eat their brocolli, not stick beans in their ears any more--it was a real bonanza for us!
Twelve months went by, and of course the walkie-talkies had long ago been trashed (the Tree-contract never extracted any promises about walkie talkies!)
Our 1989 tree went up, and, being adults, Doug and I had long forgotten the talking Christmas Tree, but not Scotty! He promptly went up to the tree and greeted it.
Brian joined him, and the two cajoled and pleaded with the tree to talk to them. Like a rat, I cowered in the kitchen, wondering what I could tell them about why the tree was giving them the silent treatment. I tried to tell them that maybe the tree was just sleeping, here, have some more gumdrops and candy canes. . . .wants some hot chocolate with marshmallows? All afternoon, they'd suddenly start crying again, asking why the Christmas tree wouldn't talk to them this year, (as if every other child on the planet of course was getting to have these sweet, intimate chats with Father Spruce.)
I might have been raised Catholic, but there are certain sins you just cannot confess. How could I ever go to Church and say, "Bless me father for I have wantonly decimated my sweet, innocent, children's Christmas tree beliefs." It just can't be done.
So let this tale of woe keep you from making the same mistakes! (Or if you're plotting to trick your children, make sure you think through all the unintended consequences so you don't get busted.)
And here is a photo of one of the perpetrators with this year's tree, and my efforts to get good Christmas light bokeh.
This was really just a test shot, but now I'm baffled. Why is there pixie dust on Doug? I can't figure out where the blue lights and specks are coming from. I couldn't see any lights on him at all, and I'm trying to figure out if the reflection from the blue LED lights on the tree are hitting the lens, and creating this effect.
I mentioned the "pixie dust" on Doug, and he tried to brush it off!
Thank you, everyone, for the clever ideas for the stockings the other day. You've inspired me to keep them around a little longer now! And Maria, I think you so deserve the official title of Mrs. Santa Claus for all your traditions!