Girl whispering wish in Santa Claus's ear against Christmas treeIs a “Santa Whisperer” a necessary evil at Christmas?

You know, someone who knows exactly what you want and then tells your husband, lest you get a PajamaGram?

I know all too well about that, by the way. I suppose that’s not the sort of thing that could happen twice; I am lucky enough to have a friend who mercilessly ridicules my husband for having once made that last-minute express-shipping Christmas choice for me. But were she not kind enough to bring that up each December, my husband would probably be one of their best customers.

I should just save my husband the trouble of getting me anything at all, I suppose. Life is good, my cup runneth over, I don’t need new shoes or a warm coat. But it’s sort of depressing, isn’t it?  When Christmas comes and goes and the mom, the one who has orchestrated Santa and the cousins and the grab bags and the FedExing to Indiana, doesn’t get to unwrap anything at all, at least without knowing exactly what’s inside?

I don’t want to buy myself something and wrap it and give it to my husband to give back to me.

And I don’t want him to give me a gift card, because they’re

  1. everything that’s wrong with our over-commercialized modern Christmas
  2. not actually a present
  3. so evidently dull that my arguing that point in this space is completely unnecessary

The thing is, I think I am easy to buy for. At least as easy as my husband is impossible (and I’ve still managed to get him a couple of presents, without being given hints so explicit that they are more like demands).

But my husband would disagree with anything about gift-giving for a lady friend being called “easy.” Like many men, he just wants to outsource: be told what his loved one wants already and have the URL delivered directly to his inbox.

And so, while a “Santa whisperer” feels quite mercenary to me, our household has engaged one’s services this holiday season. This was allegedly done without my knowledge, although said Santa Whisperer has kept me quite well apprised of all developments. As any good friend would. Just tell me what you want, she said.

So I told her what I thought I wanted– a bracelet that I have been hinting about to my husband since at least 2010 without success. But when my Santa Whisperer then sent me the link, it cost more than I thought and I didn’t want it anymore.

Which led to this morning’s exchange in our kitchen:

ME: I don’t want what I thought I wanted.

HIM: Huh?

ME: For Christmas. It costs more than I thought.  Never mind.

HIM: Okay.

ME: … But I do know something else I kind of want.

HIM: What is it?

ME: … Should I tell you? Or should I tell your helper?

HIM: You know about the helper?

ME: Uh, yes.


HIM: Tell the helper.

Here’s what I’m going to tell the helper, my Santa Whisperer: Just get me something. It needs to be not expensive and totally something I would love. Surprise me!

Good luck with that, Santa Whisperer!

Do you have a Santa Whisperer in your house? Is it totally obnoxious, or the only way to get what you want, or both? 

By the way, if you have a drawer full of unused gift cards– or are about to get a few for Christmas- the Cancer Card XChange, started by fellow blogger Emily Tickle Thomas, collects and distributes them to people currently undergoing cancer treatments, either to help pay the bills or just to brighten their days. Pass it on!

on rushing and gratitude

Today a very wholehearted friend of mine posted this on Facebook and made my head explode:   Remember, if you are criticizing, you are not being grateful. If you are blaming, you are not being grateful. If you are complaining, you are not being grateful. If you are feeling tension, you are not being grateful. […]

continue reading…

Do your kids make their own beds?

Our children’s school principal always takes advantage of our monthly PA meetings to offer those gathered some parenting wisdom. This might be obnoxious if it wasn’t always such good advice, and usually easy to adopt. (I should be reading my children The Complete Works of Beatrix Potter? Done.) But then there was last week. “This morning […]

continue reading…

How old is too old to trick-or-treat?

Is there a mandatory retirement age for trick-or-treating? Is there a maximum allowable height beyond which you stay home and open the door? I ask because my son Connor is in 6th grade, taller than both grandmothers, and is more gung-ho about this year’s trick-or-treating plans than ever. At least about the collecting candy part. The costume choice has […]

continue reading…

Bake It Happen 2014- raising funds and awareness for breast cancer research!

It’s October, which is important for two reasons: it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s the season to eat as many pumpkin-flavored things as possible. Since these are two admirable endeavors, I’m combining them into one delicious awareness- and money-raising endeavor by participating in Bake It Happen again this year. Bake it Happen was started by […]

continue reading…

how to make off-to-school mornings a little easier (for Mom)

This blog has never been heavy on the how-tos. I like to think of it more as a how-not-to guide, a cautionary tale against sweating the small stuff. But our school mornings have gotten a lot easier this fall, and the fix was so simple– so very much easier than all the haranguing from me […]

continue reading…

remembering Ben Wheeler on his 8th birthday

Below, I’m reposting something I wrote a year ago today. September 12, 2014 is what should have been Ben Wheeler‘s birthday. His life was cut short by the tragic events in Newtown, CT, two years ago this December. Benny’s parents are old friends of mine, and they amaze me day after day with their strength. […]

continue reading…

when summer is STILL not over

My kids are still not back to school. Based on my Facebook feed, and on the six responses I got when I inquired about this the last time, yup. It’s just us. This became eerily apparent yesterday afternoon, when I dragged my three squabblers to the beach on what turned to be one of the hottest […]

continue reading…

remember to write!

Last Sunday morning I put my 11-year-old son and five other boys he had never met into a van driven by another stranger for a six-hour road trip to Camp Sleepaway, on the shores of Lake Wait-Did-I-Agree-To-This? Camp Sleepaway has a strict no-electronics policy, so I told Connor he and his compatriots would just have […]

continue reading…

being the mother means you get to look first (like it or not)

I saw it happen, out of the corner of my eye, and I still didn’t know anything had happened. That’s how minor of a slip-and-fall it was. Or seemed. My 9 and 11-year-old boys were playing some tennis. They were out of balls, and had to pick them up. It had rained the night before […]

continue reading…

just because they say it doesn’t mean you have to listen

Sometimes I feel like my most important job as a mother will have been teaching my kids that just because your brother says “no, you didn’t” and you say “yes, I did” and he says “no, you didn’t” again, YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO RESPOND. This is a tough lesson- apparently- because it is what pretty […]

continue reading…

finding new roads with Chevy and Listen to Your Mother

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chevrolet’s sponsorship of Listen to Your Mother Show, but opinions are my own. It’s a wrap for 2014’s Listen to Your Mother: NYC! Let me count the ways I have “found new roads” with Listen To Your Mother: new friends, new collaborators, new priorities for my […]

continue reading…

Listen To Your Mother: you’ll be hearing her voice in 32 cities before Mother’s Day

I’m having trouble sleeping for the butterflies in my stomach, so it must be late April! And why yes, it is: the Listen to Your Mother NYC countdown has begun. Listen to Your Mother  started with 12 women and a microphone in Madison, Wisconsin in 2010. Since then, the brainchild of “stay-at-home humorist” Ann Imig has […]

continue reading…

when I grow up…

A friend of mine was crowd-sourcing on Facebook recently. “For a story I’m working on,” she wrote, “please ask your daughters: What do they want to be when they grow up?” The comments came in so fast you could practically see the churn: Astrophysicist! Veterinarian! Pearl diver! I couldn’t wait to join the fun. My six-year-old daughter […]

continue reading…