A tale of parental Santa pressure


Hey, since I'm telling stories anyway, what do you think of this one?

I found out a few years ago that while my dad was growing up (in Ohio in the 1950s, with one parent who was second-generation Hungarian and one who was third-generation German), Santa Claus didn't just bring the presents, he brought the tree, too.

The decorated tree.

The decorated live tree.

So think about this for a minute. You're at your in-laws' house for dinner on Christmas Eve with your young children, then you go to church and keep your kids from acting up while everyone else's children are running wild, then you come home and wrangle your overexcited kids into bed, and wait until they're actually asleep. And then you bring in the tree that's been hiding behind the garage, wrestle it into the stand, put on the lights, put on all the ornaments, and put out all the presents, and fill the stockings. All as silently as possible so you didn't wake your kids.

I am amazed my grandparents didn't kill each other after one year of this, let alone the dozen years (at least) between when my dad was born and when his younger brother would have stopped believing in Santa.

We all know I'm about simplifying Christmas into only the things that actually bring you joy (I had another big discussion yesterday about the idea of creating magic for your kids in a way that a) you can actually do successfully, and b) is actually the magic that your kids appreciate, which is a big section of the Christmas workbook), so I'm an order in Chinese on Christmas day kind of person (who bakes a lot of cookies because that brings me joy), but this Midnight Tree Scramble seems like the Christmas activity with the least possible return on investment I've ever heard of.

Thoughts? Is there something with even less ROI that you've done (or know someone who's done)? Did you grow up with Santa bringing the tree, and, if so, how were your parents' moods on Christmas Day? If you don't celebrate Christmas, does this story make you even more relieved that you don't?