grumpy about the holidays – day 22 postscript (letter to Santa)

I got all addled after Jesse discovered her letter to Santa in my drawer earlier today. It made me distractible and when I was wrapping up my post I forgot to mention something that I really enjoyed at the end of Jesse’s letter. “I think my dog comes to the living room when you’re there,” she wrote, “so please try not to trim her snout that closely this time.”


When I puzzled over this, she reminded us that last year, she awoke on Christmas morning to discover that Madeline’s muzzle had been trimmed more closely than ever before, so short that it was a veritable bald shave so that her black poodle muzzle skin showed through. I had forgotten all about it, but when Jesse brought it up, the memories percolated. As I recall, this is what happened last Christmas. Jesse woke up and took a good look at Madeline, and then she started chewing me out along the lines of WHAT HAPPENED TO MADELINE?? She looks ridiculous!! Why would you make her look so funny?? Why did you cut the fur so short??? Jesse was livid.

Reality? Madeline was all fluffy and dirty. Her muzzle needed a trim. Christmas Eve. Gifts. Magic morning coming up, much to do. Booze. Not very good lighting. Me with a pair of doggy scissors, feeling giddy and tired.  I don’t know what got into me, but I guess I cut it a little close.

What I told Jesse last year, in the face of her fury on Christmas morning? Something along the lines of this. What are you talking about? Let me take a look at Madeline… Oh my goodness! What happened to her! She had so much fur on her face when I went to bed last night! Anthony, did you do this?? No? Hmmm… It must have been Santa. Maybe he thought Madeline needed a trim.

I was just trying to avoid a fight, and blaming it on the Big Red Scary Man seemed like a good idea at the time. I had no idea Jesse would remember, but I guess it’s really strange to imagine Santa going at your dog with shears. It may be time for me to stop blaming things on that guy.

Grumpy about the holidays – day 22 (letter to Santa)

Jesse finally wrote a letter to Santa late Saturday.

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So let me do some extrapolating and interpreting on your behalf, dear reader, in bullet point format:

-It slays me that the first item on Jesse’s list isn’t even something she wants. Nick wants Clone Wars figurines, but he can’t write yet. I love that Jesse put this first, without even tooting her own horn about being nice for her brother. Bonus points for Jesse.

-Next Jesse wants a “small night fury dragon that can fly too.” In conversation with me, she admitted that she’s hoping for a remote control robotic night fury. Wouldn’t you know. This year, Santa’s elves didn’t make one.

-Brain Quiz card sets for age 8-9?? One part of me is thinking, cooool, my little dork! The other part of me is thinking that this request is driven by anxiety over school performance and is sad, very sad.

-Underwear and dark-colored clothing? WTF?

-bicycle. Not. I told her Santa is unlikely to bring her a bike because she already has a brand new one. Yeah, she chuckled and shrugged. She’ll still have a go at one.

-Hot wheels. An odd request for an American girl, but apparently it’s a tradition between Jesse and Santa. Hot Wheels at Christmas, and only at —-

ALL STOP. The kids are coming down the stairs. I allegedly put this letter in the mail to Santa Saturday night. I’ll hide it in this drawer right here at the computer desk, no one will look there. I’ll be back later.

* * * * * *

GAAAAAH. Total disaster. Jesse decided now was the time to type up her poem about Grandma’s house, so she was sitting here typing while I played some stupid game with Nick nearby, when suddenly she was coming at me with a grim look on her face. “What. Is. This. Doing. Here.” She was carrying a red card.

I thought fast. I did what came naturally. I acted stupid. “Why is what where.”

“My letter to Santa! Why is it in your drawer??”

“What drawer.”

“THE DRAWER. Why didn’t you mail it??”

“I did. I don’t know why it’s in the drawer. What drawer. Are you sure it’s your letter. Where’s the envelope.”

And so on. As it turns out, some time this morning Jesse spotted a nasty-looking grey heap at the edge of the woods in our back yard. It appears that some time during the night, the elves came into our house and cleaned an enormous pile of ashes out of our fireplace, dumping them in an unsightly mound in plain view. I never clean out the fireplace, and Daddy would never ever ever do something so sloppy. So we speculated that the elves were getting the fireplace ready for Santa’s visitation. Now, this afternoon in the face of the letter to Santa, I hypothesized that perhaps the elves left the letter behind. They’re always causing mischief of one kind or another.

This apparently was good enough. Jesse has written a follow-up note to go with the original. She’s leaving both notes on the hearth tonight.


Also she put some cookies up there. Hopefully the elves will stop by tonight.

* * * * *

So back to the letter. Jesse also wants a stuffed animal dog just like ours, which means a 6-pound white poodle. Wouldn’t you know that when I — I’m sorry, when Santa went hunting for a stuffed animal dog, he found in The Workshop every possible breed of dog that has ever been bred, EXCEPT white poodles. No white poodles this year. The elves apparently went on white poodle strike. But Santa found a white sheep about the same size as Madeline, so it’ll have to do. And no bike. As for everything else, the orders have been filled.

Jesse accepts the idea that Santa won’t bring everything she asks for, or that he may make modifications to her requests. She has frequently been heard to say things like, “I don’t need to write a letter to Santa. I trust him to get things for me that I’ll love. He always does.”

I was apparently not so forgiving as a child. One year I chastised Santa for his failure in the prior year to bring me anything I had actually asked for, and impolitely directed him to do better. I would post the letter here for you to see, except it’s in a box in California somewhere, and I’m in Wisconsin. It’s one of the grumpiest letters to Santa I’ve ever seen. Belligerent, bossy, and oozing with disappointment and seething anger.

I wonder why my mom kept that letter. It’s a good thing I’ve changed so much since then.