Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Christmas aftermath!

This is a newspaper column I wrote on Christmas Day a couple years ago. I think it sums things up pretty well.

The whole house was filled with thingamajoozles.
There were plinkits and plunkets and pumpernifoozles.
A flimflangle over here, a scrimshuffle over there.
Camkuffs and nipnupps were everywhere!
Klankels and krimbles were wound ‘round my toes.
Logan had grinkles shoved way up his nose.
I tripped on a trapskat as I walked through the room,
and shook the whole house when I fell down—Kaboom!
I grabbed a big bag and started shoving it in,
grumbling “Christmas is over. Let the clean-up begin!”

Yes, things have changed a bit since I enjoyed Christmas morning as a child.
While flimflangles and trapskats sound like just the ticket for a very merry holiday in Dr. Seuss’s Whoville, in reality they are the very makings of a Yuletide nightmare.

What are they?

Any parent could tell you.

They are the coated wires and plastic gadgets and extra-strength tape and weird-shaped cardboard and styrofoam inserts that make opening any new toy darn near impossible.
On Christmas morning, armed with scissors, knives, wire cutters, blow torches and a chainsaw, Hubby and I led Logan through the tradition known as the Opening of the Gifts. He would eagerly tear the paper off the gift, screeching his trademark phrase, a joyful “Oh wow! Look at that!” and then he would hand it to me. “Mom, open this please?”

And so the battle had begun.

The first step is to figure out how to get inside the box. I don’t know what kind of cement they use to seal the cardboard flaps these days, but I do know I no longer have long, pretty fingernails. They have been ripped and chipped away in my attempts to pry the cardboard apart. Not only are the flaps glued, they’re also taped with the strongest tape known to man.
Once the box is open—usually it ends up ripped to shreds—the next job is to remove the inner box, to which the toy and its 645 accompanying pieces are affixed. This proves to be just as difficult as opening the main box. The odd-shaped cardboard of the inner box tends to expand within the outer box, and removing it results in a myriad of cardboard cuts, which are deeper, bloodier and intensely more painful than their cousin, the paper cut.
The toy is joined to the inner box with an intricate maze of rubber-coated wires, which are very difficult to remove. “Someone somewhere gets paid to put these things on,” I growled to my husband, as we each wrestled with the wires. “Yeah, and each person has their own system, so you have to spend a few minutes figuring out how to undo it,” he added. If that wasn’t enough, once you unwind the wires and get the toy separated from the box, you have to figure out how to remove the wires from the toy. They wind them around the wheels of the cars and trucks, and they poke them through the innards of other toys.
Finally, the toy is freed from its confines. But wait. Something’s not quite right.
Then you see it, glaring innocently from the bottom corner of the box, written in the smallest type possible. The three little words that can strike fear into the heart of any parent:

Some. Assembly. Required.

And so, you re-arm yourself with screwdrivers and allen wrenches, and prepare for the second battle of the Gift War: Assembly.
Don’t get me started.
Once that is done, there is the matter of those other three words.

You know what I mean.

Batteries. Not. Included.