Expectations Versus Reality For Your Kid On Christmas

Expectations Versus Reality For Your Kid On Christmas

When the family comes together for the holidays, children get all the attention. I’d like to pretend that I’m just happy to have my son around his relatives and will enjoy the festivities, but I’d be lying if I wasn’t hoping that the kid won’t be the god damn star of the show and kill it at family Christmas. It breaks down to a few segments, and while a guy can dream, more than likely he’ll be behaving as most kids do.

Interacting with Relatives

Once a year everyone makes the traveling rounds and winds up at the residence of whichever relative was fortunate enough to convince everyone to come to them. With that comes the fine line between enjoying each other’s company and also realizing that if you all spent this much close quarters time with each other on a regular basis that a murder would happen. Small children can swing the momentum either way.


As the only member of the family younger than 17, my son is going to be the center of attention. With any luck, I’ll leave Christmas with a phone full of potential Instagram gems. All the cousins, aunts, and uncles will get to have their moments of being a kid again while playing with him, while the grandparents and great-grandparents can get their touching “life comes full-circle” moments by reading a book by a Christmas fire (or a fan, considering it’s going to be 80 in Texas on Christmas). He’ll be fawned over by all in attendance.


After the initial wave of cuteness and high energy has worn off, everyone will remember how tired they were when their kids were young. I have zero doubt that the most expensive clothing item brought by each family member will find a way to be ruined either by spilled drink or by being used as a coloring book. The Hallmark moment of a glorious book reading will be thwarted by my offspring smacking his book reader with the hard cover, because news flash: kids love hitting stuff with other stuff.

Christmas Dinner

The family dinner is the staple of Christmas season, where you and your family try to prove that you have your shit together more than the Griswolds. All the moms & dads, aunts & uncles, grandparents, cousins sit together to appreciate each other’s company and enjoy a bountiful feast. I have blind faith that the little guy will hold himself together during this sacred event.


Kids are an absolute wildcard when it comes to meals, but somehow I’ve got high hopes. My kid will eat all his food cleanly and quietly, aside from a few moments of being completely adorable that children are prone to. Afterwards, he will give his grandma a big hug for cooking, and I’ll hear no less than four comments about how well behaved he was.


In all likelihood he’s turning this dinner into his own personal war on food. There’s a good chance he will have already demanded his dinner beforehand, so our sit down meal is simply his snacking, and snacking will turn into target practice.

Mashed potatoes in someone’s hair, green beans in his aunt’s wine, and his utensils scattered along the floor. There’s also a good chance that in the waning moments of the feast he gets ahold of great-grandma’s removed dentures and feeds them to our bottomless pit of a dog.

The Santa Gift Reveal

The penultimate moment of each year is the kids coming downstairs and seeing the toys of their dreams brought to them by an implausible obese and potential diabetic man who shimmied down their chimney and inhaled some cookies. My little guy is a tad too young to really understand what’s going on, but the kid appreciates toys.


After waking up, Jr. and I will begin our descent down the stairs. He won’t know what’s coming, but I’ll be giddy with excitement. What’s waiting for him downstairs is a toddler sized kitchen that I meticulously assembled last night, as well as his first baseball glove. As he hits the bottom step and look towards the tree, his face will light up, and the little guy will haul ass over to his bounty.

After exploring his kitchen and making a pretend steak dinner (Kid loves helping in the kitchen, he’s the next Bobby Flay), he will grab his new glove and say “Hey Dad, want to have a catch?” Not only will it be his first full sentence ever, but confetti will rain from the sky, along with a banner that declares me parent of the century.


As we get the bottom step, he will glance at the kitchen as he walks by, go grab some wrapping paper leftover from the previous night to play with, then walk into the kitchen and ask for breakfast and Curious George. I’ll spend the rest of my morning fighting tears and sneaking whiskey into my eggnog.

Merry Christmas, cherish your family and appreciate the time off from work.

Image via Shutterstock

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Kyle Bandujo

The artist formerly known as Crash Davis. My kid doesn't think I'm funny.

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