Santa Claus failures lead to a perfect Christmas

Santa Claus failures lead to a perfect Christmas

By Nicole Carpenter, Contributor | Posted - Dec. 20, 2011 at 11:29 a.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Santa Claus is not perfect.

It may come as a surprise, but it’s the truth. He’s delivered a few faulty Christmas gifts to our home Christmas Eve.

It all began in 2006. My oldest was barely 2. Santa had decided to bring her a tricycle for Christmas. This particular primary-colored tricycle folded in half, both for storage and easy store-to-home delivery. The tricycle sat folded in the trunk of Santa’s sleigh right up until Christmas Eve.

It wasn’t until the very moment Santa placed the unfolded trike under the tree, that he noticed the handle bars were bent. He tried to adjust them but realized they were welded on crooked! It was clear the tricycle really belonged on the “Island of Misfit Toys.” But Christmas must go on, so the tricycle remained tucked under the boughs of the tree.

The next morning my daughter was so excited Santa came. It didn’t take long before she noticed the tricycle. She peddled around the house on a crooked trike all morning, oblivious to its flaws. She was so happy. Nonetheless, we sent the misfit tricycle back to Santa’s workshop for repairs.

You would think Santa would be more careful the following year. Not so.

It's a camera! I wanted a camera! It's jus' what I wanted. But it's not a pink one.

–- An excited, yet disappointed daughter

My daughter, now 3, was very specific in her request for Santa. She wanted a children’s camera. She even drew him a picture — complete with glitter — and sent it to the North Pole. Because of the incident the previous year, Santa felt the need to get things right.

Christmas morning my blonde-haired little girl in pink Christmas pajamas began opening presents. She had already discovered bubble gum and toys in her stocking. She was so excited to unwrap her gift from Santa. Talking through the bubble gum in her mouth, she exclaimed, “It’s a camera! I wanted a camera! It’s jus’ what I wanted.” Santa was smiling.

But then my daughter realized Santa made a mistake. 3 year olds are not as forgiving as 2 year olds.

“But it’s not a pink one.” Her camera was clearly orange.

I realized what was happening and stepped in. I’ve got Santa’s back. “Oh, you wanted a pink one?”


“I think we forgot to tell Santa you wanted a pink one.” I paused for a moment. I needed time to think. What could I say to turn this around? “Orange is cool.”

“Ught-uh. I like pink better.”

Epic fail. This time we didn’t send the toy back. We were trying to teach a picky 3 year old to be grateful.

After two consecutive years of messing things up, Santa’s doing better. But his mistakes have taught me a few things about the pursuit of the perfect family Christmas. We may never get there, and that’s OK.


Because as we strive each year for the best Christmas, we make memories with family members along the way. I cherish those memories. That includes memories of Christmases gone wrong.

Because as we strive each year for the best Christmas, we make memories with family members along the way. I cherish those memories. That includes memories of Christmases gone wrong.

The year of the misfit bike I don’t remember the look on my daughter’s face when she sat on Santa’s lap for the first time or how darling our sugar cookies turned out. I remember that tricycle. I remember how hard my husband and I laughed when we realized what we had under the tree. I remember her little hands on the skiwampus handle bars, her feet barley reaching the pedals.

As for the camera complaint of 2007, I remember a darling little girl, with her mouth full of bubble gum. I don’t remember the parties we went to or the neighbor gifts we received.

Still to this day, the sweet sound of my daughter’s voice as she said “pink is better” melts my heart. I smile every time I think about it. She’s much bigger now. Time seems to pass too quickly.

We continue to have family memories of Christmas failures. And I love it. They are perfect. They are the best.

Nicole and her husband are raising four children, seven years and younger, including twin boys. Nicole owns Sidewalk Communications,LLC. For more of her favorite Christmas memories, visit her blog

Nicole Carpenter


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