by Jack Waggon
Help, I'm buried in toys! I love the Christmas season but now I've started to dread Christmas Day, because my family won't stop giving toys to my children. Every aunt, uncle, grandmother, and grandfather insists on giving each of my children three or four presents each. And not small things, either. Sprawling race tracks and boxes with hundreds of tiny Legos. I'm already up to my ears in Barbie accessories and Christmas is almost upon us once again.
They have six living grandparents, four uncles, and five aunts. If each of those gives just two presents, that plus presents from Santa, Mom, Dad, friends and cousins, usually puts the total at over 30 presents per child. Sometimes well over 30. Multiply that by three children and every Christmas my house is invaded by more than a hundred new toys!
This can't go on. I wanted to place a one-toy limit on the family but my wife is afraid we'll hurt everybody's feelings. Last Christmas we had a huge fight about it after I confronted my mother-in-law without permission, and I don't want a repeat of that. But I am sick of living this way. My house is starting to look like one of those houses on those hoarding television shows. You can't walk across the den without stepping on something.
My old man came from a huge family — 10 brothers and sisters, and my mom had a brother and sister as well, so there never was a shortage of uncles and aunts cluttering up the corners on Christmas Day. They didn't make enough toys back then for every relative to buy me something, though God knows they tried — and who could blame them? The day after Christmas was our traditional day to trade in the duplicates for enough boxes of Sears brand laundry detergent to get us through the year.
One Christmas, the old man tried to put a lid on the toy giving. All I got that year was clothes, and that was a Christmas he lived to regret, because I was at that age when I was beginning to realize how far a well-dressed man could go with the ladies. In fact, I already had my eye on the first Mrs. Waggon. Years later, as he sat weeping over the Goldsmith's bill I had run up, he dreamed of those halcyon days when all he had to worry about was stepping on Legos in the dark.
Your children will solve this problem for you by growing up. All too quickly, my friend. In a few years, your relatives won't be able to afford the kind of toys your kids want. Do you want everyone to remember you as the bastard who ruined Christmas? I suggest you shut your cake hole and polish up your hopscotch skills.
P.S. Ask the kids and their aunts and uncles to give up some of their abundance of toys to kids who don't have any. You get your house back and everybody gets a better Christmas. Hallelujah!
Got a problem? Jack will set you straight: firstname.lastname@example.org