Enough Christmas a’ready. Bring on the disfunction….I don’t know about y’all, but I am Christmas’d out. I spent most of the last two weeks squinting at directions written in Elvin runes and talking with nice ladies in India (aka the Toys R Us help desk. My fave was the one who suggested I “ask a man. Sometimes they know best.” When I pointed out that a “man didn’t buy the bloody play house,” she laughed so hard her bindi probably popped off.) All this while squatting in my freezing utility room lest a wandering toddler make mean old mom be the one who breaks the news about Santa really being a middle-aged black woman with fading eyesight and poor mechanical skills. Then I got to spend the big day itself trying to remember whether it was the fuzzy bear’s right paw or left foot that made him (creepily) carry on like an infant. Was it the baby in the red onesie (with my two year old, all dolls are named “Baby”) or the baby in the pink onesie who cooed and cuddled, and, in either case, what was I supposed to push, pinch or strangle to make it happen? I ended up making a chart ’cause the good Lord knows there aint enough crap on my refrigerator door. Last Christmas, we spent most of the first half of 2005 discovering that toy trains, etc. were mechanized in some way. So I forgot. So shoot me. It’s my job to teach them about deferred gratification, right? Next year, they’ll be 5 and 3. I’m switching to cash.

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Debra Dickerson, a Washington Monthly editorial advisory board member, is the author most recently of The End of Blackness.