When Christmas is first mentioned I become Scrooge-like. After two awful Christmases as a teen the ghost of Christmas past haunted me for years. Working in retail where Christmas began in October wasn’t fun either, especially having to listen to the Christmas cd on a loop for 3 months!
As soon as we head into December though I actually start getting into the spirit of it and it’s because of the children. Their view of Christmas is so innocent and magical that you can’t help but get caught up with it. I get them making decorations for the tree, baking Christmas cookies and making a list for Santa by cutting pictures out of Christmas catalogues, just as I did as a child. We also spend an evening driving around looking for the brightest lit house.
I don’t particularly enjoy Christmas shopping but I do look forward to the Christmas markets, especially the Street Fair and Festive Market in Woodbridge. We’ve been lucky with the children’s choices of presents as they’ve never wanted that must-have toy that parents can queue for hours to get and we stick to a strict budget as it’s so easy to go overboard. They get more than enough presents anyway!
Last year saw their first ever trip to Santa’s Grotto. We went to Highway Garden Centre in Norfolk where there was a lovely Narnia themed grotto. Seeing their faces as they spoke to Santa was priceless.
Every night In December we’re asked ‘How many more sleeps until Santa comes?’ and with the countdown they get more and more excited. On Christmas Eve it’s almost unbearable! The children put a note out for Santa telling him where the ‘Magic Key’ is as we don’t have a fireplace and we leave some carrots, cookies & juice out.
Last year, I left a couple of boot prints on the carpet (talcum powder sprinkled around a boot) and Santa’s note to the children had him apologising for leaving a mess on Mummy’s floor because he didn’t have time to take his boots off. They loved it.
On Christmas morning they raced downstairs and the shouts of “He’s been, he’s been!” brought a tear to my eye and a lump to my throat. THAT’S what Christmas is all about when you have children.
*This article was originally published in Cheeky Boo! magazine