Our Christmas, 2012

This Christmas has been the most magical so far, as The Boy's belief in Father Christmas has grown daily.

Yes I am sure that I should be teaching him about the 'real' meaning of Christmas but for someone who has not been Christened and was not married in a church, does not attend church accept for hatches, matches or dispatches, and as an R.E. major and co-ordinator isn't particularly comfortable tying herself down to one religion, I find it difficult. I've commented a lot lately on social media that I believe the Christmasses of the 21st century are an opportunity for people to believe in the idea of this one unifying event. Much like Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, people in Britain seem to take it as an opportunity to be thankful for what we have, as a time of joy and happiness and peace with mankind, to demonstrate love and acceptance with their families. And for me this tweet from @FayC sums up perfectly why I think it's ok to have my son believing in Father Christmas.

As I said to someone else who stated she (quite rightly as a Christian) didn't want her child believing in the lie of Santa, "The non-Christian would point out that Jesus is just as much a mythical figure as Father Christmas." If he wears sackcloth and ashes, or a big red coat and has a white beard not a brown one, what does it matter if that person symbolises hope, love, forgiveness and kindness?

I've digressed. I know, I'm as surprised as you are.

On Christmas Eve we needed to do a little last-minute panic buying and so set off for Ikea to have lunch and pick up some picture frames for presents. As I drove up to the solid steel barrier indicating it was closed, I willed it to lift just for us. Where else could I get the cheap photoframes from? And The Boy had been promised meatballs! We reconvened in Pizza Hut and came up with a plan of action while Edward the Elf and The Boy enjoyed a last pizza together for this year.

Having finally tracked down the elusive last minute presents we went home for The Boy to have a (late) nap before our traditional viewing of The Polar Express. When he awoke, he discovered Edward had returned to the North Pole to sort out his presents with Father Christmas and had himself left a present of a new set of The Gruffalo pyjamas and a dressing gown. I loved the dressing gown, The Boy not so much; I think he's frightened of it.

We headed downstairs for a picnic tea in front of the television (a very rare treat) and settled down to watch the classic The Polar Express. Last year, The Boy had watched it and enjoyed it for the most part. This year he was enthralled; completely captivated by the whole thing. We stopped it ten minutes before the end for his bath, and he'd been blackmailed persuaded to wear the new pyjamas and dressing gown, we all settled down together to finish watching it. And yes, I cried.

The Boy absolutely adored the film and was truly caught up in the magic of the sitation, so I took advantage of this to introduce 'reindeer food' to him; basically porridge oats mixed with glitter. We stood in the back porch and I explained about the reindeer food. His eager little face took it all in and wide-eyed he reached to open the door, then tottered out onto the back steps in his dressing gown, pyjamas and slippers flinging the feed out into the breeze. Glancing up at the sky, we saw a moving white light & I told him it was Father Christmas' sleigh overhead and that he needed to get into bead quickly. We removed the fireguard so the Big Man didn't get stuck, placed a stool on the grate treasuring the snacks for Santa like it was a pedestal holding it up high. And then The Boy made me go and put some water in a bowl on the back step for the reindeer in case they were thirsty.

I took him upstairs to bed, read 'The Night Before Christmas' and he settled down listening out for reindeer hoofs on the roof.

As I didn't get to bed that night until 3.30am, I was so grateful that he slept in until gone 8 o'clock! We all raced downstairs to open our stockings and The Boy was genuinely content with that being his only presents; he had no idea that there were more in the dining room. His favourite presents were the Chocolate Orange and Funky Straw set from Father Christmas, who also managed to find him the much talked about robot. He also adored his new Playmobil set (a playground) and his Tap-Tap Art set.

Food was a lot more relaxed than it has been in the past; I ditched the idea of a starter, failed to make a Christmas pudding and so we had a Blackforest Trifle two hours after we'd finished our mains.

I made a filo tart with a creamed spinach, leeks, mushrooms and quorn filling for mum and myself, dad and Mr. TBaM had a four bird roast, and The Boy had a sausage. Side dishes were: roast potatoes; mashed potatoes; roasted Brussel sprouts with parmesan and butter; honey-glazed carrots and parsnips, swede and butternut squash mash. I killed the stuffing.

In the evening, I laid out a simple buffet for people to pick at, and after any hunger pangs had been quashed mum and dad went home, The Boy went to bed and we settled down to watch the recorded Christmas television programmes.

An excellent Christmas, thank you 2012!

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    • TheBoyAndMe says

      We did yes, although I managed to miss half of it somehow so it's just as well we recorded it. Merry Christmas!

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      This was the best Christmas I've ever had because of his complete enjoyment in the entire thing. Hope your two enjoyed it as well?

  1. Suzanne says

    How lovely – polar express and playmobil – two of my favourite things! Personally, as a Christian, I think it's ok to celebrate the mythical character of Santa as well as Jesus. Speaking from experience, children manage to differentiate real from fiction as they get older and discover God for thmselves (hopefully). Love your pictures, it really sums up your day well :)

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Thanks for commenting with that, we tell them about the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny as well don't we? Father Christmas is no different, but I can understand how devout Christians could worry about children getting mixed up with the pair, I just think they deserve more credit than parents seem prepared to give.

      Thanks for commenting.

      • Lauren says

        This is a really lovely post :) I think Christians can over think the Santa thing to be honest. I never once in my life thought that if Santa wasn't real then Jesus can't be either. Nor did I hold it against my parents for lying to me. Faith is very different to make believe. We should let children's imaginations have free reign – some of my happiest memories as a child are of Christmas mornings and the lengths my mum went to to make me believe Santa was real! :) xx

  2. says

    Sounds like a wonderful Christmas indeed- I am looking forward to Mads knowing a little more whats going on next year as this year she was a bit overwhelmed by it all.
    I completely agree with you about the idea of Father Christmas- and that he does embody hope, happiness, kindness and love.
    I am not particularly religious but I do want Mads to grow up to know that there are other meanings behind Christmas- however I also believe that Father Christmas is a wonderful symbol of a very special holiday. x

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      For some reason I find it difficult to bring up the Nativity story with The Boy. God and Jesus are difficult concepts to explain to a child, and I've surprised myself in being uncomfortable with his experiences so far of religion. I'm an RE co-ordinator so believe it's important to teach children about the different faiths, but I don't believe in indoctrination which is why I removed The Boy from a playgroup when I heard him singing 'Jesus' love is very wonderful' in the dining room one day. I'll allow him to explore and choose but my way, not through being forced.

      As an aside (and what I meant to say to you) I thought last year was great because he was excited about Christmas, this year was even better because his belief in the big man was so strong.

      Thanks for commenting.

  3. says

    It sounds magical indeed and I enjoyed the rant too, Father Christmas will be questioned all too soon so making the most of these early years is a parents indulgence not to be missed. I love the glitter and porridge mix, beats our carrot hands down!

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      We left a carrot out as well, but I think the reindeer food was for them to graze on in the garden, and also the magic glitter lit the way to our house. At least that's what I told him!

  4. says

    Fantastic, they are at such a lovely age aren't they. I loved every minute of our Christmas and it sounds like you had a lovely one too. Sounds a bit more planned and creative than ours though, well done :)

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I don't have a young baby to contend with though, I'm sure that completely changes the goal posts. Christmas is so much better with children isn't it?

  5. Jenny Paulin says

    It sounds like a really magical Christmas and he looks so happy and full of the festive fun and magic. I always cry at the end of The Polar Express it just hits my inner child perfectly!
    I really like the reindeer food idea *makes note for next year* that's very clever a d lovely.
    Can't believe what time you got to bed though!! Goodness just aswell he slept in for you!!
    Anyway thanks for sharing your lovely memories a d photos its lovely to see xx

    • Jenny Paulin says

      Oh yes and ps. Father Christmas is important at Christmas to believe in and is magical and a huuuuge part of Xmas so should be part of it for those of us with children x

      • TheBoyAndMe says

        I had visions of me wrapping his presents at 8pm in a relaxed manner, not frantically wrapping them at 12.15am! Thank God I'd already done everyone else's beforehand!

        And completely right about the big FC!

  6. Johanna says

    We have both Jesus and Santa. I don't make a big deal out of Santa, but I don't deny him either; we tracked his progress with NORAD just before we went to church on Christmas Eve.
    I think this story is taking it too far though: friends of my cousin had been to visit other friends on Christmas Eve, and taken gifts for the child they were visiting. My cousin's friends were not allowed to give the gift directly to the child as the parents didn't want to 'spoil the Santa magic'. In that house *all* gifts came from Santa, none came from family or friends. I think that is very sad.
    One advantage of a large scattered family is that Christmas is a week long festival for us; we had presents at home on Tuesday, then more on Boxing Day at my aunt's house and there will be more partying tomorrow when we meet up with the rest of the family at my brother's house.
    Enjoy the rest of your holidays!

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I think you have a beautiful blend of the myth and the religion. That story you've shared though is horrifying! In our house Father Christmas leaves the presents in the stocking and anything under the tree is from people to show our appreciation and that we love and care for each other.

      We had Christmas with my sister on Boxing Day at mum and dad's, and another Christmas tomorrow with the outlaws. It does help spread the festivities out doesn't it?

  7. Tammy says

    I'm a Christian, my 3 children all attend Sunday school each week, I don't necessarily believe absolutely everything the bible says but take the words and hopefully use the stories message to be a better person. However I digress our church, Sunday school & church moms & tots group all fully embrase the idea of Santa with him turning up to all 3 along side teaching the nativity story for moms and tots nativity one of the 3 kings even dressed as Santa so I don't think the 2 necessary clash

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I think that the Bible has some really good messages in there, at the end of the day Jesus is teaching people to be kind and love one another, and to have faith. I'm an RE co-ordinator and insist on assemblies reflecting the Bible (aside from it being a legal obligation) so that the children have at least one reference to it in their lives.

      I think I may have been 'irked' by this conversation I had on twitter, I also don't see why they have to clash.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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