Over in a Flash: Santa was Really Just a Fireworks Show

From the cover of Parents magazine. Do I really want to perpetuate this cycle?

Wow, that was quick.

The weeks of list making and shopping and price comparisons have all culminated in a frenzy of paper ripping, stocking-dumping, tag-pulling that ended before we could even post to Facebook.

I empathize with the folks that plan the Olympic closing ceremony for four years. They work together all that time and then must gaze in disbelief as the Olympic flame is finally extinguished. Likewise, I look at the last crumple of paper and wonder how all that effort just passed into the ages.

Did Santa’s eager recipients notice the careful visual merchandising of every item? The placement at different eye levels, the fanning out of each article, showing each to its advantage? No, all that thoughtfulness went unnoticed and indeed was obliterated without so much as a pause of appreciation.

Once the kids start going through the stash, it’s all I can do to keep a running mental check of the inventory. Game, toy, book…wait, there’s supposed to be a book under there…and hey, did you look closely at the mantel? Isn’t that a small package up there? And then it’s all over, like a massive fireworks display, only less controlled. It feels like the fuse was lit and – BOOM! – it ended while I was still covering my ears. Was that the finale? I’m looking into the sky expecting the next burst of color, but there’s only a gray puff of smoke.

This is oddly unsatisfying. It seems that the more stuff there is, the faster they want to plunder through it. How much time did we spend shopping for this stuff, let alone working to pay for it?

Sigh. I must remember this lesson in gluttony when it’s time to hit the dessert table following Christmas dinner. More is often less satisfying than one or two special things.

  • Eli & Joel’s Mom

    I call it Christmas Carnage….the leftover wrapping paper like the carcass of a plundered kill by a pack of cheetahs. I have 2 small boys! Maybe that’s a bit graphic, but that is how it feels.u00a0

  • Tina

    Ha! Actually, that is the perfect analogy! I wonder how a wildlife anthropologist would describe it in a documentary…”the mother and father stand aside to photograph as their young rip through package after package. There is no predator nearby to cause the frenzied rush, yet the family unit, caught up in the kill, continues its toy feasting until every last box is opened and there is nothing left.

    “The mother, ever mindful of her offspring, will begin stalking her prey again on the following day as she hunts through after-Christmas sales for discounted wrapping paper for next year’s ritual…”