Posts Tagged ‘ Santa Claus ’

The “Weight” Santa Carries…and How We Throw it Around

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” He talks about the highs and unsettling lows of parenthood while always being entertaining and engaging in the process. Author of the dark comedy fiction novel “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt,” Joe is working on releasing a parenting humor book. He currently lives in New Jersey and can be emailed at or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.

* If you’re under the age of 14 or extremely gullible, do not read this blog.

I remember when I unintentionally discovered the truth about Santa. Everyone (who celebrates Christmas) remembers the moment. For me, I was about 10, waiting with my sister in a salon while our mother got her hair done. It was early December, and snowflakes began dancing out under the streetlights.

“I can’t wait for Santa to come,” I said, with a broad smile, staring into the night sky.

Then, with the sensitivity of Andrew Dice Clay, my older sister, Nicole barked, “There’s no Santa Claus, stupid.” If you’re one of those people who likes to know what word or syllable was emphasized so they can imagine it being said, know that full, emphatic emphasis was placed on the word STUPID. And that’s exactly how I felt. I mean, how could I not know? How could I be taken for a fool for 10 whole years? Does everyone else know about this? And more importantly, by what supernatural force have gifts magically been appearing in my living room?! I had plenty of questions, of course. And few answers. But looking back, it’s clear to me why I was so easily fooled—I assumed my parents were honest, trustworthy people. But it turned out they were big, fat, deceptive liars. Like serial killer-level liars.

As an adult with my own children now, it’s a much different story, of course. For one, I completely and utterly embrace the art of deception regarding Christmas. In fact, my wife and I use the power of Santa to our advantage with our kids on a daily basis, starting around July. And we’re not alone. From what I’ve heard from friends and readers, parents have gone to great lengths to preserve the “Santa is real” concept with their poor, out-witted offspring. Some use it as a behavioral tactic.

One friend of mine told his kids that the leak in their bathroom was caused days earlier…by Rudolph stomping on the roof too hard on Christmas Eve. The same friend took crumbled pieces of his own driveway and “had an elf deliver them” to his misbehaving son’s bed two weeks before Christmas as a warning to “straighten up or get more of the same.” He bought it. It wasn’t made clear to me if the driveway was ever repaired.

But some parents maintain the magic for as long as possible in order to keep their children innocent. One friend, Jim, hand-wrote a note from Santa and even went as far as scenting it with peppermint oil so it would smell like a candy cane. His daughter bought it. Another friend, Vanessa, covered the bottom of a boot in flour and made “snowy footprints” around the tree. Her son was too young (and naïve) to even notice the “snow” wasn’t cold…or even dry. I’m telling you, kids will pretty much believe anything.

Some not only preserve the image of Santa, but get double-use out of it by creating a solution to a problem. Another friend, Lynn, was having trouble getting her son off the bottle. What Lynn did was wrap the bottles like presents and told her son that, “Santa was going to pick these up for a baby who needs them and will leave you a gift to replace them.” To this day, that is the most ingenious and practical use of the Santa name I’ve ever heard.

Those of us who celebrate Christmas have used the Santa name to invoke joy, excitement, fear, and downright panic. When I was a child, I was perplexed that “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” included the lyrics, “He knows when you are sleeping; he knows when you’re awake” and “You better not pout.” But now, as an adult, I completely get it. The holiday classic was written by an adult who constructed the song lyrically to scare children into listening to their parents, being quiet, and not crying. Couple that with strongly worded threats to take a toy off their Christmas list if they don’t eat their carrots and you’ve got yourself a behavioral plan for your children. The only real downside of this is, aside from trying to maintain order in the spring and summer, Santa gets all the credit for your hard work and you barely get eye contact on Christmas morning. It’s the sacrifice we make, I suppose. But I don’t have to be happy about it. I need the credit, man.

It’s pretty easy and sort of fun for my wife and I right now. Our kids are both under the age of five and (generally speaking) blindly accept the idea that Santa is real, and gleefully anticipate his imminent arrival. But in a couple years, we face a dilemma. How do I explain to my (then much wiser) 7-year-old why there are “Santas” on every street corner with cheaply made fake beards, wreaking of Jameson and shame? He’s already started with his minor suspicions, asking how Santa could possibly fit down the chimney, being as portly as he is. And he’s only four! I can only imagine the level of paranoia that will set in by the time he’s reached Kindergarten.

When I finally learned the truth about Santa as a kid, cruelly from my sister at age 10, I slumped down into a chair and started feeling sorry for myself. Later that night, I was approached by my father, who’d heard about my revelation.

“Son, I know what your sister told you. I’m sorry you had to find out that way. Are you sad?” my father asked, sensitively.

“Well, yes. But at least I still have the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy to look forward to,” I glumly replied.

“Yeah…about that…”

What kind of reputation does Santa have in your house? Ever gotten caught in the act trying to “keep it real?” I want to hear about it! Add a comment below and join the conversation! Follow me on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.

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Tabletop Tree
Tabletop Tree
Tabletop Tree

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The Most Common Lies I Tell My Kids

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” He talks about the highs and unsettling lows of parenthood while always being entertaining and engaging in the process. Author of the dark comedy fiction novel “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt” Joe is working on releasing a parenting humor book. He currently lives in New Jersey and can be emailed at or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.

I lie to my children. Pretty much daily. You probably do, too. It’s not that we do it maliciously. We don’t wake up every morning thinking, “Today, I will lie through my teeth to my children.” But we do it anyway. It just happens. In fact, we lie to everyone, most of the time with good intentions. For instance, just this morning a co-worker asked what I did for Thanksgiving and I answered, “Just sat home.” That’s totally not true. Hell, I wasn’t even in my home state. I just didn’t feel like explaining it. Technically, I lied. But frankly, this is nothing compared to the blatant mistruths I spew at my sons.

I’m going to venture a guess that most of you have said these at some point. But here’s a list of common phrases I tell my kids that stretch the truth a bit, or a lot.

I’m not gonna tell you again.

I say this regularly. And immediately regret it. Because I most certainly, absolutely, no-doubt-about-it am going to tell him again. Pretty much immediately after I tell him I won’t. In fact, I say it about 16 more times, on average.

I will totally stop this car and leave you on the side of the road.

I mean, that would just be crazy, and definitely illegal. Just to keep them guessing, though, I start slowing down and look towards the shoulder, so they think I’m serious. But the fact that I’d never be evil enough to actually do it makes this a lie.

I’m in charge here.

I wipe their butts, change their diapers, feed them appetizing meals according to their personal taste preferences like they’re czars….and I’m in charge?

I don’t care if you cry; you’re not getting it.

Crying always changes things. Even if we try to resist. Try, just try, not to bend a little bit when a child cries for something. I have a son with a soy allergy. I refused to give him a cookie because of it. Then the waterworks started and before you could say “chocolate chip,” he had a mouthful of soy.

I’ll give you to the count of 3 to sit in that chair.

Okay, let’s get something straight. Counting to 3 by saying “1….2………2 1/6….2 1/3…..I’m serious here….I will totally say it…..okay, here it comes…..3!” This is not counting to 3. This is counting to 15, taking the scenic route.

Santa is watching.

If Santa is watching, and can hear and see everything we’re doing, why do we need to send him a list of things we want him to bring us? Is he just not paying attention? Is he hard of hearing? This is a clear plot-hole. And sometimes I tell them, “I’m going to tell Santa and make sure he takes a toy off your list!” Is he watching or do I need to inform him of things? I need to get this one straight.

I’m never letting you _______ again.

Talking in absolutes with children is never a good idea (see what I did there?). Saying you’re never going to let them play with a specific friend of theirs or take them to a certain restaurant because he acted like a complete goon there last time you went is incredibly unrealistic. And it makes you look like a tool when, inevitably, you go back on your word. So I’ve started to say things like, “That’s it. We’re never eating ice cream in the winter on a Tuesday again!” Narrows the scope and makes lying about 70% less likely.

You probably didn’t realize you were such a liar. Trust me, I didn’t either until I compiled this list. But don’t worry, the real silver lining here is that the vast majority of these lies are told to our children before their long-term memory is fully formed. So the only ones who will remember the lies will be us! And I can live with the guilt if you can.

I’m sure there are more to add to this list. So share some of yours! Add a comment below with your standby phrases that end up being lies! And follow me on Twitter for more conversation @JoeDeProspero and to let me know a topic you’d like written about in a future blog. Tweet me with the hashtag #blogtopic. And, as always, feel free to share this blog with a friend who you think would enjoy it!

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For more laughs, check out these hilarious (and true) parenting quotes. Then, take our quiz and find out what your parenting style is.

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Milestone Monday: Christmas 2011

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Author’s Note: Join me every Monday as I share Fia’s ongoing milestone (mis)adventures–from potty training to talking to everything in between.  Mayhem and mischief guaranteed on Milestone Monday!

Christmas Morning

Christmas is funny with a tot. On the one hand, the holiday has so much more meaning to me since I get to see it through her eyes. On that same note though, because I’m seeing it through her eyes, I understand why no parent should waste their time making too big of a production.

I knew she wouldn’t totally “get” that she wakes up on this day and has presents from a red old fat guy. However, for my sake, we still wanted to create a holiday as if she understood.

Christmas Eve Phil and I were up late, assembling the trampoline and the easel for her. We put all the gifts under the tree. We drank Eggnog (well, I did. Phil drank Chimay). We listened to Christmas tunes. I loved it. (Granted, growing up, my family Christmases were highly dysfunctional, so the opportunity to do it right is kind of a cool milestone for me personally.)

The Night Before Xmas....

On Christmas morning, she came downstairs with us, saw the toys and the gifts, and made a beeline to the television.  ”Sesame Street,” she said, pointing. Bah humbug. We both cracked up. We had it coming. We managed to distract her long enough to get her to jump on the trampoline then open some of the gifts, but it was the end of the day before all were opened. I’m glad I didn’t put gobs of time into it. Seems like you would just be setting yourself up for disappointment.

But still, I consider it a perfect day. We all took a 2-hour nap. Heaven. Then a 2-hour hike, followed by a delicious dinner.  You don’t get many days in life like this. I’ll take it.

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