sooooo....growing up i did not like carrots, no way no how. i didn't like them with pot roast, dipped in ranch dressing, and most certainly not on Christmas Eve. You see there was a conspiracy in our family, it was started by my dear grandmother. grandma irene was english and i believe this awful "vegetable-type" punishment may have been an english thing. weeks before the big day (Christmas) my sister and i and i believe all of our cousins were threatened by a carrot and we took these threats seriously my friends!
on Christmas Eve when all 37 of us were gathered in g. & g.'s living room santa would show up and guess what he was ALWAYS carrying? well, of course there was a bag of toys for the good kids-but there was also a carrot on a big stick. not just any carrot either. it was real, it was huge, it was hideous and it was rammed on the end of a big stick. the person who's name was on top of the naughty list would be receiving said carrot. the big guy in red would walk around the room, stopping to look each person in the eye and reminisce about whether they had been good and had listened to their parents etc....i am not-even-kidding when i say that me and i think every other kid in that room was secretly shaking in their new christmas tights-thinking to ourselves "he knows, he saw what i did, this year it will be ME!"
one of the funniest parts of looking back on this tradition is the simple fact that no child ever received it. it was always uncle stan, or uncle jay...and why didn't i ever notice how much santa resembled uncle paul?????
there must have been a collective sigh of relief when each year that awful carrot had been given out and we could get on with the wild rumpus~but now, as a parent myself, i can see the simple beauty in the ability to get your kids to shape right up in those weeks leading up to Christmas, with the question "do you want to get the carrot on a big stick?"
*do what you have to do, parents out there. it only kind of scarred us for life : )