‘What?’ ‘You’re joking.’ ‘No way!’ ‘You’re funny Mummy.’ What you may ask was my suggestion to the children to elicit these responses from them. With a hopeful tone, I dropped this on them, ‘How about we don’t do the whole Christmas thing this year and go away on a cheap holiday in the sun instead?’
So, as the kids were not up for my ‘ditching Christmas’ idea, traditional extravaganza it is then. I decided I’d best gird my loins with tinsel and get this show on the road. I ‘hauled the decs’ out of the loft, threw the Yuletide, Mariah Carey CD on and we set about Christmasifying our home. You’ll be pleased to know that I let the children place the baubles where they liked on the tree, no readjustments from me. However, I did only allow them to have boxfuls of goodies that would match our new decor; just silver, white and light blue adornments allowed.
With the festive mood filtering through our home, I turned my attention to presents. I gave the children my usual spiel about Christmas being a time for remembering whose birthday we were celebrating and that it wasn’t all about what they were gonna get! I heard myself rattling off the phrase, ‘The important thing is that we are all together.’ ‘Yeah right Mum,’ my teenager smirked. With that, I gave them each a piece of paper and a pencil and asked them to write a list. To their credit, the three older ones only put around four items on their lists. The only thing that my little gal could think of that she wanted, was a doll. Never mind that she already has 12. In her mind, one can never have too many babies. The irony of that is not lost on me and it is certainly at Christmastime that I understand why many families stick with the average 2.4 children, WAY cheaper! Before I allow you to think that my children are complete saints for having provided such short lists, I should perhaps point out that at the top of each of their lists in shouty capitals was written, MONEY. The cheeky little imps.
Now, as those of you with children already know, our little treasures have a knack for scanning each others' stashes and knowing right away if the piles aren’t even. Present count is an important part of the preparation. I would like to think that my older ones are beginning to understand that as they grow up, their presents become fewer due to the fact that their wants become exceedingly more expensive. For the littlies however, quantity and even distribution is important. My advice in this department; if something comes in parts, then wrap each one completely separately to prolong the ‘opening enjoyment process’.
As I think back on my childhood, I can’t remember what I got for Christmas when I was six, or nine or even fourteen. What I do remember is the wonderful feeling in the room as all of the family gathered, opened gifts and basked in the joyous atmosphere of that special time of togetherness. I get that, at the moment, my kids are still of the age where Christmas is about the gifts but I also seek to provide them with the magical moments of shared togetherness because that’s what I want them to be able to look back on with fondness when they are grown up.
So, as we pause to celebrate in our own special ways, from my home to yours this Christmas, I wish you magical moments of shared togetherness that will linger in your and your loved ones’ memories for years to come.