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!