Growing up, when I asked my parents what they wanted for Christmas, they always made a (sad) joke out of it. They knew my brothers and I didn’t have any money, so they didn’t bother asking for anything real, like a new car, or a box of Cuban cigars, or a new furniture set.
Instead, they used Santa the way someone might use a genie: by asking my brothers and me for things that were abstract, theoretical, and totally unattainable. Just to make a point. They’d make requests like, “for you and your brothers to get along” or “a little peace and quiet” or “for you to behave.” Just totally insane shit that would never happen in a million years.
Now that I’m a dad, nobody ever asks me what I want. But if they did? I’d reply exactly the same way as my mom and dad. Because I was wrong; they weren’t joking.
The intangible, imaginary stuff really is what parents want for Christmas.
Mom and Buried is obsessed with Christmas.
Every December, she puts together a long list of holiday-based activities that we absolutely have to make time for, including visiting specific landmarks (the tree in Rock Center), attending specific events (Santa – at the busiest Macy’s in the world) and watching every single Christmas movie and TV special (even the grade-Z stuff on Hallmark and Lifetime).
The most important activity of all? Listening to Christmas music.
Lat night, I took my kid to see Marvel Universe LIVE!, an arena-based stunt show featuring what seemed to be every single major, minor and tertiary character from Marvel Comics history. Let’s just say it was a little overstuffed.
At least the second act was (there’s a twenty-minute intermission while they rework the sets), which was all I really saw. I spent almost the entire first act in line at the concession stand waiting for twenty dollars worth of hot dogs (i.e., 3 hot dogs). By the time I got back inside to the show, Loki had already made off with the cosmic cube (or something) and the bevy of costumed stuntmen were moving around and/or standing in place while pre-recorded dialogue was played over the loudspeakers.
(For some reason Spider-man was really into social media (read: annoying) and constantly said stuff like, “SELFIE!” and “I gotta tweet about this!”)
Needless to say my son loved it, and was desperate for a souvenir with which to mark the momentous occasion that he won’t give a shit about in less than two weeks.
Here’s how I avoided buying him one.