CHRISTMAS – They’ll remember your presence not your presents

At the time of typing this I’m yet to hear ‘The Pogues – Fairytale of New York’ so I cannot officially declare Christmas started. I have seen the Coca Cola advert so there is no denying that ‘Holidays are coming.’ If you look at our lounge there is also no denying that Christmas is on the radar.

Halloween was one single day, yet lasted a fortnight in our lives, so I’m in it for the long haul with Christmas. I’d managed to negotiate with Toby that Christmas preparations could not start until his 5th birthday (24th November) had been and gone. As a lawyer I’m used to negotiations but when it comes to a 5-year-old/Christmas combo I’m woefully under skilled.

Christmas as a child

I remember Christmas as a child and how the excitement built. I also remember my family enjoying (enduring?!) Christmas shows I used to put on playing my Clarinet and dragging my younger brother along behind me. Toby informs me he is a rock star playing a Saxophone in the school nativity so maybe we’ve also got this to look forward to. I don’t remember there being a rock star present on that eventful night. Maybe one of the 3 wise men?

Christmas as an adult

Then Christmas changes as you become an adult. Boozy work parties, boozy family gatherings, boozy everything in my experience. Stuffing yourself stupid with Christmas dinner and pudding. Declaring you couldn’t possibility eat another thing and then 3 hours later out come the cold meats and pickles. Basically regressing to the 3 hour feeding schedule of a newborn. Falling into a food coma after the Queen’s speech then waking up on Boxing Day to stuff yourself silly on the Twix celebrations (the Malteser ones having been snuffled around the 5th December.)

Christmas with children

Christmas with children is another game changer. Each year as Toby has got older it’s become more exciting. So many questions about Santa and his Elves. Excitement at decorating the tree. Concern at how Santa will get in as we don’t have a chimney. We have a key now so Santa can let himself in. And he wants to DO. IT. ALL.

This Sunday he’s ‘decorated’ the tree. I use the term ‘decorated’ loosely because it looks like he’s just thrown the box of ornaments at it and thought ‘yup, that’ll do.’ It’s also bare around the bottom but that’s probably best considering the inquisitive 1 year and the potential choking hazards. Normally I’d spend a little time re-decorating but this year I’m just going to leave it be. Perfectly imperfect.

The pre-built (learnt my lesson there) gingerbread house has been decorated. I was worried it would go stale long before the big event. At the rate it’s being consumed I needn’t worry.

Letter to Santa posted. Included within the list is: a rubber, a water bottle and a nice disco! Last year he asked for a cup of tea! I haven’t written a letter on Chloe’s behalf but from experience I know she’ll be happy with a cardboard box.

Christmas Elves

The Elves have put in an appearance. Toby was most perturbed they didn’t arrive on Saturday. I managed to construct a story/lie about them being late due to Santa being poorly and their help being needed in the North Pole. He accepted that explanation. When I pointed to the smoke detector and tried to suggest it was Santa’s camera watching he laughed and told me it was the smoke detector.

Sadly one of the elves has gone ‘too hard too soon’ and was whisked back to the North Pole today to see the Elf doctor.  Toby remains optimistic he will return.  Sadly I think his chances of survival are rather slim.

Our elves don’t get up to much mischief but rather help us out managing behavior. Last year I bought a Christmas pack that includes, red, amber and green reward cards. Every night the elves vanish and then turn up somewhere with a card. Toby gets so excited when he gets a green card and if last year is repeated hopefully we’ll have a good month. Tip for the future – you’re welcome.

So that’s it for week 1. We’ve already done a fair bit but it wasn’t planned and was mainly at Toby’s request. This year I’m just going with the flow. I’m not planning the arse end out of Christmas and not comparing mine to anyone else’s. I want to spend it with the people who matter the most to me and we’ll do it our way.

At the end of the day the people that matter the most to you will remember your presence, not your presents.

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