When people ask me what I’m getting The Beast for Christmas, I tell them the truth. I’m probably just going to give him a new paper bag from Tim Horton’s. What? It’s his favourite toy next to the paper towel roll, and the bag is getting a little tattered. He could really use a new one.
Stop shaking your head like you’re better than me. I tried, okay. I got him one of those dolls with a crinkly skirt that sounds almost exactly the same as his paper bag. Guess what? He hates it. He threw it off his exersaucer tray and angrily thumped his fists searching for his beloved bag. So I did what any good mother would do. I got the bag out of the compost bin, smoothed it out, and gave it back to him.
The truth is, The Beast has every crinkly, colourful, flashing, musical toy you can think of and he hates them all. When he’s not playing with his paper bag, he wants to play Coasters or Destroy. Coasters is simple. You lay out all the coasters on the coffee table and watch him eat them. Destroy is even easier.You put stuff on the floor and watch him destroy it. So why buy him a bunch of crap he’s not going to use? If The Beast wrote a letter to Santa, it would look something like this:
Dear Santa…it’s me…
I know how it looks. From an outsider’s prospective I may have seemed like a tiny tyrant these past six months. But surely you of all souls can understand heartburn. There’s no way you can eat that many cookies in one night without a little sour burp here and there. Throw in a few rum and cokes when you get home, and I’m sure things aren’t sitting well in your belly. Well, picture having a body the size of your left mitten and reflux the size of your bowl full jelly. Yeah. That’s been my life. So put me back on your nice list, please. I’ll know all is forgiven if I see the following things under the tree Christmas morning:
Some new coasters
A paper towel roll
A reusable shopping bag
And please, please, pretty please, with puréed cherries on top…
A new paper bag from Tim Horton’s
Besides the fact that he’s only six months old, there is another reason The Beast is only getting a paper bag for Christmas.
I was a greedy little bastard when I was a kid. I had a list the size of the Consumers catalogue, and I wanted it all. I was sneaky too. As soon as ear muff season hit, I was scouring the house looking for presents. My mom thought she was clever by wrapping everything as soon as she bought it, but unbeknownst to her, I could unwrap and re-wrap presents with MacGyver-like stealth. To me, Christmas was about getting.
I’ll never forget the year I opened a box of chocolates tagged for my dad. I ate the bottom row and wrapped it back up like nothing happened. On Christmas morning when my father roared, “Who ate my goddamn chocolates!?” I thought, Boy, is my brother going to be in trouble when I frame him for this one…That afternoon my father wrote an angry letter to the chocolate company. I thought about confessing, but instead I ate the top row of chocolates to ease my guilt. Basically, I was bad, but I looked good, so I got away with murder…kind of like Lizzie Borden.
Still though, without fail, sometime mid-afternoon on Christmas Day I would always feel sad. I’d look around at all the paper torn to shreds and think, This must be what Hulk Hogan’s wardrobe looks like. And then I’d think, There must be more... Not more stuff, but more to Christmas…
So. That’s why The Beast is getting a paper bag, you see.
What do you mean you don’t see? Do I need to spell it out for you? I want The Beast to know there’s more to Christmas than frigging presents. Now leave me alone so I can go finish my Christmas shopping.