Hope's Corner: It's Only Christmas

"I have no siblings...Holidays are sometimes a challenge for onlies," writes Jackie Hope.

Jackie Hope BW.jpg
Jackie Hope is the longest running Dickinson Press contributor and columnist. Hope's Corner is a weekly humorous column with a message of hope.
Contributed / For The Dickinson Press
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There are many, many advantages to being an only child. Especially at Christmastime. Every single toy that Santa leaves under the Christmas tree is yours. So are all the packages of underwear and socks. But, hey, socks are cool.

There are always enough pieces of cake and pie for you to have seconds. There are always leftover cookies in the freezer. If you want two hot dogs, you can have two hot dogs. You always have a bedroom to yourself. And nobody reads your diary.

You get all your mom’s and dad’s attention. They are always available to help with homework. And your dad teaches you how to drive the family car – ours was an aged Chrysler Imperial with fins! – because your mom hates to drive.

Of course, there are a few minor downsides, too. Like when you forget to shut the door to the hamsters' cage and the little guys get out. And your mom finds one in the laundry room doorway at 6:00 in the morning. You can tell her that they learned to open the door by themselves, but you cannot blame it on a younger sibling.

From that Great Escape Day onward, my mom put a tiny padlock on the door to my hamsters’ cage. And, by the way, the other hamster crawled in bed with me that night and slept on my pillow.


When anything gets broken, and your mom asks, “Who did this?” you can only blame the dog a few times. Especially when something like particularly interesting collectible salt and pepper shakers get pulled off a high curio shelf. Because you were only wanting to touch them just a little bit.

After the third or fourth mishap, I asked my mom for a cat, to cover that type of accident, should it happen again. We did not get a cat. We did have numerous more accidents with the salt and pepper shakers. Little Red Riding Hood was totally held together by adhesive tape by the time I entered first grade.

You never get games for Christmas, because there is only you. The first time I got to play Monopoly, I was so enthralled that I refused to leave Annie’s house. I think she let me win, so her family could finally have dinner and go to bed. From then on Annie and I made sure each play date ended in a sleepover.

Now, imagine being an only child who has a birthday three days after Christmas. Today, in fact. Birthday parties for Christmas kids are hit or miss, because many of your friends are away visiting relatives.

Everyone in your family, except you, has eaten so many Christmas goodies that the thought of a birthday cake makes all your cousins cringe. Your elderly aunts and uncles give you a gift – usually socks – at Christmas and say, “This is for your birthday, too.”

Luckily, to this day, I purely love socks. And donuts. Nobody ever gave me donuts for my birthday, though. Yet.

Jackie Hope is the longest running Dickinson Press contributor and columnist. "Hope's Corner" is a weekly humorous column centered on a message of hope for residents in southwest North Dakota.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Dickinson Press, nor Forum ownership.

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