Rule #19: Use Christmas to Show Your Children Which One You Love the Most

Why is he crying? Because he's your secondary child and he got the armpit-flavored candy cane.

Why is he crying? Because he's your secondary child and he got the armpit-flavored candy cane.

No other occasion gives you a better opportunity to evenly and fairly distribute praise and expensive gifts to your children than Christmas.

It’s a great concept, but hard to pull off.

The problem, of course, is that at least one of your kids is pretty much a loser—or smells like mold, has adopted sissy hobbies or resembles someone who couldn’t possibly be related to you.

Whatever the case, you resent this. And if you make this kid’s Christmas as special as the child in the house whom you love the most, you’ll only be cheating yourself. So it’s important to use the holidays to validate the greatness of the Chosen Child and confirm the shortcomings of your secondary children—no matter what their ages, as it will help them step up their game.

All I Want for Christmas Is the Chosen Child

It’s extremely challenging to pretend you love all your children the same. And worse than that, it’s disingenuous. You’ve always been truthful with your offspring, and Christmas is the perfect time to make the truth hurt a little. What better way to ring in the spirit of the season by showcasing some good old-fashioned parental favoritism, including these nifty ideas:

Shun your inadequate children in the Christmas form letter.

Christmas form letters are like literary gifts of the Magi. Recipients want to be dazzled, and there’s no way you can do this by providing an overview of how your 5 year old with the overbite accidentally ran into the glass-sliding door last summer.

Instead, focus on the Chosen Child. That’s right, the entire letter. Talk about the Lego castles she built by using only her feet, her French immersion classes taught by an actual guy from an actual hamlet in France, and the fact that she can braid her horse’s mane while blindfolded. And if you MUST mention the overbite child, make sure it’s limited to one sentence or even something parenthetical, like…(“Bobby stopped eating hair from the dog’s brush this year. He also likes long division and collecting dust bunnies.”)

Create a chosen child shrine.

Sure, Jesus is the reason for the season, but let’s not forget a little earthly perfection in the form of the child you love the most. You can affix your child’s face to hundreds of tree ornaments, create clay angels resembling the Chosen Child to dangle above mangers and doorways, and light a semi-circle of votive candles around copies of his report card.

Make a list…and check it 25 times.

Letting a secondary child write to Santa is a mistake. It will only bring more shame to your family.

Letting a secondary child write to Santa is a mistake. It will only bring more shame to your family.

Rote learning is the best way for children to understand their shortcomings. So, before the Christmas turkey is carved, have the children you don’t love the most make a list of the “25 Things That Make My Brother (or Sister) Better Than Me.” Invite them to read it aloud and have the Chosen Child critique it.

Go to extremes on gift giving.

Gift-giving guidelines are essential this time of year. A few rules of thumb might help everyone understand where your affection lies:

The Chosen Child gets a puppy; the secondary children get a plastic bag they can do anything they want with, as long as they pick up the puppy shit with it first.

The Chosen Child gets Wii; the secondary children get to simulate pitching in the World Series by tossing small potatoes against a “pretend” batter, otherwise known as a tree.

The Chosen Child gets an American Girl doll; the secondary children get stained copies of their birth certificates confirming that they are American girls.

You get the drift…and so will your secondary children.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

jason December 25, 2008 at 8:28 am

God I hate those Christmas letters. Do the people writing them really think the people reading them give a shit? I’ll tell you one thing though, if your kid slams into a glass door, I’ll read that letter.

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HurlyGirly December 25, 2008 at 11:51 am

You know, if I didn’t get the brag-o-letter every year from perfect parents with their perfect kids I’d be kind of disappointed! It’s become a new tradition in our family: gather ’round the fire and read the form letter aloud, then hurl…

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Ron LaGrange December 29, 2008 at 10:17 am

My mom’s cousin sent out a Christmas letter that completely neglected to mention that his daughter had gotten married during the year…..to another woman. She, apparently, is not the ‘Chosen One’ !!

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edie January 26, 2009 at 11:41 am

“The Chosen Child gets a puppy; the secondary children get a plastic bag they can do anything they want with, as long as they pick up the puppy shit with it first.” … funniest thing i’ve ever heard.

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Jen December 12, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Oh my god, I love your website…such a great idea and so damned funny. This might be my new favorite blog.

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Nikki February 23, 2011 at 3:00 pm

LOVE LOVE LOVE this blog……so funny.

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