Ho, ho, hum, I thought I was almost done.
Last night, fortressed behind three locked doors, bopping to happy (not holiday) music, I wrapped three bags of gifts and wrote names across each one in large scrolling letters (clearly mine) so there would be doubt who these gifts would be from.
After I finished wrapping the gifts (all of them! hooray!) I carry them to the tree and scatter them in between and among the other gifts, The kids watch silently, pretending to be transfixed by an episode of the Amanda Show.
When I finish I head back to clean up the tape, the paper, the scissors, but before I can get out of earshot I hear Zack announce "16 for each of us!" like it would be a Christmas miracle that I would remember to bundle and separate and wrap gifts so they would balance in their inevitable pre-Christmas ritual of counting and re-counting the gifts under the tree. He continued, "I wonder how many more Santa is going to bring?"
I forgot about the Santa tax.
I will pay that tax, of course I will, but dear powerful and mystical St. Nicholas, forgive me now for what I am sure will be meager efforts in your name, but my enthusiasm and budget expired hours ago.