I am famous here at the Houston Press for writing a heart-warming guide to keeping the illusion of Santa Claus up for doubtful children using the very best in geek pop culture. People patted me on the back and told me that it was a magical essay they would save to read over and over again, and all of them assumed it was because I hold the spirit of Christmas in my shriveled, $3 Merlot-fueled soul.
The truth is that my real goal is to prolong the existence of Santa in my daughter's eyes because for an entire month I have the perfect threat to hold over her young, malleable mind. Be nice, or Santa won't bring you any presents. Quit chasing the dog or Krampus is going to gnaw your tender childflesh. Eat your dinner or your stocking isn't even going to have coal in it because, you know, OBAMA!
But once the presents are opened, she's like a prisoner who joined the Aryan Brotherhood on the inside and has been released out into free society to carry out any whim her feral brain shouts at her. Surely there must be a way to rule her through fear without all that pesky getting up early on a Sunday. Of course there is.
Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream about kids of all colors playing together. Notice that he didn't say, "playing nicely" together because he was trying to stir up support for civil rights and not comment on the ways of children. Let's pretend he did say it though, and warn our kids that throughout the month of January the ghost of Dr. King wanders America watching for kids being mean to other kids. He doesn't do anything bad to you if he sees you because he was, you know, a really good person and kids are just by nature assholes, but you can always do what I do. Remind your child that someone shot him for saying be nice to each other... then just stare at them without speaking for about a minute.
Every February in honor of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre the police are allowed to shoot anyone that they see stealing things, hurting people, or damaging property. That's my story at any rate.
St. Patrick's Day is a big deal for adults, but kids understandably don't really care much about it because they don't drink unless you are a fantastically awful parent. That doesn't mean they have to be left out of the fun though. Just tell them some quaint Irish legends. Like the Red Man, a leprechaun so amused by mortal terror that he gives people the worst dreams of their life just for shits and/or giggles.
Or the Dullahan, a black man riding a headless horse through the night stopping at the houses of people who will soon die and dousing them with buckets of blood. Then there's my favorite, the one-eyed, one-legged demon king Balor who can kill you just by staring at you. Make sure you mention that all these creatures can be summoned by waking up a hung over parent.
Some people would want to stick with, "Be good or the Easter Bunny won't leave you candy," but Easter happens way too early in April to work for long. Nope, instead you should tell your children about Huorns. Huorns are sentient trees that look just like regular trees, but have the ability to move when you're not looking at them. They are known to take vengeance on those who despoil nature. Every Arbor Day, when the veil between the human world and the world of the Tree People is thinnest, Huorns seek out messy children who waste food, or hurt animals, or litter and spirit them away. Every tree is a predator... watching.
May is Mother's Day, and as nursing is my wife's chosen profession, International Nursing Day falling in the same month makes May a big deal in my house. Anyone who has ever taken children to the doctor for a routine vaccination knows that they can turn into whirling dervishes of snot trails and angry fists within seconds. Usually the nurses take the brunt of this because they're the ones who have to do the actual shots. During May, you might want to show your kids this clip from Silent Hill, and pass along the knowledge that all nurses have the ability to transform after dark and seek out kids who wouldn't sit still for normal treatment at the doctor's office.
In 1949 Congress officially established Flag Day as a holiday in June. Even though President Wilson had proclaimed it as such in 1916, Congress didn't get involved until technology developed that allowed them to put surveillance equipment in the balls at the top of flag posts. Though they are watching you year 'round, always watching you, June 14 is the day that the government uses Flag Day to do mass equipment maintenance without being suspected. The government sells proof of misdeeds by children drunk with freedom from the start of summer holidays to parents for a very affordable price.
Kid not feeling the appropriate rabid nationalist spirit? Show them Uncle Sam. Tell them it's a true story.
Absolutely nothing happens in August, and in Houston it's too damned hot even inside to misbehave. If your kid is still acting up then you might want to contact Satan for a paternity test because he or she might actually be a demon.
You should definitely teach your kid not be a bully during back to school time by recounting the legend of Marcie Ross. The story goes that Ross was so ignored and looked down upon by her classmates that she actually turned invisible. After that, she could be found roaming the halls of Sunnydale High School wreaking unseen revenge on the heartless snobs and elitist popular kids who made life for people like her hell. It's not an isolated incident, so be sure to be kind and courteous to others. You never know who's right behind you watching.
You actually don't need to lie to your kids to get them to behave or be safe on Halloween. Instead you can just tell them the awful horrifying truth. In general, every story ever told about poisoned candy or bladed apples being handed out by kind, but secretly evil strangers is complete and utter bullshit. The truth is if you go by actual case histories, if someone is going to spike your child's candy haul with rat killer, it is statistically almost certain that you will be the one to do it. Remind them of that fact. Often.
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I put a heaping plate of homemade Thanksgiving dinner in front of my daughter this year and she reacted as if I had served her a plate of live spiders. She wanted cinnamon cereal, watermelon, an apple, please daddy anything but the meal you spent two days and way too much money preparing.
Meanwhile after time out, I calmly let her know that the ritual of eating turkey, potatoes, and bread on Thanksgiving came to us from the Native Americans, who knew that ingestion of such food stuffs in an annual harvest ritual is the only way to appease the endless hunger of the undead hunter Bay-Kok. Otherwise, he will stalk you, put you to sleep with invisible arrows, and then eat a part of your liver causing you to sicken and die.
She asked for seconds.