I mean, yeah. They're magical and all, but you never get to see the dark side of parenthood unless you're watching one of those movies where a bodybuilder on steroids has to go undercover as a babysitter and ends up with a diaper on his head.
So I present to you a comparison of the holiday lies told to us by movies and toymakers vs. the reality of life with two children.
lie: The family sits down to a candlelit dinner, and the little one lisps, "God bleth uth, every one!"
truth: The family sits down to an oatmeal-crusted table, and mom is sitting on a stool because one of the chairs is broken, and the baby knocks over someone's milk, and the older child says, "My bottom itches."
lie: The child makes a Christmas list in adorable handwriting with backwards S's, and then she smiles cherubically in a velvet dress when you visit the mall Santa for pictures. When she opens her gifts on Christmas morning, she says, "This is exactly what I wanted!"
truth: Your child becomes like an addict who sees signs for crack everywhere. At the grocery store, in the mail, driving down the road, all you will hear about are the toys that she will die without. She insists on wearing a bathing suit, last year's corduroy skort, cowboy boots, and bug antennae for her photo with Santa, during which she will either cry or try to tug his beard off while muttering that he smells like fish sticks. When she opens her last gift on Christmas morning, she will say, "Can I have more?"
lie: When your family has a big Sunday breakfast, there will be stimulating conversation while everyone enjoys their delicious repast. Mom and Dad will read the paper while the little tykes giggle over the comics and gasp over the holiday toys advertisements.
truth: Crayons will be thrown. Everyone will be covered in an odd combination of syrup and grits. The waitress will somehow manage to give the adults decaf coffee and the kids extra sugary juice. There will never be enough pancakes, but there will inevitably be an abundance of hash browns, which are really fun to throw. When dad sees the bill, he will try to explain that breakfast costs as much as three new Transformers. The child will then say, "I wish you were a waiter so I could have three new Transformers."
lie: Mom and the kids will string up popcorn and cranberries to make garlands. They will poke oranges with cloves and simmer cinnamon sticks on the stove, making the house smell delicious. Together, they will lovingly unwrap the family's heirloom ornaments and fondly recall days gone by as they decorate the beautiful live tree that they cut down at an organic Christmas tree farm.
truth: The children will cry when told they can't have a fake white tree covered in Elmo and Dora ornaments. The family will wait too long and end up buying a scraggly Scotch pine that leans at a 75 degree angle and must be wired to the ceiling. Half of the ornaments from last year will inexplicably be broken, and since the lights no longer work, they'll use the orange ones from Halloween. Last year's pomanders and cookie dough ornaments will be covered in maggot husks, and moths have chewed up the stockings. They will settle for draping 1/4 of the tree in whatever they can untangle, and the decorations will start at waist level to keep the baby from eating lead-based paint.
The True Meaning of Christmas
lie: Christmas will be ever better than it was when you were a kid.
truth: CHRISTMAS WILL BE EVER BETTER THAN IT WAS WHEN YOU WERE A KID.
Once you have kids, you will actually enjoy listening to Christmas carols. You'll smile when your child spots the mall Santa or sees an old man with a white beard walking around Kroger. You'll spend two months watching sales and buying things that you know will make your kid totally happy. Picking out a tree and decorating it and watching your kid's face the first morning they wake up to lights will be the most exciting thing ever. You'll giggle when making cookies for Santa, and you'll love eating said cookies and leaving a thank you note.
In short, it will be the best Christmas since that time you got two Ewoks and a Nintendo.
No matter what anyone tells you, I'm telling you now. Reinvigorating holidays is one of the best bonuses of having kids. Even the Scrooges among us are rendered jolly.
That "magic of the holidays" they're always talking about? Totally real.