Back by Popular Demand: Why The Holidays Suck: #493

December 10, 2010

Let me count the ways the holidays suck: Those “What We Did This Year!!!” holiday bulletins. Aunt Rita’s Fruitcake. Those annoying-ass-plastic-clam-shell thingys that all toys come in now. The line at the Post Office.  The olfactory clusterfuck coming out of every candle store at the MegaMall. “Feliz Navidad,” the Christmas song from Hades. Shall I go on?

I know, I’m a crank and a Scrooge and Christmas is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Once upon a time, when I had a life and did not have children, I liked Christmas just fine. I’d shop, wrap, schlep my butt over to my parents’ house and get shitfaced on Mimosas by 1 in the afternoon. And then take all my loot back to my apartment. What’s not to like?

But then I had kids. Christmas dies an ugly little death after you have children. Because all of a sudden, there’s this pressure to make magical memories with them. Total fucking buzzkill.

The pressure of creating the perfect Christmas for your children? It’s the reason they need to install a Valium Salt Lick in the shopping mall after Thanksgiving.

And while they’re at it, can they make the drinking fountains squirt out grain alcohol? Because mommies need that shit.

And what about that whole Mall Santa Photo Thing? There are pictures of horror-stricken, traumatized, wailing kids all over the Internet this time of year. Why do we subject our kids to this? We put them in the itchiest, most uncomfortable outfits they own, haul them down to the mall, make them wait in line for an hour with those freaks who bring their dogs to see Santa, hiss at them if they try to do anything normal, like fidget or run around, plop them into the lap of a strange bearded dude, and expect them to think, “This is Awesome!”

Now before you accuse me of snobbery and arrogance, I will admit to you up-front that I took first-born to see the Mall Santa. Guilty. I did it, and I paid out the ass for the dorky picture…oh wait. No, I didn’t.

Because I was brilliant enough to wait until my child was three years old before I took her to see Mall Santa.

I have reasons for this. The first year, I’d just given birth. The Woman with the Hemorrhoid that Ate Colorado was totally not up for Mall Santa. Also, first-born was so underweight that she looked like E.T.

The second year, first-born was going through the Winter of Oozing Eczema. Enough said.

Year three, there was nothing holding us back. Except for the fact that she was three. The Demon-Child Year.

But I, determined to get my $24.95 snapshot of Holiday Bliss, put her in the itchy dress and schlepped her down to the Megamall. On a weekend in December. Clearly, Mommy ain’t real bright.

Things went South within a half hour. First-born stormed the kiosk that carries those hand-held massager thingys. Ummm, y’all know those are vibrators, right? Massagers, my fat fanny. These particular specimens even glowed and sparkled. First-born snatched herself a snazzy pink vibrator and took off running through the mall, full-tilt. Not only did I have to chase after her, I had to drop my purse and 3 oversized shopping bags from Crate&Barrel mid-mall, because first-born is wicked fast. Finally, I tackled her, in front of the Coach store. “Hi, swanky ladies in track-suits buying overpriced bags…don’t mind me here, wrestling The Vibrator Bandit to the ground…”

And then there was the hideous wait in line, with those freaks who bring their dogs to see Santa. First-born had an irrational fear of dogs at age three; it’s a *long* 45 minutes when your toddler acts like every Shi-Tzu in a sweater is Cujo.

Admittedly, I was in a foul mood when at last, it was our turn to shine. (Hello? Can I campaign any harder for the Valium Salt Lick and the Everclear Drinking Fountain?) First-born shuffled towards Santa and then bolted, insisting, “I’m not sitting on the hairy man.”

So I did what any mother would do. I shook her and hissed into her ear, “Do it now or no Happy Meal.”

She sullenly plopped her butt on Santa’s lap and as the Mall Elf chirped, “Smile and say Snowflake!” first-born spontaneously combusted.

“Stink! Argh! He stinky-stinky!” she hollered, opening her jaws wide and chomping firmly down on Mall Santa’s wrist.

You’d think they’d prepare these Mall Santas for shit like this. I mean, kids piss on Santa all the time; can’t they handle a leeeetle nibble?

Mall Santa hucked first-born off his lap and said accusingly, “Your kid just bit me lady!”

As if I didn’t have eyes.

“She didn’t do it that hard,” I retorted. Pussy.

“She broke the skin,” Mall Elf said helpfully. Stuff it, Enabler.

“She broke the skin,” Santa repeated.

“Oh come on!” I said. “Don’t tell me one of those things (gesturing to a sweatered and cranky looking Dachshund) hasn’t ever taken a chomp out of you. Chill, Kris Kringle.”

Which is how, in December of 2004, I ended up in the office of Paul Blart:Mall Cop, filling out an inordinate amount of paperwork. I also had to take first-born to the doctor, get her blood drawn and analyzed, and fax the results back to the MegaMall. Because my kid could, you know, have rabies.

The entire ride home after the Santa Incident, first-born insisted that she had done nothing wrong. In fact, she argued that Mall Santa deserved to be bitten. Because “he stinky, Mama. Santa not supposed to stink.”

Pass the Valium Salt Lick, please.


{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa August 1, 2010 at 4:30 pm

After working retail pharmacy for a few months (now its been 12 years) I suggested a Valium Salt lick in the waiting area! I think we could market this shit… :)


michelle December 13, 2010 at 5:04 am

This might be my Most Favorite Post in the history of blogland. Seriously.
It made me fall in love with you last year.

Gonna link to it cause Christmas is all about sharing the love, right?



Erica@PLRH December 13, 2010 at 6:48 am

Oh good Lord! What a story! I’ve never been a big fan of mall Santas. Now I’m so glad that my kids are waaaaaaaaay past that stage.

As for the valium… I’d like mine in a to-go box, thank you very much. Oh yea, I dread my sister’s My-Darling-Children-Are-Perfect-Newletter every year.


Katybeth December 13, 2010 at 6:59 am

OMG. Your story tops mine. Hand down winner. I was on all three Chicago newscasts with my 1 year old looking absolutely adorable–screaming like there was no tomorrow, the headline for the news, “Is Christmas to stressful for kids.” KIDS!!! Is Christmas to stressful for kids? I don’t think so. Pass the valium please. (it was a slow news day–so we were also the lead in all the “see the full story at 10pm clips.” )


SuziCate December 13, 2010 at 7:59 am

I’s sorry…I’m laughing so hard. I think I am going to bookmark this post, and when I think Christmas sucks, I’m going to reread this and be reminded that no, in comparison it is peaceful! I always wondered if Santa ever got bitten by one of the kids…she’s right, Santa is not supposed to be stinky!


Futureblackmail December 13, 2010 at 8:37 am

I have one picture of my daughter with Santa and one picture with my daughter standing next to a reindeer – I happen to that’s plenty.

Then there was that one year that Mall Santa stopped by Starbucks before his shift started and we took full advantage.


Allison December 13, 2010 at 8:59 am

And this is why I have not yet ventured to see mall Santa with my son. I may never take him unless cosmos are served while you wait in line.


Emily Z December 13, 2010 at 9:04 am

Your post was just the laugh I needed this morning. Thank you. The “Hemorrhoid that Ate Colorado” was the icing on the cake. Your story gives me something to look forward to, we’re trying to have a baby now… I’m not pregnant yet, which is why I needed a good laugh. Sigh. And thanks for the compliment on my husband, I like him too. :)


Jennifer December 13, 2010 at 9:47 am

Baby Girl HATED the mall Santa up until she was about three. She would scream bloody murder if you tried to step away from him. Now she is cool with it and begs to go see him every time we go to the mall.


Jenna December 13, 2010 at 10:30 am

Oh my– the “I’m not sitting on the hairy man” totally got me! =) And I agree–a liquor of choice coming out of the water fountains would be a nice holiday shopping incentive.


Christine December 13, 2010 at 10:41 am

Alas, you’ve convinced me. I don’t think we’ll be going this year. LOL


Shawna December 13, 2010 at 10:45 am

Thanks for the giggle Kitch! My kids love the mall Santa. It helps that we live near a “senior’s mall” and there is rarely a line up and they let you take pics with your own camera. And my girls have this weird thing for men with beards. I think I might be the only mother in the world for whom this activity is not torture and even then, I don’t actually like it. It brings on too many questions and other crap about Santa that I am not yet prepared to deal with ;)


Yuliya December 13, 2010 at 10:49 am

People take their dogs to see Santa? No they don’t. Do they? Good lord.
What’s a dog going to ask Santa for exactly?


Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday December 13, 2010 at 11:00 am

Hilarious as always.


Belinda December 13, 2010 at 11:42 am

Oh my! Your exquisite wit has me in stitches!
I’ve never ever seen a kid happily sitting on Santa’s lap. My son consistently says no everythime I ask him if he’d like a photo with Santa.


kittycat December 13, 2010 at 12:20 pm

I agree there is so much pressure as a parent to make things “special” so that the memories will be happy ones.

I am at a different place in my life now, with mine being 16 & 20 where the speicalness has come back to it for me and my husband.

Its our time now. and I am lovin it.


Stacia December 13, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I, um, have more pictures of my dogs with Santa than my kids. Can we still be friends?


Kelly December 13, 2010 at 1:58 pm

I love that story! It reminds me we have that very task planned for this week. Somehow we have to drag the 2.5 year old to the mall one evening to miss the weekend crowd, sounds fabulous. It will require a martini and a deep breath just to grab the motivation to make it happen.


bryan December 13, 2010 at 2:44 pm

You always get me in trouble. Here I am having some slacker time in my office and then i open this post because well I know how good it is and start laughing. Then my boss peeks in to see and well, you got me in trouble…

Thanks for the laugh!



rebecca @ altared spaces December 13, 2010 at 5:28 pm

um. I like Santa.

I’ve never taken my kids to get a picture with him because I get too excited and want to be in the picture myself. Hmmm. What does this say about me?

And, now that I’ve asked…I’m worried to hear the answer because I’m afraid it will include quotes about last minute gifts.


Cheryl @ Mommypants December 13, 2010 at 5:34 pm

A valium salt lick? Can’t we all just mainline it?


Amy @ Never-True Tales December 13, 2010 at 5:53 pm

First, a disclosure: I send out those ‘what we did this year’ cards. Guilty as charged. But I do try to make it creative (usually in the form of making fun of other cards).

Secondly, this: ‘Because my kid could, you know, have rabies.’ I’m laughing so hard. Did they really make you send away for blood work? REALLY?! lol


BigLittleWolf December 13, 2010 at 6:02 pm

I’m liking that valium salt lick idea. Does it come in mocha almond fudge?

Meanwhile, you just threw down the gauntlet, Kitch. You know. The Fabulous Festive Fruitcake Debate. Need to get me an injection of that!


Tiffany December 13, 2010 at 6:17 pm

You are all kinds of awesome. That’s all I have to say about that. Awesome.


LB December 13, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Michelle from “Just Eat It” sent me over, and I’m so glad I came. This has got to be one of the funniest posts I’ve ever read. I nearly pissed my pants!

I <3 your first-born! And please let me know if you have any success with the mall in getting that Valium salt lick. I'd like to have one at work, too.


Heather December 13, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Seriously?!?! You just made me love my boys a little bit more than I did 10 minutes ago. Crazy as they are, they’ve NEVER bit Santa or the Easter Bunny!
I’m with you on the packaging of toys these days – especially those stupid ass little black clips with the tiniest of rubber bands strapped around them and the toys making it impossible to remove them from the packaging!


Rudri December 13, 2010 at 9:32 pm

KW, I have a confession to make. I love fruitcake (only if it comes from Collin Street Bakery in Texas). This post had me laughing for hours. Thanks KW!


Amanda December 13, 2010 at 10:11 pm

I’m so glad I’ve never subjected myself to the torture that is the Santa mall picture.
And I think the valium salt lick should mandatory at any large shopping center.


jessica December 14, 2010 at 6:41 am

My little one has never had a problem with Santa…now the mall Easter Bunny is a whole different story. She thinks that Bunny is ‘NAST.
I was going suggest that you had earned your self a Poinsetta ( which is the drink that I am probably going to be sh*tfaced on this Christmas, but it sounds like you already have delicious drinks covered:)


Mrs.Mayhem December 14, 2010 at 7:26 am

This is awesome! Love, love, love this post! (Yes, one love was not enough. I have four children. Try taking them to see a mall Santa. Enough said.)


Tom B. Taker December 14, 2010 at 7:51 am

So where’s the picture? I mean, if a photographer isn’t going to take a picture of a three-year-old biting Santa Claus (and breaking the skin) – what the hell are they waiting for? I guess that’s the sort of photographic excellence you get for minimum wage. Not exactly Ansel Adams.

I thoroughly enjoyed this piece. It dwarfs anything I have ever written. I’m now deleting my blog.

Also, please forward the email for the woman in the first image. I want to meet her. I’m a last-minute gift giver, too.


Justine December 14, 2010 at 8:29 am

OMG – I’m laughing hard. This sounds so unreal is HAS to be real. Way to go little chomper! But I can’t believe you had to send your daughter to the doctor for this. WTF?

Fabulous story telling as usual. Makes my drab Tue in an even drabbier office seem a little brighter.


Jack December 14, 2010 at 8:29 am

I almost fell off of my chair laughing. This was…awesome.


Janet December 14, 2010 at 9:00 am

Sister, this is an absolute stitch! And that recipe seems like just what I need after baking 381 cookies, hosting an open house on Sunday where the last guest SHOWED UP at the ending time (and I was too nice and she was too old to slam the door in her face). Oh, and then there’s the new Girl Scout troop I’m forming, that threatens to grow to gargantuan proportions (not a single mom in Boulder wants to actually be a Girl Scout leader, it turns out, but they all want their girls to be scouts!). And I’m about four weeks behind on my blogging. I keep thinking, these all are so pretty, I should take a picture, but it’s 11 at night and I don’t have a clue about how to take a picture with my fancy camera that will turn out when it’s dark out. I don’t know how you do it (well, I guess now I do — that Valium Salt Lick or the Champagne Cosmos). Thanks for the laugh.


Pam December 14, 2010 at 9:35 am

What a great funny story and the valium salt lick is a must have this time of year. Awesome!


Monet December 14, 2010 at 10:12 am

You are so hilarious. I am glad to have you…I get so tired of all the holiday hooplah sometimes, and your commentary is just hilarious. People really bring their dogs to see Santa??? My, oh, my…what is this world coming to? Thank you for sharing with me today. Have an afternoon full of love!


Donna December 14, 2010 at 11:27 am

I took my grandsons to see the Macy’s Santa Claus after work a couple of years ago. The 5 year old was quite chatty and got right down to the business of his one-item Christmas list. He also had an add-on for his seven-month-old brother “two front teeth”. The little person did not break down when he sat on Santa’s knee for his picture but his eyes were enormous.

P.S. Santa did bring two front teeth for the baby, to the extreme relief of the adults.


theUngourmet December 14, 2010 at 12:01 pm

You poor dear! I can see why you would hate Christmas. ;D

I loved the Hemorrhoid that Ate Colorado. Ha!


Kate December 14, 2010 at 12:29 pm


I’m home sick and feeling crappy – and you literally made me lol with “Do it now or no Happy Meal”. Thank you, thank you, thank you! :)


Megan (Best of Fates) December 14, 2010 at 12:53 pm

You ended up in a mall jail AND discovered elves are Santa’s enablers? Now that sounds like a successful Christmas outing to me. But maybe I have weird standards.


Lindsey December 14, 2010 at 1:56 pm

This made me guffaw out loud. xox


Barbara December 14, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Here’s why we do it: when your kids are grown up, they will adore the memories, the traditions, love you all the more for doing it and not remember any of the bad stuff. You won’t either. Trust me on this. There will be peaceful Christmases ahead.


Bonnie December 14, 2010 at 3:29 pm

You are NOT receiving the Martha Stewart/Dr. Spock award this year!! You have, however, given me a much needed laugh–and time out from reading those interminable Christmas letters saying ….well, you know what they are saying!



Maria December 14, 2010 at 7:04 pm

I have to tell you that when I read this originally, I nearly peed myself. Because I have also endured the wrath of toddlers and the creepy Mall Santa. However, my punishment package did not include bites, bloodwork and a bitchy elf.

That being said, how is that Valium Salt Lick crusade going? Need some help?


Nancy C December 14, 2010 at 7:28 pm

You are brilliant. So fucking funny. And yes, I know it’s a popular line, but I will repeat it: Valium Salt Lick. God, that’s funny. I just may make it my holiday letterhead.


Winn December 14, 2010 at 8:29 pm

And this is why I love you. I’m already lining up for the Valium Salt Lick. With a chaser of malt liquor. :D


faemom December 14, 2010 at 8:39 pm

This is fast becoming my favorite holiday tradition. Better than that movie A Christmas Story. Someone told Evan about mall Santas (damnit), and now we have to go (double damnit).


Jessica December 15, 2010 at 8:04 am

Though i have lovingly read your blog for awhile i have never commented (sorry!). but i have laughed the whole way through this sharing it with everyone at work (where i dream of valium salt licks on a daily basis). i agree with everyone else here, this is the BEST blog post EVER! you make me fear having children, awesome! i cannot wait to share this with everyone i come in contact with. with that all said: good luck this year! and have a wonderful christmas!!


TKW December 15, 2010 at 9:30 am

Jessica, welcome! Congrats on no longer being a “comment virgin.” :) Hope to see more of you, and have a happy Christmas yourself!


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