December 22, 2009

The Christmas Miracle

My daughter's Christmas list contains only two things: a candy jewelry maker and a battery-operated hamster.

As much as it pained me to purchase item #1, I did it because I felt very confident that I would not be able to locate item #2.

"None of the stores around here are selling Zhu Zhu pets right now," I said, pointing to one of many empty toy store shelves.

Just when my first grader had finally resigned herself to being hamsterless, the mall Santa threw me under the bus.

"Of course I can!" replied Saint Nick when my daughter asked if he and his troop of industrious elves could make her a litter of Zhu Zhu pets.

"Problem solved," said my daughter, as she hopped off the bearded man's lap.

"Thanks a lot," I hissed in the direction of the velvet throne. Santa replied by giving me a wink, a coloring book, and a miniature candy cane.

That was two weeks ago. I've been back to the mall a handful of times since that day and each time I spot Santa perched inside his candy cane cottage held together with duct tape, I give him the evil eye.

Clearly Santa knew that he was on my naughty list because this morning at 8:17am he granted me a Christmas miracle. I was shopping at a local super center when all of sudden I heard several fellow shoppers scream the words "hamsters" and "OVER THERE!!!!" The object of their gaze and pointed fingers was an elderly man with a single cardboard box.

Fifteen of us waited with baited breath as the man cut the box open.

Screams of jubilation ripped through the store as the man held up a handful of electronic rodents.

I snatched a white one.


I had big plans to steal Santa's thunder by wrapping up the glorified mouse and attaching a gift tag that included the phrase "From Mom and Dad."

My husband's role play of Christmas morning changed my mind.

"Aww nuts! I wanted a black one! Where is the hamster car? And its tunnel? And its friends?"

It's hard to be six in a world without enough hamsters and hamster accessories to go around.

It's even harder to be Santa.

36 comments

Anonymous said...

something has to be said about the blessings of having kids that believe that santa is silly and refuse to leave their teeth for the tooth fairy!

stewbert said...

Congrats on getting THE gift. We had a similar episode 5+ years ago, but the item in question was impossible to find in our area. My mom found one and donated it to Toys for Tots. I called her and asked if she had seen any in the stores. She guiltily said yes, told me what she'd done, and immediately went back for another one. Fortunately, they still had a couple. Then my dad left the bag containing THE doll in the car of the friend who drove them to the airport. The friend was nice enough to overnight the bag to them. A $20 gift suddenly became much, much more expensive, but it was indeed worth it on Christmas morning. She held that doll all day long. I hope your daughter shows as much enthusiasm for the Zhu Zhu.

Becca said...

WOOHOO Jana! You must've been truly, truly good this year to score such a gift for your daughter. I can't wait for pictures of the joy on her face. (I hope.) :)

Kiki said...

my niece sent my sis on a wild goose chase trying to find that damn hamster. i've seen the toy and i don't understand why it would be fun for a kid to watch this thing scoot around the floor. the worst part about all of the craze is, is that you can't find any accessories to go with the pet. my niece will open the gift and ask the same questions your hubs thinks your daughter will ask. i told my sis it's not worth it and reminded her of the elmo craze of the 90s. she was determined to find that hamster, but refused to pay the reseller prices on the web. she finally found one at a walmart. it's not the one her daughter wanted, but i guess something is better than nothing. take care.

lilshygirl2003 said...

Jana, if you need more hamsters and accessories, I have some! If you're willing to pay the shipping and the price I paid, you're welcome to them. I ended up with way too many. Let me know if you're interested :)

Heather B said...

LMAO - so glad that im not the only one that wants to steal Santa's thunder on christmas morning sometimes!!!

The Bus Driver said...

You can always go to petsmart and get her a real hamster that she'll lose interest in 3 days when it bites her enough for handling it. Those hamsters come complete with return instructions.

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

My daughter happened to hear on the news as she was driving to work that wally world would have them at 7:00 am that morning so even though it was closer to 8:00, she headed that way. They still had plenty - with no purchase limit after 8:00. She bought three; gave one to my grandson, one to the daughter of a friend, and one is to a dirty santa game.

Brings back the memories of Cabbage Patch dolls.

Diva Ma @ Mommy Fabulous said...

You are an absolutely amazing writer. I can totally relate to this story as I spent the last three weeks searching and praying. Luckily when I was searching, my 5 year old had not asked for the toy. It was my want, not hers, when I found out how popular they were. I didn't come out a winner as you did and a few days ago she saw them on TV and announced that she was adding THAT to her list. It's too late, now. Maybe I can bride her with a real hamster?

happyfamily said...

I really wonder how there gets to be an "it" toy every year. And it's always something weird. Maybe I'm weird for thinking they're weird, I don't know.

My kids aren't in school yet and we don't have TV, so I am spared this sort of shenanigans thus far.

Working Mommy said...

Ah yes...the Zhu Zhu craze...what is with these things?!?! I guess we had our craziness also - cabbage patch dolls, YIKES!! At least the battery operated hamsters are better than the real thing - less mess, less stink, less cleaning, no feed required, no wood chips, no constant water bottle fill-ups, no band-aids for fingers after getting bitten...just a battery change if they begin to lag a bit.

~WM

AlsoMean said...

Your husband is wise to think ahead, but at my house Santa's incompetence in bringing the right gift and proper accessories still merits much whining.
Followed by a time out.

Jen@Scrapingirl said...

I am so glad my kids have no idea what those ugly toys are. Every year I can shop without stress is a gift. :) But I am glad you(Santa) got the gift. :)

Connie said...

When the Cabbage Patch dolls first came out, it was crazy!! I wanted to get two for my twin daughters but they were gone as fast as they got in the stores! I ended up getting them "Heavenly Kid" dolls and made sure they knew it was from Santa so I wouldn't take the rap!
Now, the Cabbage Patch dolls are $10.00 and very plentiful! I'm sure the hamsters will multiply and next year they'll be all over the place!

jennie w. said...

Zhu Zhu pets have not reached Austin, Tx yet, thank goodness. Instead we are just forking out $125 for a stupid American Girl doll.

girlnblack77 said...

It's the 'it' toy every year that makes me doubly glad we DVR the television the kids do get to watch.
What's that? A commercial? ffwd, ffwd, ffwd.

Chief said...

What the hell!? a fake hamster!

unbelievable! and ? think I am in the wrong business!

I am glad you were able to get your handds on one for the kids sake ~wink

Anne~fiona and twig said...

Now I'm not a mom yet (workin' on it, newlywed here!), but I just had to say what a hilarious blog you've got here. Grrrrrl, you need your own show, you are a hoot!

Oh, and for the record, it's *stank* eye. Remember that. ;-)

So nice to meet ya!
Merry Christmas!

Anne @ Fiona and Twig

Katherine said...

3rd graders are more interested in cars, cellphones, and laptops here... none of which my neice will be receiving. She asked for a Zhu-Zhu recently and thankfully the craze hasn't hit in my area of Texas yet... $8 at Wal-Mart. If I had known your daughter wanted one, I would have mailed it to you!

The sticker on the package that reads "Keep away from hair" bothers me though...

Becca said...

My daughter came home from school yesterday with one - and a "house" for it. I was stunned. It was a PTA give-away (that I am usually sort of involved in, but not this year) and my kids have never, ever won anything at this assembly. And she strolls out of there with the very same white rodent. (Did you know it talks? Like a constant squeak. This was a surprise to me. Um. It's loud.)

Good luck with all that cheer!

Kristina said...

My 7 year old daughter saw one of those in the store a couple of months ago and asked me to get it for her. I completely dismissed it as a toy with a bunch of accessories she would never actually play with. (Shows how much I know about what kids will like.) Thankfully she hasn't asked for one again.

Too Many Hats said...

So glad you had your miracle. What was Santa thinking?! Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

They considered recalling these. I'm still a bit iffy on them. Google it for more info.

Gina said...

I still remember opening my Cabbage Patch Kid Christmas morning years ago. My father had braved the stores to track down one for his only daughter. He was very worried that I would not like it because all he could find was a boy. That favorite doll still sits on my bed and I enjoy telling my own kids about the story. Hoping your little one has as much joy as I did! And, my parents totally took Santa's thunder and claimed the gift as their own. I think they did it so that they would have something to hold over my head in the years to come...

Anonymous said...

You know how they scurry, need batteries and may have toxic checmicals spewing from them? Well I took a more earth friendly approach, it is scurrying about in my old cage as we speak(in grandmas basement) and will arrive and live out it's years at the mercy of my children. We have plenty of pumpkin seeds and other "leftovers" for treats and we cut a few trees down this year and had alot of saw dust and shavings so nothing extra spent except a little 10lb bag of pellet food. and best of all the store will accept them back. Yeah!

Courtney Alexis said...

I haven't asked for a toy for Christmas in a good 10 years (okay, that's a lie - I asked for a Woody doll last year. But I needed one to keep my Buzz Lightyear company), so I think I am completely out of the loop. What exactly does an electronic hamster do?

But kudos to you and your dedication to obtaining the holy grail of rodents. I'm sure your daughter will be delighted. :)

Mama Belle said...

Good for you! Not really understanding the appeal of these wind-up hamsters. Whatever. My kids didn't ask for any so I was delighted.

Carla said...

I have a seven year old who's top two things are her list are the candy jewel factory and zhu zhu pet as well. I had the candy factory and yesterday I walked into Walmart and they had a whole shelf of Zhu Zhu pets. Yes thank goodness for Christmas Miracles.

Emmy said...

I have heard those are the "thing" this year, luckily my kids have not. :)

The only thing Alex said she wanted this year was lipstick!

Sometimes I wonder who's daughter she is :)

Marlin and Tomena said...

Well at least you Got THE gift. My 2 5yr. olds each wanted things that don't even exist. Last year my daughter asked for a coo-coo clock.....?...

Jessica said...

Oh SO true! Besides an alarm clock and a toy turkey (who asks for that anyway) my 5 year old wanted one of those silly things. I got up at stinkin' 5:30 in the morning to get to Toys R US to grab one because apparently if you go a 10am (which I did for 2 days) they would be all sold out! O the things we do for our kids!

Kirsha said...

congrats on your find!!!!!! I only have one child that is only 10 months old and i am already not looking forward to the day I have to look for "the present" of the year! think of it this way if you say it is from santa and she hates it at least you won't take any heat abotu it!!!!!! congrats again and have a merry christmas

AlsoMean said...

At 2PM my son asks me to put a certain Wii game on his list.
"Really, do you think that will work at this time on Christmas Eve?" I ask with raised eyebrows.

Oh yes. My brother calls me at 3 PM from the game store. They have the game and he buys it.

Anonymous said...

I had the chance this weekend to play with the coveted zhu zhu pets. I think you'll be grateful that you don't have four hamsters and the whole hamster world. It took two hours and three adults to set everything up and even then it didn't work properly. And the hamsters... my little five year old niece was more excited to put them in their cubbies to "sleep" instead of actually letting them do what they were made to do.

Frustration!

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Lynne said...

When I was SAnta...I mean Santa at our house haunted the stores for Cabbage Patch dolls. And found two! What a relief. And then she peeked. Rats.