I love Christmas, there I’ve said it, it’s out in the open. No grumblings of discontent or bah humbug, just a straightforward and enduring love affair between me and the spirit of Christmas, past, present and future.
Of course like all relationships we’ve had our ups and downs…
Such as discovering that my oven didn’t work one Christmas morning and having to cut the turkey into four separate pieces to get it into the (tiny) secondary oven (my how we laughed). Or learning that a freshly unwrapped present needed batteries to make it work.
Then there was the year that my mother in law contracted Norovirus on Christmas Eve, which led to a highly charged hostage situation involving a Christmas dinner and a very grumpy father in law.
Or perhaps my personal favourite, spending New Year’s Eve alone with my wife and consuming so much festive cheer that we ended up getting stuck in our baby’s travel cot just after the bells had chimed. (No child was harmed in the making of this night as she was upstairs in the main cot at the time).
So what will this year bring? Surely in these austere times our festive frolics will be a little muted and restrained perhaps? Well to be honest no, because I have a secret weapon. I’ve been given the gift of being able to view Christmas afresh through the eyes of a child and that is a present indeed!
You see our toddler will be three in February and this year she REALLY, really gets Christmas for the first time. Cue mass excitement!
Which is why every morning she wakes up greeting the day with cries of “Santa Claus coming to town” or “Santa got stuck up the chimney” before rushing downstairs to gaze at the ‘dancing’ lights on the Christmas Tree.
Her (limited) viewing fare consists of endless cartoons from the likes of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck trimming trees and saving Christmas whilst Rudolf and the boys or the Snowman take flight in the sky above.
She has also started to develop a liking for Stollen Cake and only yesterday we were forced to sit in the living room and share our ‘present’ ideas, shouted in the ear of a cuddly Santa she had sitting on her knee, accompanied by occasional “ho, ho, ho’s” muttered under her breath.
Thankfully it’s not just about Santa though, as she has asked us about the nativity and the birth of Christ, sort of, although it does seem to have translated in her head as being all about getting a pink baby for Christmas, which will no doubt end up being swaddled and laid beneath the tree at some point in the proceedings, thus rather neatly tying together you might say, the twin themes of a modern Christmas.
One thing I can say is that despite having already purchased the ‘famed double issue’ of the Radio Times and circled the perennial favourites, the chances of settling down to actually watch any television will be nil.
But in a way that is surely the point. We can watch TV anytime. Christmas should be about fun and toys and games and silly conversations, of family cheer and the knowledge that there really is hope in the world for better things. Which ultimately makes it all worthwhile.
It’s going to be touch and go as to whether my daughter lasts the week or bursts with excitement along the way and frankly I know exactly how she feels.