Black and white cookies were the only acceptable cookies to be left for Santa Claus this year, if for no other reason than a not so subliminal hint that Lucas was hoping beyond hope that St. Nicholas might grant his one and only Christmas wish: Equality for one and all. Well, nearly. The Skylander Light and Dark Elemental Adventure Packs.
This holiday season I had a twenty minute conversation with a stranger in Toys R’ Nightmare making puns out of words like “Chaos.” “No,” I heard myself tell another frazzled mother, “you need a crystal trap, one for each element, you know, like, Earth, Wind, Fire. That’s how you trap the villains and get them to fight for your team. Plus, a Kaos trap, which you can buy exactly nowhere unless you want to spend upwards of seventy dollars on ebay. It’s ‘Kaos’ alright. And I just said that aloud didn’t I?” She thanked me for explaining Skylanders Trap Team to her, despite my pun. Her son, in Kindergarten, had been capturing his evil friends and trying to convert them into _____ (fun to fill in the blank here, depending on where you live). Jesus lovers. Jews. Ice Cream. In this case, Skylanders. Now, it made sense to her.
It was Hanukkah. We had no yarmulke in our home, but my husband Phil explained to our second grade twins that the boys wore something on their heads to be more connected with God. In lieu of yarmulke, Phil and Lucas wore oven mitts on their heads. No ordinary oven mitts, mind you. These were well-seasoned, time-worn, perhaps the ugliest of all oven mitts we own. Phil flopped a mitt onto Lucas’s keppe as we all recited the prayers over the candles. Lucas and Abigail opened their Hannukkah gifts, one of which was a Tzedakah box (Every small coin given to charity combines with the rest to form a large sum). Then, Lucas sat down and drafted a letter to Santa. No confusion in this house. No, sir.
“The Light Quest Expansion Pack will be sold in limited quantities at Toys ‘R’ Us stores on December 21. Expansion Quest Packs for both elements will be sold at all major retailers beginning December 22.”
“In limited quantities” is fightin’ words where I come from. This is famine mentality. This is what keeps me fat, for the love of bacon. Panic. I must have this now. And of course, these words work. It’s excellent marketing, Activision. The stores have SOLD OUT. Now, let us fast forward to Christmas morning.
All the presents have been opened, wrapping paper stuffed into black oversized garbage bags. More or less, the kids are grateful for all they’ve received. Except for Kind Sir, whom we can tell is trying hard to conceal his disappointment. Santa didn’t bring him the only thing he asked for. I asked that he sit on my lap and snuggle up with me, as he and Abigail watch Miracle on 34th Street with me on the sofa. He does so reluctantly. Abigail pulls the covers up over us. As we settle in to watch, Abigail sets her gaze just past the television screen toward the corner of the room. Her arm shoots out from the blankets, the way a pointer’s tail might dart straight through the air. No words escape as her mouth falls open. She points, shaking her arm. “What? What?” I say.
“Look,” she finally manages.
There is a burlap sack, stamped “Property of the North Pole,” tied with jingling bells, stashed near the sliding door, a bag Santa must’ve forgotten to unload. “I just knew it!” Lucas explodes. “I knew he wouldn’t forget me. I knew it. I just knew it!” He knows before he opens the sack that within lies the secret to his bliss, a world of Light and Dark.