Legos and an ironing board equal Christmas joy

Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, and the holiday season in general, but it definitely gets less exciting as you get older.

My son, Silas, is 6 years old and is deep into the depths of anticipation. Silas could tell you at any moment exactly how many days remain until Christmas. He has an advent calendar and spends his day repeatedly counting the number of remaining unopened boxes on it.

I took Silas to see Santa in Ashland the other weekend. I really appreciate that Santa takes time out of his busy schedule to come to Ashland on Saturdays. If I had to drive to Medford to visit him, Silas would probably join the legions of children who write letters to Santa, rather than getting to see him in person.

The only complaint I have about Santa coming to Ashland, is that there was no line. Not a single person was ahead of us waiting to see the jolly man. This meant that I got stuck filling out some clipboard form while Silas told his deepest desires to a man who only visits us once a year. This forced me to ask Santa what Silas had requested, you know, just to make sure we didn't both bring him the same thing.

Of course, Silas wants Legos. He doesn't care that he already has enough Legos that we could construct ourselves a life-sized home out of them, furnish it, and move right in. Not a well-insulated home, but at least it would keep the rain out.

Somehow, no matter how many Legos Silas has, there are always sets he doesn't have yet. Yup, those Lego manufacturers, they've got me right where they want me.

Silas also has fallen victim to that demon force, television advertisements. He wants, of all things, a "Pillow Pet." If you don't know what this is, give yourself a big pat on the back for managing to avoid watching any television this year. I, on the other hand, can sing the entire "Pillow Pet" advertising jingle.

I can't blame Silas for wanting something that he's only heard about on TV, since I have fallen victim to the same force. I want a "Mr. Steamy," which is a big, hard steaming ball that you put into your dryer and it makes your clothes come out looking pressed and fresh. It must be true; I've seen it happen on TV! I see no reason why those smiling people holding up a wrinkle-free pair of slacks would lie to me.

So for Christmas, Silas is looking forward to toys and "pets" and Santa, while I asked my parents for an ironing board. Christmas definitely gets less exciting as you get older. My parents asked me to take them out to dinner, not just once, but repeatedly throughout the year. I hate to spoil the surprise Mom and Dad, but you are getting this for sure!

I owe my parents at least a monthly dinner out since I have managed to avoid grocery shopping for more than a year through their generosity. Every night Silas and I show up at their house to eat. Silas loves to see his grandparents, I love to have adults to talk to, and my parents, thankfully, love us. But if they ever go on vacation I'll probably starve.

As I get older I realize the fun and excitement over Christmas, and opening presents, is something you can experience through another person. Dec. 25 would be a pretty regular day if it was just me and an ironing board telling my parents we'd be going out to eat more in the coming year.

Instead we get to sit around with our cups of coffee watching Silas opening up boxes of everything he's ever wanted. Now imagine if all of us could get that wrapped and under a tree.

Zoe Abel is watching the pile of clothes that need to be ironed grow and multiply like a family of rabbits. She is counting down the laundry loads until Christmas and humming the "Pillow Pet" jingle instead of Christmas carols.

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