I am one of those annoying, smug people who start Christmas shopping in the January sales and have two full present drawers on-standby for kids’ parties, emergency gifts for the neighbour’s cat etc.
However, when it comes to buying for my own children I think they have collectively wiped any smugness from my face with one, very belated letter to Santa.
I have been quizzing my three kids about what they want for Christmas for the last two months. Having three of them means that between them they’ve pretty much got toys covered. Puzzles, games etc get passed down through the respective ages. My older daughter duly passes her Polly Pockets and the like to my younger daughter and my son is perfectly happy re-enacting the demise of the dinosaurs with the help of Iron Man, Sonic and Mike Leboswki. My older daughter has also just had her ninth birthday, so anything she had a penchant for was covered there.
So, when I asked my kids what they want, they honestly didn’t know. ‘THE’ toy to have doesn’t seem to exist any more and, thanks to my secreting of the Argos catalogue, they are perfectly happy with the ones they’ve got.
We don’t go overboard on toys. I did one year and, true to form, what ensued was the mechanical ripping of paper and casting aside of presents I had lovingly selected, wrapped and paid too much money for. I don’t think that’s my kids being ungrateful, I think that’s just kids. However, it made me appreciate that all they need are a few presents, ones they will love and play with and with make their eyes widen when they peep inside the ripped corner of the parcel.
Anyway, this year, without the help of my offspring, I chose what to buy them and it was with some pride that I told my husband I thought I’d made some pretty good selections.
Then, last week, we watched Arthur Christmas. A brilliant film, truly inspired. Except it inspired my three children to huddle up and write letters to Santa, 19 days before Christmas, fully expecting to get exactly what they asked for (like the girl in the film) and to get a response from Santa (via Arthur I suspect).
Now, I respect my kids’ privacy so I duly waited until they went to bed before I opened the letters.
My youngest daughter: One set of super-hero figures ‘like my bruvvers’
My Son: An Arsenal football (apologies to my Chelsea-lovin’ Italian relations).
My eldest daughter: A scooter with two wheels. A purple one.
So, NOTHING vaguely relating to what I have actually bought then.
For good measure, my nine-year old also asked a myriad of questions and ended with ‘p.s. Please reply.’
Last year, The Royal Mail (bless ‘em) did indeed reply to the letters we posted (I had the foresight to add a name, house number and postcode on the back…just in case). But they were lovely, generic, ho ho ho letters. This year they’re after specifics.
So, I have Hobson’s choice really. Either I buy what they have asked for and fuel their belief in ol’ Saint Nick, prolonging their precious childhood and giving all the glory to the guy in red OR, I have to come up with some bloody good reasons why Father Christmas ignored their requests, write them in a letter (along with statistics for how many children there are in the world, how many elves are at the North Pole and what Mrs Christmas’ real name is) and post them back to my children, no doubt all written in some scrawly handwriting with a few mince pie crumbs scattered in for authenticity.