This is my daughter’s third Christmas.
The first was when she was not yet six weeks old and my husband and I were still very much in that new baby haze. She was feeding around the clock and we hadn’t managed to get anyone to take her reflux seriously so we were sleep deprived, slightly desperate and not really in the festive spirit. Add to that snow and flooding and it was all a bit much.
I have a vivid memory of trying to wrap presents with her screaming at me from the bouncer that she never used again, and both of us ending up in tears (pro tip – gift bags are completely acceptable. And Amazon now do a wrapping service I believe).
Her second Christmas, predictably, she had just turned one.
Having started toddling about six weeks prior, was now unstoppable.
She didn’t have an idea what was going on but was enjoying the lights and loved the wrapping paper. She was spoiled absolutely rotten by both sets of grandparents and extended family to the point where we couldn’t fit everything in the car.
I was also around 14 weeks pregnant and feeling fairly shocking. And obviously, not drinking. I have a lovely family and good in laws, but not drinking at all at Christmas, when other people are entertaining your toddler for a change, seems mightily unfair.
This year she’s two and can finally appreciate the idea of Christmas.
Maybe not as much as a three or four year old, but at least she knows she’s getting presents and based on her second birthday, she’s very good at unwrapping them.
This has meant that my husband and I have had to have ‘the conversation’.
How does Father Christmas work?
In hindsight this is probably something that should be discussed before having children. Possibly on a first date (not awkward at all), because presuming you didn’t have identical childhoods there will most certainly be different ideas about how things go down.
Does Santa bring all the presents? Just some? What about presents from other people?
Does Santa bring them and we wrap them?
Or do we (I) need to buy separate wrapping paper and hide it? She’s two for goodness sake, I’m sure she won’t notice…
Are there any presents around the tree before Christmas eve or do they all magically appear overnight?
Do you need to leave whiskey out for Santa? Just how much whiskey does one man need to drink in one night, even a magical one? Surely a mince pie and a carrot for the reindeer should be enough? No, definitely whiskey you say dear?
Do you leave teeth marks in the carrot from the reindeer? Do they need to be authentic?
When are the kids allowed to unwrap their presents? All at once at 5am, one an hour, stockings in the morning and the others in the afternoon?
How is it fair that some old fat beardy dude takes the credit for it all? It isn’t. Nothing about being a parent is fair.
The baby is, of course, blissfully unaware of it all.
And yet, for some reason, we feel compelled to get him presents too to make sure that he isn’t left out. We even paid an extortionate premium for him to see Father Christmas despite the fact that neither kid actually wanted to be there or looked like they were anything but horrified. However, I suspect that as much as Christmas is for kids, it’s also for the parents of kids who are too young to understand.
Dressing them up in matching festive clothing is why you have children.
In case you were wondering.