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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Are you really ready for Christmas?

Shannon Sullivan thought she had planned the perfect Christmas morning for her 4-year-old son back in 2000.

Presents under the tree. A full stocking.

But after the boy looked at his gifts, his eyes welled with tears.

“Mom,” Sullivan recalls him saying. “Santa did not bring you anything, and you have been really good.”

Thinking quickly, the Spokane single mom called her own mother. Sullivan told her son that Santa brings grown-ups presents to their moms’ houses. Later that day, at Grandma’s house, Sullivan’s son was delighted to see that Santa had indeed left presents for his mom.

“Throughout the years, I have never forgotten this, nor has my mother,” Sullivan wrote in an e-mail. “Santa always makes sure there is enough joy for me, too.”

As parents, there’s a seemingly endless list of details to attend to for Christmas. We asked readers to share some of the things on their last-minute checklist:

•Batteries, batteries and more batteries. Be sure to have enough of them. Don’t forget the less-used sizes, such as “C” and 9-volt.

•Have some sturdy scissors to snip all of the wires in those toy packages.

•Make sure the camera has a fully charged battery (and film, if it’s not digital). Ditto for the video camera.

•Make sure there’s plenty of wrapping paper, tape and ribbon for those forgotten presents bought long ago and stashed in the closet.

•Be ready with the required snacks for Santa and his reindeer. Cookies, milk and carrots or whatever they like to eat when visiting your home.

And finally, Michael Paul, a Spokane father, remembers that Christmas is about more than shiny new toys under the tree:

“We should remember to give something either tangible or not that reminds our children how much we love them every day,” Paul writes in an e-mail. “That just by being there, they enrich our lives beyond measure.”