This post is part of the December 2011 Blog Chain at Absolute Write. This month’s challenge is a simple holiday story.

People often fail to realize the crushing abnormality of their lives as children. I was convinced that all the other kids’ mothers traded their pacifiers for small toys at the local five-and-dime as a reward for kicking the habit, or that the other kids’ fathers had jars of exotic bugs in preservatives at home and in the office. That was all I knew; that was “normal.”

Case in point: my parents always told my brother and I that we each got three wishes from Santa, as if he was some kind of genie you summoned by rubbing a Christmas ornament or something. It never occurred to me to compare notes with the other kids, because as far as I knew they each got their three wishes too. It wasn’t until third grade, when a friend boasted about the seven (!) things he’d gotten from Santa and another was excited about his single and solitary Santagift that I postulated the big man must have different allocations for different houses.

Now, of course, I know that my parents were a little low on the money scale my first few Christmases, and the tradition became ossified (plus, upping the present count after I was regularly a brat would hardly have sent the right message). It wasn’t until all the kids were in college and Santa was just a fond memory that we were chipped down to one gift apiece–and that quickly fell to zero as the family drifted apart and stopped spending holidays together.

Check out this month’s other bloggers, all of whom have posted or will post their own responses:
Ralph Pines
Diana Rajchel