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Sarah Fowler

The countdown to Christmas has begun and I’m officially in a state of sheer panic. Christmas is mere days away and I am still on the hunt for the “perfect” present for Prinny.
I have poured over the Toys R Us Christmas catalog, Googled every toy imaginable and even stalked buggies at Wal-Mart to see what other mommies are buying but I still have absolutely no idea what to get my sweet baby. I’ll admit, being a single mom I overcompensate at Christmas and this year is no different. I want to be able to create that magic moment for her, the moment where she rushes into the living room early that on Christmas morning, desperately searching to see if Santa came. There is nothing like the look on her face, her eyes lighting up with delight when she sees that one perfect present under the tree, the one gift she’s been dreaming about and realizes that it now belongs to her. And I don’t have a dang clue what that gift is. Crap.
Prinny hasn’t exactly made this easy for me either. For Christmas my sweet baby girl has asked Santa for one thing and one thing only. As she says “I just want one teeny tiny little thing.” She has asked Santa for a fairy. A real, honest to goodness, living, breathing, flying, pixie dust having, tutu wearing fairy. How the heck am I supposed to pull that one off? The way I see it, I have two options here. I can either shatter her hopes and dreams and tell her that fairies aren’t real or I can tell her that Santa Claus isn’t. Well that’s just lovely. Since I’m not really comfortable with ruining her childhood, I tried a different approach. First, I explained to her that we can’t have people as pets. My little humanitarian responded with “But she won’t be a pet! She’ll be my best friend!” Double crap. My second approach was, in my opinion, much more logical. I told her that fairies live all the way in Pixie Hollow and there is no way Santa could make it there in time. She came back with “Mommy. He makes all the way around the world in one night. He can go get me a fairy.” I hate it when my child is smarter than I am. As of right now, my third option is paying some poor desperate college student to dress up in a fairy costume to come and live at our house for a while. Any takers?
I have a sneaking suspicion that the fairy deal may not work out and that puts me back at square one. Prinny will turn six years old less than two months after Christmas and has entered that age where she insists she’s too old for Barbies and baby dolls and I insist she’s not old enough for an iPad. I’m sorry, but I have a huge problem with giving my five year old a present that costs more than a car payment. The money isn’t the issue, it’s the fact that if I start giving her costly presents at five what is she going to expect at 16? I feel like an old lady as I tell my daughter “Back in my day…” and I might as well be saying I had to walk a mile to the store, barefoot in freezing temperatures just to get a gallon of milk but dang it, I’m sticking to my guns on this. I know there are millions of parents out there who give their children the latest high-tech gadgets, and if that’s what you’re into then good for you, but whatever happened to giving them a bike? I would much rather spend Christmas morning watching Prinny circle the driveway on her new bicycle, still in her pjs because she’s so excited than listen to a beep-beep-beep nosie coming from the next room because she’s curled up alone, not talking to anyone for fear it will mess up her score on Angry Birds. No thank you. Is that the meaning of Christmas? I hope not.
You can look at Facebook on any given day and see a post, picture or status update about Christmas. I logged on this morning and saw adorable pictures of kids posing in front of the fire, fresh baked cookies and that creepy little troll know as Elf on the Shelf. (I don’t care who you are, that sucker is just plain scary.) There are comments from teachers about how many days until Christmas break, a mom bragging about getting the hot toy of the season at 50% off and one or two cursing the crazy weather that Mississippi is cursed with during the winter months. But I didn’t see one single post was about the real reason for the season. I’m sitting here writing a column about my quest for the perfect toy but has it even occurred to me to mention the birth of Christ? I’m ashamed to admit it but sadly not. As Prinny has gotten older Christmas has become more of a production; the search for the perfect present, the perfect pair of matching pjs, the perfect Christmas card with the dog on the front in her red and green sweater…it’s all a bit much. As we decorate the tree, melodies from Mannheim Steamroller fill the house and mix with the smell of burning gingerbread men and I fear my sweet Jesus has gotten lost in all the hooplah. The tree, the decorations, the lights…it’s all outshining why we celebrate this holiday in the first place.
This Christmas morning Prinny will wake up, rub the sleep from her eyes and enter a winter wonderland of toys. The tree will be lit, sausage balls will be baking in the oven, mugs will be filled with hot chocolate and her stocking will be hanging from the mantle. In the middle of it all will be a nativity scene with The Greatest Gift, baby Jesus nestled in a manger. And hopefully, there will be a fairy in some form or fashion under our overly decorated tree.


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