Christmas is over. Was everyone properly grateful?
You know who we’re talking about here, even though there are certainly none of them in your family. We’re talking about that little sugar plum who works up a sweat ripping open loot and caps the frenzy with, “Is this all?” Or the tot, her golden curls still sleep-tousled, who tears enough paper off each present to see if it’s worthy of further attention and, if it disappoints, chucks it aside for the next one.
A woman I know recalls the Christmas her brother visited with his family; the little darlings plowed through the booty in the twinkling of an eye, allowed themselves a few minutes to fight with each other and then demanded to go back to the hotel pool because they were bored. Visions of stuffing them in a coal sack and dumping them into the deep end danced in Auntie’s head.
This time of year always gets me thinking about Oscar Wilde’s “The Happy Prince,” a fairy tale guaranteed to bludgeon a sense of empathy into the most irredeemable of brats.