Christmas is coming up and you know what that means….
PRESENTS!!!—say my kids.
In all seriousness, my children have no idea why we celebrate Christmas. Not that I’m all religious and stuff (clearly I’m not, otherwise my kids might have a clue about the Christ part) but how did I raise such jackanapes whose only concerns are the bazillion presents they asked Santa for (including an IPAD, an IPOD, and a horse—sorry Suri Cruise, not gonna happen).
I found a lovely Christmas book by Margaret Wise Brown at the library last week and brought it home for the children. Margaret Wise Brown, of Goodnight Moon fame, knows a thing or two about retelling a tale in a way kids can understand so I thought it would be a good introduction to the nativity story. After reading the book we talked about how Christmas is like a birthday party for Jesus and we give each other presents to celebrate his birthday and to honor him. And then I patted myself on the back for a job well done and checked “teach kids about the real meaning of Christmas” off my to-do list.
The next day the topic came up again as the four of us were eating lunch when the Professor mentioned something about church, or God, or I don’t know something religious (I wasn’t really listening) and Louisa said in a shocked manner, “Is that why you picked out that book? Cause it’s about Jesus?” “Christmas isn’t about Jesus, it’s about Santa Claus!”
I don’t know where I went wrong but it has taken a very dramatic turn for the worse because I’ve actually heard myself saying things like, “If you guys don’t start behaving, Santa’s not going to bring you any presents! I mean none!!” Which is a total freakin’ lie because everyone knows the only folks Santa doesn’t bring presents to are lonely adults and poor people. Santa’s nothing like Jesus, I’ll tell you that much.
This would be much easier if Christmas could be a little more like Thanksgiving and center itself around food. Now that I can talk about. Take these crispy little buñuelos for example. In Mexico these are a Christmas staple. You’ll see stacks of these puffy fried pastries on food carts and in vendor’s stalls ready for shoppers to scoop up for their Christmas parties or simply to snack on as they stroll.
Most of the time they are served drenched in a sweet piloncillo syrup but these I’ve loaded with crunchy sugar and toasted anise seed. They are a crumbly, delicious mess and you must make them this holiday season. They may take a bit of a commitment but they are, without question, much easier than explaining Christmas to your children.