Gift cards for the kids are both a blessing and a curse.
The blessing: Holiday shopping is a breeze. Wrapping paper is conserved. They take up very little room under the tree.
.The curse: They have to be redeemed.
Translation: Mom gets to stand around in crowded stores waiting for the little darlings to spend them right down to the penny. Tax excluded. Mom also gets to pay the sales tax.
If a tired Mom insists on (a little post-holiday peace and quiet, dammit) delaying the shopping until the crowds die down? Penalty box. The whining and wheedling and pestering and shrieking tirades follow. This is the thanks we get for lobbying the relatives into gift card synergy.
It has been said that the tradition of Santa Clause began with Sinterklaas who would leave candy for the good children and scoop all the bad children into his bag and whisk them away to Spain.
I'm starting a petition. I figure with enough signatures, the jolly elf will morph back into his 7th century self so that bedraggled parents can enjoy a quiet, conflict free 2009. I'd have a lot of new kitchen gadgets from Tarjay and my kids would get a free trip to Europe. Not sure if that would be round trip.