(Sharon Nesbit wrote this column in 2010.)
We went to No. 2 Kid's house for our annual holiday Dungeness crab feed — and to enjoy the trappings of their Christmas.
Hubs always makes a point of circling their plastic tree and saying, "Oh, and doesn't it smell good."
Their tree is pretty subdued this year, now that they have two climbing cats. One of those cats has a Santa outfit. Swathed in that, he slinks beneath the plastic tree to hide his shame.
But plastic fir or no, sentiment prevails. Willow displays every Santa picture ever taken with Tiger. Only now that he is tall and ungainly, do we realize that once he was small and had elfin ears.
And Scooter. Scooter was blonde and blue-eyed and flat adorable. Now he has a full beard and the kindest thing anyone can say about him is that he looks Amish.
I only have one family member with more hair, and that is my grand-dog, Luna.
No. 2 Kid, still a sucker for the classic photo with Santa, decided this year to take Luna to the local humane society to pose with Santa. Luna even donned the little Santa hat between her perky ears and grinned for the photo. Luna is a ham.
The plan was that Scooter, now 16, was to pose in the Santa photo too. But when he got there, he chickened out.
His mother, however, has well-honed technical skills and simply photoshopped my bearded Amish grandson into the Santa picture, right alongside his jingle-hatted dog.
Don't mess with Mom, you doofus.
This week, too, I got a series of Santa photos with my new niece, Taylor, 9 months old. You had to have the series in sequence to appreciate it.
There was Taylor, oblivious, having just been positioned on the red velvet knee. Taylor, curious, turning to see whose knee she was on. And Taylor, screaming, at the realization that she had been handed off to a fat man with a beard.
And then there is Ayla, 3, who was primed to do the Santa thing. She was rehearsed to ask for a tiger and to say she'd been good. Likely, she was too well primed. Perhaps it was stage fright. Who knows, but when the moment came for her to speak her lines on the left knee of St. Nicholas, her oblivious baby sister June on the right knee, Ayla lost it.
This is a funny season. In the spirit of a little kid who was born with nothing, we warn our children about being good for Santa or they will get nothing. We tell them he's going to sneak down the chimney in the middle of the night when ordinarily such an invader would be met at gunpoint. And then we clap them on the big guy's lap for what amounts to Kid Judgment Day, and expect them to smile.
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