Santa, Mickey, and our elf. I’ll let you know how it ends

My ambivalent relationship with Santa continues.

BB loves the guy.

I remember my disappointment when I found out the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real and that was only a couple bucks here or there. I don’t wish I’d never believed, but the transition to not believing was a downer.

How crushed will BB be?

I keep asking other people how they felt when they learned the truth and in return everyone asks if BB is starting to have doubts.

Zero. Zero doubts. If anything, she’s doubling down on believing.

We’re headed to Disney in two weeks and BB has been studying her guidebook as if there’s a midterm coming up.

She points to Mickey and Minnie on the cover, who are looking fabulous in their 50th anniversary gear by the way, and asks,

“Are they real or people in costume?”

“What do you think?

“Well considering they can walk, and with smiles like those… They’re definitely real.”

So that’s where we’re at.

Santa on the bubble barge came to our neighborhood last week.

BB tells me,

“It was the real Santa.”

“How do you know?”

“I looked at his beard. How could he be fake with a beard like that?”

How could he?

And I don’t subscribe to this naughty list. It causes BB anxiety.

Over and over I remind her that she’s getting Christmas presents whether or not she’s nice to her sister. Even if it would be really nice if she were nice to her sister or at least maintain the status quo.

BB tells me,

“I told my friends that you said there’s no naughty list for me and they said you’re wrong. There is a naughty list.”

There’s nothing I can say to prove I know more than a 5-year-old.

I’ve been playing along for a few weeks now, but reached a breaking point.

A few days ago BB came home and asked our elf-on-the-shelf Tutu to please bring her a candy cane. I meant to put out a couple candy canes, but I forgot. Tutu moved. A miracle in itself.

The next morning BB was tearing the house apart in a fit,

“There are no candy canes! I asked Tutu for candy canes. So-and-so’s elf gave them a this and So-and-so’s elf gave them a that and Tutu hasn’t given me anything.”

When did the elves start bringing presents?! Santa help me.

Maybe because it was the first conversation of my day or maybe because it was Dec 18th, but something snapped. I wanted to throw the “magic” out the window. I tell BB,

“I grew up with no elf and I didn’t believe in Santa. Many people in this world do not have an elf or Santa. And maybe your elf knows that you had 8 nights of Hanukkah and now you’re going to have Christmas.”

Unswayed, BB tells me,

“I know, but I believe in Santa.”

I know. And believe it or not, Tutu brought candy canes the next night. RB gobbled hers up before it was out of the wrapper and BB’s is still untouched on the counter.

Who knows what RB makes of all this. Her priority is candy. She’s still walking around asking,

“More Happy Halloween?”


Don’t worry Goofy, we’ll be reunited soon!

If only that hat still fit. But I wouldn’t mind finding that Goofy cap!
No real Goofy here, but I felt like this was a quality photo.

JoJo Siwa, Santa and the magic of COVID Christmas

This is the most relaxing Christmas season I’ve had in the entire 7 years I’ve been celebrating. There’s the undercurrent of COVID anxiety and missing friends desperately, but a little death threat in the air reminds me that what I have is so much and so precious.

Run Run Rudolph is blasting in the living room. BB starts dance jumping screaming out of her mind,

“This is JoJo Siwa! This is JoJo Siwa!”


“JoJo Siwa. I didn’t know this was her song!”

“It’s not. She’s covering it.”

“It is. She’s singing it.”

I let it go. Not my hill to die on. I ask Captain,

“Do you know who JoJo Siwa is?”


This is the beauty of him working next to the kitchen. I can ask him any number of important questions at anytime.

I head to the internet. I now know that I’m super out of touch and it’s amazing we’ve gone this long without knowing about her. Kinda like the year I avoided ever hearing the Baby Shark song.

JoJo Siwa seems to be responsible for all unicorns, rainbows and glitter. She’s also the creator of 7,000 different bows. BIG bows. But you probably already know this.

Turns out the Hanukkah bow I bought for BB, super big and sparkly BTW, is a JoJo Siwa bow. Which according to BB is a good thing.

Google informed me that she’s huge with the toddler set. I could’ve told you that considering all BB’s knowledge about her was from other 4-year-olds at school.

I don’t know where we go from here. Is it too late to pretend I still have no idea who she is? I did learn she has a nacho machine in her kitchen. Something I could aspire to.

We’re ready for Santa. BB continues to ask a gazillion questions. I don’t know how long this tale can hold up to the interrogations.

“Do the reindeer come down the chimney?”

“No way. Just Santa.”

“Then how do they eat the carrots?”


“Maybe they do come down the chimney? Ask Dad. He’s the expert.”

Captain offers,

“Santa goes around to the front door and lets them in.”

The front door and lets them in?!? I confront him later. I have an excuse, but shouldn’t he have this Santa story sorted out?

Now Santa just needs to decide if the presents go inside or outside the baby gate. Maybe both sides? It could keep the little people from killing each other. RB is happy to open all presents. BB will lose her mind if RB breathes on anything belonging to BB. And BB will be desperate to play with a baby stacking toy if it means taking it away from RB.

Let the magic begin.

Stage 5 ornament grabber

Can we store toys in the Land of Make Believe?

SO MANY TOYS. I am the number one contributor to this problem. I’m not sure what to do about it. I want to give BB presents. I also want to be able to see the floor of my living room.

There are toys that haven’t even come out of their boxes yet and toys that did, but BB refused to play with.

She opened her Buzz Lightyear jammies and declared,

“I’m still looking for a Buzz Lightyear costume.”

I explain that the jammies can go both ways. Then she opens what I thought was a fantastic idea for my little space, Toy Story enthusiast: a Buzz Lightyear helmet and jet pack. I’m thinking that can go over the jammies to make it a real costume.

A week later BB has yet to try on the helmet.

I ask BB,

“I’m thinking about returning the Buzz Lightyear helmet, what do you think?”

“No, I want it.”

“Do you want to wear it?”


“Then maybe I can return it.”

“I’ll wear it in the summer.”

Last year I returned a Christmas present and BB missed it so much that the Easter Bunny brought it back.

For RB we just rewrapped BB’s old toys. I thought BB was oblivious, but after opening another baby toy for RB she declares,

“Did I play with this when I was a baby?”


Santa re-gifting was not an issue, but I did field more questions. Not my strong suit. BB tells Captain and me,

“Open your stockings!”

“There’s nothing in them.”


“Santa only does the kids’ stockings.”


Because Santa has a new baby and whatever Santa managed to do this year is a miracle.

BB gestures to her toys that are sitting in front of the fireplace,

“Were those in the way of Santa?”

“Oh no. That doesn’t stop him.” Although the child safety lock might’ve given him some trouble.

I’m still struggling with this whole thing. Where does it end? Now when BB asks where Santa lives, I’ve changed my story. I say,

“He lives in the North Pole in the Land of Make Believe, along with the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.”

BB is very satisfied with this answer and still believes in all of them.

She’s planning a trip to the Land of Make Believe to get a pet unicorn. She says she wants one real one and one pretend one.

Maybe I can return the Buzz Lightyear helmet and she can help herself to a pretend one.


Adding a little bounce to my holiday


The whole marginal Santa thing

Happy New Year! I’ll be lucky if I’m awake to see midnight. And awake because I woke up to go to the bathroom doesn’t count. Six years ago I would’ve been wide awake bartending. I still can’t believe I start my mornings very close to when I used to go to bed.

Captain has deemed Christmas a success and I’m relieved it’s over. I didn’t realize how relieved I was until December 26th when I ran around like a crazy person and by the time I went to sleep all the decorations were put away and the tree was in a heap in the yard. The only signs of the season now are a couple snowflake towels floating around.

Okay there are also some melamine plates with dogs in glasses and Santa hats.

I’m still not sure how I feel about this whole Santa thing. I grew up knowing he wasn’t real. I remember scoffing at the kids who believed in him, while simultaneously taking the Tooth Fairy very seriously.

I also never believed in the Easter Bunny, but one Easter we were away at the Ritz in Chicago and they promised the Easter Bunny would visit our room. My parents wanted to head out for the day. I was frantic. I called the front desk and pestered them for the whereabouts of this bunny, never for a second letting them believe I had any doubts about his existence. Please just bring me a basket of candy.

I thought having the Tooth Fairy was fun, so might as well do Santa. BB seemed to grasp the idea that Hanukkah presents come from Mom and Dad and Christmas ones come from Santa. I thought this would be an easy enough year, but BB is already trying to poke holes in my Santa story and I haven’t had a chance to get my story straight.

We were headed to a holiday party to see Santa. I mention this to BB. She asks,

“We’re going to the North Pole?”

No. What? Good point. How the heck do kids make sense of the million Santas walking around at Christmas time? Having worked in Disney, I know they let nothing threaten the magic. You will NEVER have a double Mickey Mouse sighting because there’s only one Mickey of course.

But nobody is monitoring all the Santas. I can’t even remember what I told BB. When we get there she asks,

“Where are Santa’s reindeer?”

That’s it. Uncle! I’m tempted to tell her I made a big mistake and Santa isn’t real. Santa terrifies her. Later when we read some books, she points at Santa’s elves and tells me,

“I like the little Santas, not the big Santa.”

She also asked me,

“How does Tutu (our Elf on the Shelf) fly? She doesn’t have wings.”

“Uh… Magic?”

Is that the right answer? I know the Elf on the Shelf website provides answers to potential questions, but when BB put me on the spot I panicked.

If I can’t field the two-year-old questions, how the heck am I supposed to carry this story until the marginal age of 7?

It also dawns on me that Santa needs his own wrapping paper and hand writing. I get a pass on that this year. The only letter BB cares about is the first letter of her name.

Christmas Eve I absolutely regretted the entire thing. BB was sitting up in bed terrified and she kept pointing to the roof,

“Is he up there?”

“No, don’t worry, he doesn’t want you to see him.”

“Are the reindeer up there?”

“No.” If Santa keeps BB from sleeping I’m going to be really angry with this guy.

She sleeps. In the morning she comes tearing down the stairs and comes to an abrupt halt in the kitchen. She gasps when she sees her presents,

“A tractor! I told Santa I wanted a tractor!” And then she whispers, “Is he in there?”

“No, go ahead!”

She won’t move. Captain has to hold her hand and we proceed with caution. The coast is clear, Santa is back at the North Pole, until next year!