What Fathers Want For Christmas by Art Buchwald


racing cars

I offer this in tribute to one of my favorite humorists, the late, great Art Buchwald. This is from “And Then I Told the President.”

Kids these days have no appreciation of the real value of Christmas. All they talk about is how many presents they’re going to get. None of them is aware of the sacrifices fathers have made to make their Christmas a pleasant one. We fathers don’t want much in exchange. All we ask is that our sons let us play with their toys on Christmas morning.

Last Christmas I bought my ten-year-old son an electric racing car set. It looked like a real speedway and came complete with a scaled model of a Ferrari and a Lotus racing car. There were banked curves, bridges, fences and pits. You couldn’t ask for a better present.

Christmas morning I said to my son, “How about playing with your racing cars? We could have a race.”

“I don’t want to,” he said, unwrapping an aircraft carrier.

“What do you mean, you don’t want to? You know how much that thing cost?”

He was adamant. “I don’t want to play with them now.”

“He doesn’t want to play with his cars,” I said to my wife.

“It’s his Christmas,” she said. “Let him play with what he wants to.”

“You’re always taking his side,” I complained.

“Play with the cars yourself,” she said.

“It’s no fun. You have to have two to race.”

The boy opened a fort I had especially selected. I started placing soldiers in it.

“I don’t want the soldiers placed like that,” he whined.

“That’s the way they should be placed,” I said. “I wasn’t in the Marines for nothing.”

“I want them another way.”

“I said they should go like that.”

He ran off to complain to his mother. She said, “Why don’t you let him put the soldiers in the fort the way he wants to?”

“All the soldiers will get killed if he does,” I said.

“Well, that’s his business. Why don’t you open up your own presents?”

I opened up a box and all that was in it was a cashmere pullover sweater.

My son opened up another gift to find a hockey game.

“Let’s play a game of hockey,” I said excitedly. “I used to play it when I was a kid.”

“I’m waiting for Butch to come over,” he said. “I’ll play it with him.”

“What does Butch know about hockey?” I cried.

My wife gave me another box. It contained a wallet.

“Open up that package,” I told my son. It contained a gasoline-driven airplane that cost me $14 (1965 dollars).”

The boy took over the plane. “I wonder how it works,” he said.

“I’ll show you,” I said. “Let’s go outside.”

“It’s too cold,” he replied. “We’ll fly it tomorrow.”

I was just about to grab the plane when I got a call from my friend, Ed Williams.

“How’s your Christmas?” he wanted to know.

“Lousy. How’s yours?”

“The same. Jobie won’t even let me play with his rock collection.”

“I got an idea. I’ll send Joel over there to play with Jobie’s toys, and you come over here and we’ll play with Joel’s toys.”

“Do you have a racing car set?”

“Of course.”

“I’ll be right over. Can I have the Ferrari?”

About David B. Smith

I'm a math professor at San Bernardino Valley College - awesome place! - and author of adult Christian fiction. Lisa and I have two grown daughters and four grandkids.
This entry was posted in Art Buchwald, Christmas, Grandparenting, Parenting and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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