Remember how exciting Christmas used to be? Laying out the mince pie for Santa on Christmas Eve and hoping that he just happens to like the same brand of whisky as your dad (somehow, he always did!). Afterwards, you’d go upstairs to bed and scrunch your eyes shut as tightly as you could muster, willing yourself to fall asleep so that the next day would come quicker. When Christmas morning arrived, you’d pad downstairs in your pyjamas at five o’clock in the morning, holding your breath as your mum opened the living room door, terrified that you might not have done enough to earn yourself a stocking that year and would instead receive the lump of charcoal your dad had warned you was reserved for the “naughty” children.
Santa had, of course, always come, and left an array of wonderful presents, making the most mundane of items -a pen, some stickers, a pencil case-seem magical in the way only Father Christmas could (even if you did happen to notice that his elves did their Christmas shopping in ‘Asda’.)
As a child, Christmas was without a doubt the best day of the year. It was the only day you could wake your parents up at the crack of dawn and get away with it without being sent back to bed. You were allowed to eat chocolate for breakfast and watch whatever you wanted on T.V. Your dad would be out in the kitchen, cooking Christmas dinner and whistling a cheerful tune while your mum played her festive C-D on the stereo, reminding you that you had to wait until after lunch to open your highly anticipated “main presents”. As adults, Christmas is still an extremely enjoyable day, during which we get spoiled with presents, are able to eat as much food as we want without any guilt before crashing out and watching the specials on TV. However, it cannot be disputed that the “magical” part of the day involving Santa Claus and his enchanted sleigh becomes sorely missed once that part of Christmas is over.
Now that my eldest son is almost two and my second is on the way, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how to recreate the magic of Christmas for them so I can pass on the fond memories I have of the day from my own childhood. I’ve spent hours researching, trolling the depths of Amazon and notonthehighstreet.com to find the best Christmas themed items they have to offer! With everything from Santa cushion covers to Snowmen mugs to an actual Christmas toilet-seat lid (yes, that really exists!) I’ve managed to fill my wish lists with every piece of festive décor they have to offer. It’s definitely safe to say this is the most enthusiastic I’ve ever been about Christmas since reaching adulthood and given half the chance, I would probably turn my whole house into a Christmas Grotto- despite the fact my partner would almost definitely move out if I did!
This year will be our first Christmas as a family of four and that in itself will make the day more special for me than it’s ever been before. When it all comes down to it, the thing I’m looking forward to the most ( other than maybe being able to have my first glass of champagne in months!) is seeing my son’s smiling face when he opens the presents I’ve carefully selected for him. Most of his stocking items are activities that we can do together, such as painting our own Christmas decorations and filling in a Santa Claus sticker book. The most valuable thing I’ll receive as a gift that day is good, old-fashioned quality time with my family, which will make the day wonderful, regardless of how many items from my wish list I manage to purchase. After all, when you’re a grown-up, being with people you love and seeing them truly happy for the entire day is what the ‘magic’ of Christmas is all about- even if you do secretly miss Santa and his reindeers.