Wanted: Post-Christmas sleigh and reindeer

Sherri Gardner HowellBlount, Farragut, Kitchen Table Talk

I am having a little trouble with Christmas Magic.


Actually, the problem is keeping the Christmas Magic I promote and try to create from my grandchildren (and anyone else who comes around during Christmas!) believable. It’s just not easy these days.

My definition of Christmas Magic for little ones is  wrapped up in the mystique of Santa Claus. He builds toys, gets toys from stores, has elves, eats tons of cookies, drinks gallons of milk and visits every good boy and girl in the world on Christmas Eve with wonderful gifts. They magically come all put-together, waiting for a little boy or girl to play with them Christmas morning. And you never see him come or go!

Christmas Magic.

He does this – and remains a magical creature – because he loves Jesus and honors the gifts that God give us, the most important one being his son.

My dilemma this year had nothing to do with pre-Christmas or Christmas Day Magic. The issues have arrived with the new year.

Here’s the problem: We were blessed this year to have our Seattle family HOME for Christmas. It’s a first time to be at Gigi and Granddaddy’s house for Christmas for 4-year-old Gardner and the first time in 10 years that our younger son has been able to be home for the holidays. We got to spend some pre-Christmas time with the Nashville family, and Gigi and Granddaddy got to go back to see what Santa had accomplished in 5-year-old King’s world after Christmas.

It was without a doubt one of the best Christmases in my Gigi life.

Which makes it all the harder to be grousing now!

At issue are the three big presents that Santa brought in off his sleigh to Gigi’s house for Gardner. He loved them. His eyes lit up when he walked into the room, and he played with them for the rest of this time here.

Did I mention “big” presents? Too big for the extra suitcases they brought for the flight back to Seattle. They were too big for carry-on and too plastic/structural to be taken apart and reassembled.

While the parents are fine with the toys being “Gigi toys” that he has when he visits, I can’t get past the Christmas Magic. It didn’t help when Gardner asked me, “What happens to my toys after Christmas? Does Santa take them back?”

I have investigated every method I can think of and have shipping/transportation prices ranging from $244 to $1,600. The entire of value of the toys, were I to rebuy them and ship from the stores, is $140.

Everyone – including probably Gardner – is fine with the toys staying here except me. My son says that Gardner has plenty of toys and has probably already forgotten about the crane, race track and tow truck. My husband says everything has a trade-off, and this is a small one for all the happiness and joy we got this Christmas.

But … Santa. Flying reindeer. Magical sleighs. Christmas Magic!

Will I come to my senses? Maybe. But in the back of my Gigi mind, I’m thinking: Load up. It’s a Road Trip.

Sherri Gardner Howell has been writing about family life for newspapers and magazines since 1987. She lives in West Knoxville, is married to Neville Howell and has two sons and three grandsons.

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