In the days before child I used to get irritated by people saying “children ‘Make’ Christmas”. A psychiatrist would probably say this is because I spent so many childless years wishing I would have children. This may be true but I’d put it down to the fact I’m ususally up for any excuse to celebrate and even now capable of having a very good time without my children. There’s also the fact that I am extraordinarily easy to irritate.
I’ve noticed this year though, now my girls are getting on a bit, at the ripe old ages of 2 and 3, the run up to Christmas has been different. They’re much more aware of their surroundings. They ask more questions, “why?” being their favourite word of all time but this does get me to notice and sometimes appreciate things more.
It started around October, you know what it’s like, as soon as the “Back to School” stock and summer barbeques have been sold off, you start to see baubles and selection boxes sneak into their places. Now although I love Christmas, I’m inclined to be a little cynical that some Retailers start it so close to the end of Summer.
This year however when Jemima, my 2 year old and I were in the supermarket and we walked passed the early signs of The Festive Season, I followed her gaze. It was amazing to watch her in awe of the glitter of the decorations and the prettiness of the packaging of some fairly mediocre confectionery, she would ordinarily not have noticed.
Then at the end of November when shops were so full of tinsel, my toddlers could barely contain themselves, it was time for the town to switch on it’s lights. Never did I think I would relish standing in the freezing cold to watch some Z list celebrity switch on a few bulbs but it was a magical event to go to even without the buzz of mulled wine.
The little train that usually chugs round Pavillion Gardens rather half heartedly had been tarted up with lights, tinsel and dubbed as Santa’s train. Santa’s elf greeted us on board and I almost thought we could be on our way to Lapland. Only the sight of 2 blokes having a bundle on the platform reminded me it was just another Friday night in Buxton.
The first time we met Santa was bizarrely in Stockport. After my 3 year old, Izzie had thrown the most tremendous tantrum in the car park, we stepped into Santa’s spectacular grotto and were greeted by another elf. I could see my girls truly transported into a far away, fairytale world. Well, until Santa asked Izzie if she’d been a good girl, then she was snapped straight back to reality. She looked at him as if to say “Uh Oh so you know about the incident in the car park?” I’m ashamed to admit I have since regularly used Santa’s insightful powers to my advantage.
Once you’ve met Santa it’s officially time for Christmas songs. I couldn’t cope with the guilt of my girls not knowing the words to Christmas classics like “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer”. Besides there are few things more liberating than belting out the words to Mariah’s “All I want for Christmas”, with your little ones helping out in backing vocals.
With Christmas songs come the Christmas parties. I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of kid’s parties, especially if there’s a clown. I’ve never felt comfortable around clowns since watching Stephen King’s, “It”. Children’s Christmas parties are however in a league of their own. And I’ve seen some interesting things happen at parties. I went to a variety of Office Do’s when the trend of photocopying one’s backside was at it’s height. Personally I could never see the point but I do wonder what they do now in the absence of photocopiers? Scan it in maybe?
The parties my girls have been to this year have been much more fun and thankfully more civilised. At Jemima’s Jo Jingles party, it was heart warming to watch the children decorate a tree then toddle round it singing “Rocking around The Christmas Tree”. It may sound lame but trust me you had to be there. It was almost sad when the party came to an end and they danced to the last song in a sea of bubbles powered by the consumption of way too many chocolate coins.
Izzie did her first Christmas show this year. She sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in a trio. I admit as I heard her sing I was overwhelmed with emotion, even if it was the most off key, rendition of this song I’ve ever heard. In rehearsals Izzie used the wand she’d been given (for extra cuteness) to bat the other kids out of the way. It was a moment of sheer pride and relief to see her use her wand responsibly in the actual show.
Going to see Peter Pan, came a close second to Izzie’s show. I always remember Panto’s being full of cheesey jokes and dodgy songs but this show was packed with clever comedy and chart music. I even had the pleasure of seeing my Mother In Law dance “Gangnam Style”. Special effects are amazing now, my girls truly believed the characters could fly. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve stopped them “flying” off the sofa this week. I’m such a kill joy but I really don’t want us to end up in A & E.
At this time of year I can’t wait to see my family and friends who live so far away. I’m looking forward to everything, from going to church on Christmas morning with my Dad, to seeing the amazing Real Christmas tree my Mum beautifully decorates. All things considered though, while I truly believe it is still possible to have a good time without children, I must admit my two babygirls do ‘make’ Christmas extra special for me.