Holidays

Avoid Santastrophe: Use this dictionary to  survive the holidays with kids

Dec. 14, 2012 at 10:36 AM ET

There have been times when I wished the Grinch would steal Christmas and not give it back.  I’ve always wanted the classic, heartwarming Christmas: peace on earth, goodwill towards men and glad tidings with family and friends. My kids, on the other hand, just want an Xbox. They think glad tidings are for suckas.

So how to overcome the frustrations of overly ambitious sentimentality? For starters,  laugh at the foibles of being a parent during the holiday season. To that end, these words help describe the behaviors of kids this time of year. 

This child is SHIRTURBED (shurr-TERBD) adj.: The annoyed state of a child who just received an article of clothing as a present.
Philipp Nemenz / Getty Images stock
This child is SHIRTURBED (shurr-TERBD) adj.: The annoyed state of a child who just received an article of clothing as a present.

JINGLEBERRY (JING-uhl-behr-ee)  n. : A Christmas Carol or other holiday song whose lyrics have been changed to incorporate potty talk and other themes contrary to the season the songs were intended to celebrate.

SHIRTURBED (shurr-TERBD) adj.:  The annoyed state of a child who just received an article of clothing as a present. 

SANTASTROPHE (sann-TASS-truh-fee) n.: A parent’s misconception that their baby will enjoy being handed off to an enormous, white-haired, scraggly bearded stranger in a blood red suit at the mall.

INPLAYTIABLE (in-PLAY-shee-uh-bull) adj.: Filled with the desire to own every single toy advertised on television.

CASHMOSIS (cash-MO-siss) n.: The ability to remove money from a holiday or birthday card without so much as glancing at said card.

KODICK  (KOH-dik) n.:  The child who refuses to cooperate in the taking of the family holiday card photo.

Making up words to describe my kids’ less-than-angelic behavior has helped me overcome some of my idealism and embrace what’s real.  Over the holidays, you’re better off not wishing for everything to be perfect, but looking for those little perfect moments. Often when you least expect it, you will glimpse your kids exhibiting some of that elusive holiday spirit. It is a beautiful thing to behold. And when you do, it more than makes up for all the Jingleberries. 

Eric Ruhalter is the author of a funny gift book for parents: “The Kid Dictionary: Hilarious Words to Describe the Indescribable Things Kids Do.” Watch the brand new holiday book trailer here.

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