Despite the fact that my kids are 15, 21, and 24, I still make them do Santa lists every year. And they know when the deadline for them is: the day of the Toronto Santa Claus parade in mid-November.
Last year, my middle one was really struggling to pull together some ideas for me. How a 21-yr old young lady, going to university in Toronto, living in a shared apartment with three of her friends, with a very busy social life, and with big plans for her future could NOT be able to pass on some things she wanted/needed dumbfounded me. So in late November I went in to Toronto to both visit her and get some other Christmas shopping done. While we were having lunch, I asked her again about her Santa list. She finally gave me a response …
“I really want to travel after school is done but I need some motivation to make me do it and save up the money I’ll need. There you go ma, travel inspiration. That’s what I want for Christmas.”
I smiled and laughed. “Travel inspiration eh? What am I supposed to do with that? It’s not like I can wrap it up in a box and bow for you honey.”
“You’ll figure it out”, she replied. “You’re creative like that.”
Part of the reason why I still get my kids to do Santa lists for me is so that they can be really specific about what they are wishing for. Gone are the days when “Beach Fun Barbie” or “Pirates Lego Set” were on the lists. Now they want clothes, and electronicy thingamabobs, and some random thing they saw once at a store in some obscure part of Toronto when we went in for a festival or something. All of that is fine and well but I need explicit item details and GPS instructions on where to find it.
Travel inspiration? What exactly would that look like and where the heck would I find it???
After lunch, we split up and I went shopping. As I entered a mall, the first place I saw was a travel agency. Holy Batman! They’d surely be able to help give me ideas. And they did. Sent me off with travel brochures, luggage tags, and information for Canadians traveling abroad. Eureka.
After that, it actually became easy. Everywhere I went I kept my eye open for something travely-like. Got some accessories like mini shampoo bottles and toothbrush holders at dollar stores. Found a couple of books here and there. A neat corkboard thing for her wall to put destination pics up on. And then I found the mother load. At a thrift store no less. A vintage hard suitcase in that oh so cool retro tealy-bluey-greeny colour. For 8 bucks. Sweet as my kids would say. That would be how I would pack all the goodies up and yes, be able to put a bow on them too. I felt like Schwarzenegger in Jingle All The Way when his son calls him the ‘real Turbo man’. My mission as a good Santa mom was accomplished. (For that year at least, we’ll see what she asks for this year!)
My darling daughter was very excited with what Santa brought her last year. So much so that she posted the above picture to her Instagram account with the below caption. One of my most challenging Christmas shopping adventures was Instagram-worthy. I was pretty excited too. And to boot, she actually uses the suitcase when she comes home to visit. Sweet.
When your Christmas list for mom is
“travel inspirations”. Ya killed it, Ma.
Oh and PS … only 36 weeks and 3 days til Christmas … woot woot!