'Tis the Season

by Bob Smiley as told to Bob Smiley

I love my dad, and I’m not just saying that because he’s about to do final Christmas shopping. I love him because he knows a lot about everything. Here are his answers to a few questions I asked today:

Me: Why is the sky blue?
Dad: So you know where to stop mowing.

Me: Why do bubbles pop when I touch them?
Dad: Because you don’t wash your hands.

Me: What are atoms made of?
Dad: Proteins, elections and Jimmy Neutrons.

Me: Where are my socks?
Dad: On your feet.

Me: Why is your eye twitching?
Dad: Too many questions.

See, the man is a genius! My mom is the same way.


Every Christmas I try to get my parents gifts that show how much I appreciate them. The problem is stores don’t realize kids don’t have money. I mow lawns in the summer, but that money is gone by December. (Actually, it’s usually gone before I’m done mowing the lawn.)

I like to make gifts, so here are a few do-it-yourself ideas:

Picture Frame: Eat four Popsicles and then glue the sticks into a square. First time I did this, my mom wondered why I was eating four Popsicles when it was snowing outside. “You’ll see!” is not a good answer.

Potpourri: Go into the woods and gather good-smelling leaves and twigs. Put them in a blender. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, dried apples and orange peels. Blend on “High” for one minute or until your mom catches you using the blender.

Snowman: Take a white Styrofoam cup and turn it upside down. Glue a golf ball on top. Use a marker to draw a face on the golf ball and stick three buttons on the cup. Take two twigs out of your potpourri to make arms.

Calendar: All you need is 12 sheets of paper. Draw a picture on one side and the month’s dates on the other. Add holidays in the appropriate squares. (Note: Parents won’t believe it’s your birthday every month, no matter how many times you write it in.)

Jar of Nothing: When asked, most parents will say they want “nothing” for Christmas. Let them know you listened! Give them an empty jar labeled “Everything you wanted for Christmas.”

Coupons: Easy to make, but learn from my mistakes. Put “Coupons Cannot Be Photocopied,” because my dad still has about 800 “Will Clean Room” coupons. Don’t leave room for your dad to write in other things; I’m quite certain I never wrote “Will also clean toilets forever.” And avoid stuff you don’t want to do. I once wrote “Free Foot Rub” without really looking at my dad’s feet. That was the grossest five minutes of my life.

I hope that helps! Starting with the birth of Jesus, Christmas is all about love. So be sure to show your parents how much you love them. And I’d love to get your ideas for gifts this year, because I’m tired of cleaning the bathroom.

This article originally appeared in the December 2008 issue of Focus on the Family Clubhouse magazine. Copyright © 2008 by Bob Smiley. Used by permission. Illustration © Gary Locke.