The Bandera Courier
Bandera Courier
Thursday December 14, 2017
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2017-12-07

Christmas Past

Mikie Baker

’The Dancing Dog Ranch is now officially “Christmas Ready” – the lights are up, the tree is decorated and the presents are all wrapped, so we are accepting visitors. Especially those with gifts. Now let’s talk about how I’ve managed to get everything done so early in the season.
Simple. I have become a pre-programmed robot who goes into automatic pilot on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If I didn’t buy it online Friday, I grabbed it on Monday. Never even left my house. When I got all my deliveries, I held a nonstop wrap-a-thon to finish up Christmas magic. Even I am amazed.
So, last night as I pondered this column by the glow of the Christmas tree lights, I thought back on Christmas’ past and remembered how the season of giving was not always so easy. It was hard work. You had to be a power shopper to pull it off. I remember finally swearing off the mall at Christmas time in my mid 30’s and I’m proud to say I’ve managed to whip that addiction. No mall has seen my happy smile in years.
Being single and shopping for Christmas was a breeze. We all bought a lot less then we got. Once “coupled”, our gift giving life was fairly easy and mall-driven. I wanted my man dressed in Polo shirts and wearing Polo cologne, too. But then all hell broke loose.
Small children arrived and retailers cursed us with the “hot toy” of the season. Ok. Just sit down. Take a deep breath. I know you remember the one, evil, elusive; expensive must-have toy that just about drove you insane. Walmart at 4 am? Fighting off an overly aggressive mother of five? Being the one who showed up just after they had sold the last one?
My old nemesis was Tickle Me Elmo. That laughing little red monster was more elusive than a rich rancher with a shiny new bush hog. I hit toy stores all over town. Dearly Departed Husband tried a variety of Walmart stores. No luck. I finally bought one off one of my employees for four times what she paid, but it was worth it to know that in the eyes of a 3-year-old, I was the best parent in the history of the universe.
But the story doesn’t end there. The little boy I was trying to impress was the Teenage Eating Machine when he was a mere Toddler Eating Machine. Tickle Me Elmo became his constant companion. The only thing I hated worse was Barney the purple Dinosaur. How ironic – you spend the most money on something that ends up driving you crazy.
Now, if you’re not familiar with Tickle Me Elmo, he not only laughs nonstop, but his whole body shakes. Since the TEM and Elmo were best of buds, they went everywhere together including nap time when I’d happily tuck them both in.
So one day, I climbed the stairs to TEM’s room to wake him up from his nap and noticed that the child had found a, how should I say this, new use for his vibrating Elmo, which I’m sure is still illegal in several states. Sadly, Elmo left the building rather quickly after that incident which is still a family joke to this day.
I think I’ll save the next generation from Tickle Me Elmo. If it’s a hot toy and they don’t sell it online, she’s just going to have to suffer because I’ve learned my lessons from Christmas past.