Yes, Chelsea. There is a Santa Claus.

 In Seriously?

Ah, Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year. Or is it? Sadly, the demands of the holiday season can sap out the joy in all of us. And nothing saps it faster than Christmas shopping.

Now that my kids are older and the internet is at my finger tips, the quality of my Christmas season has improved.  But I well remember the days of ‘yore when Santa ruined my life.

It all started when my oldest was at the tender age of four. Four is really the perfect age for Christmas, don’t you think? Things are new and everything is exciting. They don’t ride the school bus yet, so no snot nosed fifth grader is around to tell them Santa isn’t real. It’s a time of magic! A time of believing in miracles!

And a time of  living vicariously through our children! I keenly remember my own bitter disappointment when Santa did not bring me a Barbie Camper and I would save my child from this tragedy. I scoured flyers for one for my child so she could have the happiness I was denied. But I didn’t stop at the camper. Oh, no, I got the townhouse, the airplane, the beauty salon. Contrary to the belief that you can’t buy friends, I bought Barbie six of them.

Then, my educational side kicked in. Like a conscientious parent, I researched all these brainy sites and purchased wooden puzzles and other games designed to help your child reach their maximum intellectual potential. Weird little wooden things that I couldn’t even figure out.

And then, there were the clothes. Ah, yes! We had to have the cute little red wool coat with the matching muff. (She would later use this muff to hide the carrots from our family Christmas dinner). And the frilly dresses, one of which she threw up on after too many cookies.

Anyway, the point is: I was set. I was all ready. Everything wrapped and hidden in my closet. The cookies were baked and decorated, the tree was trimmed, the cards were in the mail.

And then, I took her to visit Santa. Many children are scared of the red clad guy, but my Chelsea was pretty much born with an attitude, so she marched up and informed the man of her deepest desire. This is the touching point where she will tell him she wants a Barbie Camper, I thought and a warmth grew within me. But wait. I guess it was me who wanted the Barbie Camper. Such confusion can happen at Christmas time.

“I want a blue crystal princess,” she announced. She proceeded to tell him where they were available (Kmart) just in case his elves didn’t have enough time to whip her up one.

My smile frozen on my face, I encouraged her to expand her list.

“Tell Santa about the camper,” I said.

“What camper?”

“The one I showed you in the flyer?”

“The one that was pictured beside the blue crystal princess?”

Ok, ok, I thought. Not a big problem. I just had to find a blue crystal princess and all would be well.

Easier said than done, I soon found out. Now, I realize most of you are not familiar with the crystal princess line that came out in 1994 and hasn’t been seen since. They were little princess dolls that were about 4 inches tall. They cost $4.99. They had different colored hair, hair that matched their dress color. Like blue. They came imprisoned in a clear plastic dome so they look a little like a snow globe. They have creepy eyes.

There were no shortages of crystal princesses that season. But the blue ones?

Not at Kmart, not at Walmart, not at Toys R Us, not anywhere! I grew panicked as time closed in.

“You know, Chelsea, blue crystal princesses are very rare. What about a pink one?”

“No, I like blue.”

“But what if I can’t find blue?”

She looked at me as if I was stupid. “Santa is bringing it.”

Frickin Santa.

“Right, but what if Santa’s elves are out of blue?”

And with the confidence born of Christmas television specials she assured me that Santa would not let her down. It was the only thing she had asked for and she had been very good. There was no reason to believe that Santa would fail her. Life’s disappointments, life’s injustices had not touched her tender heart yet!  And, by God, I would see that they didn’t! I would find that toy if it killed me.

I expanded the search, my obsession growing to epic proportions. Fear not, mothers! I finally found one in Syracuse. Some little girl was standing by the display admiring the collection when I snatched a blue one practically out of her hands and held it to my breast as though it were my first born. I sprinted to the checkout. After my extensive travels to secure one, I estimate the $4.99 toy cost me about $44.00.

And so, Christmas was saved!

For the most part. By Christmas morning, she had forgotten her one true desire. I waited for her to open it and watched to see her eyes light up with this Christmas miracle, but she was distracted by the nerf gun a relative gave her. While I frantically tried to release Crystal Princess, Barbie and her friends from the oppressive bondage of their packaging, she shot foam darts at unsuspecting grandparents.

Whatever happened to that little blue crystal princess? I can’t recall. The last I saw of her, she was driving the Barbie camper as it careened down the stairs in a tragic auto accident. These things happen….

She was too little to drive, after all.


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