Top 10 Holiday Threats to Keep Your Children in Line

My children always listen to me.

They obey every word for the sheer joy of making me happy.

Two more perfect angels never existed.

I’ve also won American Idol, been a back up dancer for Lady Gaga, sold the idea for Harry Potter to J.K. Rowling, and turned down a marriage proposal from Johnny Depp.

I’m also a bit sarcastic.

The truth is, I am the mother who chants a silent prayer every time my children stray more than five feet away from me.

“Please let them come back without me having to run after them.”

Granted, most of the chasing is now directed at my two year old Lil Diva, but my son is very strong in the Not Listening Super Power.

Thankfully with the holidays upon us, it means I can finally pull out the Christmas Threat Bag when the regular ones have lost their magic.

Top 10 Holiday Threats and Bribes to Keep Your Children in Line

10. You have to get rid of toys you don’t play with anymore, or there won’t be any room for new presents.

9.  Tackling and hitting puts you on the Naughty List. That means your toys will go to someone who doesn’t hit their sister.

8.  If you obey and don’t act like demon spawn on Ritalin, we can put up the Christmas tree later.

7.  Christmas lights are not for licking, chomping, or playing. Try any of those and the tree will disappear faster than the batteries in your toy fire truck Legos left on the floor.

6. Whining gives poor Santa a migraine. Keep it up and he won’t be able to drive the sleigh to deliver your presents.

5.  Santa is my father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate. One phone call and all of your presents will go to the little boy who is not running around like a badger high on crack sugar.

4.  Be nice to your sister or she’ll get all of your Christmas gifts.

3.  Give me sixty forty-five thirty twenty fifteen five damn minutes of peace and we can go look at Christmas lights.

2.  Each time you get a time out, I eat one of your Christmas cookies.

1.  Whoever picks up the most toys the fastest will get a slice of pumpkin bread.

The last one I used on four children (including my son) on Thanksgiving, and you’d have thought I’d offered the winner all the candy they could eat, a week at Disney World, and a lifetime of unlimited TV watching given the speed the exploded room was tidied up.

Yes, my pumpkin bread is that good.

What threats and bribes do you find yourself uttering during the holiday season?

About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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18 Responses to Top 10 Holiday Threats to Keep Your Children in Line

  1. Isn’t number 7 another way of saying: if you lick that again, I’ll clean up your mess? Also: if I show you a picture of my clean room (wait about 45 minutes), will I get some pumpkin bread too?

    • Not quite. The Christmas tree is something they love. It would be more like “Hit your sister with that toy again, and it will disappear for good.”

      Alas, I have devoured the remnants of pumpkin bread. Maybe I should do a Christmas contest to win a loaf of the pumpkin bread….

  2. Trish Loye Elliott says:

    Love this, Kelly! And I love the holidays for the exact same thing. Whoever thought up the Naughty List was brilliant!!

  3. Rob Rubin says:

    Love it! Unfortunately for me, my kids despise pumpkin bread, so #1 wouldn’t work as is. I’d have to replace it with something like a luke-warm chocolate Pediasure.

    We also tried #10, but somehow the older one snuck out to the garage and recovered some of the toys from the trash.

    The new one we are trying is that my 5 year old is refusing to get a haircut, so we’ve told him that Santa won’t recognize him with long hair and won’t know where to bring his gifts. He thought about it for a second, but then said, “Santa has a GPS, he knows how to find me.” Touche.

    Rob, The Mainland

    • Even I as I shudder over your bribe, I realize my children will eat almost anything if it’s chocolate.

      It’s why I’m surprised the pumpkin bread worked as a prize.

      The key is to the do throwaway just prior to trash pick up. Did Toy Story 3 teach you nothing? 🙂

      Your 5 year old is hilarious.

      My son actually asks to have his hair cut. The same child who screamed at every appointment for the first two years of haircuts….

  4. I want pumpkin bread.

    A lot.

    Will you be my mama? Even though I’m older than you?

    A lot?

  5. I am enjoying Christmas vicariously. Since Hanukkah gifts tend to be more practical, there isn’t much need for threats. Sarcastic or otherwise.

    “Be good or you won’t get those new socks!” 😉

    • Even at this age, I have been known to give my son t-shirts as gifts. Stuff he needs combined with the Cars and Toy Story characters he loves… it’s a win-win.

      I also love educational toys as gifts.

      Is the last day of Hanukkah at least something slightly impractical?

  6. I haven’t had to threaten like this yet… mine is only 21 months. But I would love to have your pumpkin bread recipe. Will you share?

    • These threats do not work for Lil Diva yet either, although when I used #1 at Thanksgiving, she joined in the pick-up race just because all of the older kids were doing it.

      I have to ask my mother about sharing the pumpkin bread recipe. I shared her infamous chocolate cake recipe in an all-school cookbook because I took it without asking and she never let me hear the end of it. Now I always ask first. 🙂

  7. Love it! I particularly like the giving Santa a migraine as it is TRUE! These were great fun. Thanks for the laughs.

  8. Trish says:

    I so enjoyed reading these! We must have gone to the same “Mom School”.
    “Clean your room, or I-will-clean-it-for-you” was NOT an offer to help. I only had to follow through on that threat once for each child. Then never again. 🙂
    Cherish these years, with Legos and children who care if Santa has a migraine. They slip away so quickly. Then the day comes when you have to remember to pick up Lil Diva’s favorite wine for with her Christmas Dinner, and you sit on the floor with HER children building things out of Legos. Ouch.


  9. Angie says:

    I’ve used these (or versions of these) over and over. Especially true is where are you end up settling for JUST FIVE minutes of peace. Great post. Visiting from Writing on the Edge.

  10. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes says:

    “Santa is my father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.” LOVE the reference 😉

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