I have some magic words to share with you.
Some of the most magic words in the history of parenting.
Three years ago, I invented these magic words one day in Target, when Kate asked in mid-October if she could have a doll.
Nope, I told her, while trying to walk, nurse Annie and push the cart. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her eyebrows crash together as she took a Big. Deep. Breath.
Why not? she asked in the way that four year olds have that makes it clear if the answer is not satisfactory, things are going to get interesting up in here.
What I tried to tell her: Because I said so, little missy and if you even consider throwing a fit at this moment I swear one day I will make you sew your own wedding dress by hand out of polyester.
But then, in a Divine Intervention on Behalf of Mothers and Daughters everywhere, what I actually said was It’s too late. We’re in the Christmas Cut-Off.
I just barely stopped myself from looking around for who was talking.
What does that mean? Kate asked.
It means any toys you buy or receive from now until Christmas will require you to give up a Christmas present.
Oh, she said. Well can I ask Santa for this doll?
Yes, I said. But once you tell Santa, you can’t change your mind. Santa doesn’t do wishy-washy.
Ok, she said and put the doll back.
Magic, I tell you. MAGIC WORDS.
Now it’s a thing in our family. This year the Christmas Cut-Off started on October 1. And will be followed in short order by Birthday Cut-off, and Easter Cut-Off.
People, do you know what this means? I have shortened the window on the number of times I have to dodge the toy section and/or send my kids to bed with no dinner because of a toy section melt-down to four short months.
Just tonight, as my girls went out the door with Teresa to brave the Thanksgiving Week sales, Annie yelled And I can get a TOY! Kate leaned over into her face and said with sweet big sister seriousness No, you can’t. We’re in the Christmas Cut-Off, remember? And Annie said Oh yeah, I forgot and ran off to get her coat.
It was after this Thanksgiving miracle right in my own living room that I realized I had to pass these words on to you. Use them in good conscience and with goodwill.
From your friends at Full of Graces, who are trying to make the Christmas season quieter, one 4 year old at a time.