ChangingDad

Making the most of a new life


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The ChangingDad 12 Blogs of Christmas: 8. Eve

The boys are now in bed. They have had a few presents and had a chance to get to know them and play with them. There has been much excitement with tearing of paper and joyous looks on their faces.

Then comes my favourite part. The bit where we put out the stockings, leave a drink and mince pie for Father Christmas, and go outside and leave sparkly reindeer food on the drive, and a carrot on the doorstep, and then persuade them to go to bed in their excitement: otherwise he might not come. Sure it is subterfuge, but of the nicest kind, and they both take part in the ceremony with great keenness, and I just love concocting a story for them.

So after all the build up, the planning and the suspense Christmas has finally begun, and it was very nice to sit down with Karen, have a glass of wine and open our presents to each other (that way we could actually open them ourselves). It was a lovely quiet oasis in the middle of an otherwise extremely full-on time of the year, and it was great just to sit and reflect and be with each other. Who knows how short the night will be, but I did tell Jake that Father Christmas comes around 8am on Christmas morning. Let’s see whether that one works.

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas. May it be everything you want it to be.

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The ChangingDad 12 Blogs of Christmas: 5. The Three Letters

There are three envelopes sitting on our mantlepiece. Inside, apparently, are three letters to Santa. I say apparently because we have no idea what is inside them. Jake brought them home from school and they have been living there for a couple of weeks now.

It could be that the contents of these letters are quite mundane, a series of pictures or collages that Jake has made for Santa; or they could separately or collectively represent a list.

Jake’s definitive Christmas list?

We have asked him about the contents but his reply is always “it’s a secret, just for Santa”, but for Santa to take on Christmas night (not when visiting him in his Grotto).  Because of this we are eager to know what is in these well-sealed envelopes, but certainly do not feel as if we should open them, not yet anyway.

We can only  open them on Christmas night as part of Father Christmas’s ‘visit’ to our house and it will be interesting whether the contents of these letters matches the contents of the parcels sitting below them. If not, we will have to see whether this will matter to Jake, after all he has been known to change his mind in the past.

As we know all too well it is not long to wait now, and I can certainly feel the suspense.


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The ChangingDad 12 Blogs of Christmas: 4. Grotto

My wife, Karen, finds the notion of taking children to Santa’s Grotto as being something rather unusual, since it is not something that people really do in Germany. She says that it provides British people with another excuse to do some queueing, a stereotype of which I think most of we British are rightly proud.

Whether or not she is right, one thing is for sure: if you want to take your children to a grotto then you can expect to queue, and queue, and queue; with lots of other parents getting slowly more exasperated. I certainly find myself standing there thinking: “just how long does it take for a child to see him” as the snake of people progresses all to slowly, and we have certainly spent a significant part of December standing in such queues.

To what end? Meeting someone dressed in a red suit with a beard, telling our boys they had better be good, asking them what they want and usually handing out low quality toys. On the face of it it is not really worth the wait.

Except it is. Because no matter how grotty the grotto, the boys come out with a sense of wonder. On more than one occasion this time Jake has become so overawed that he as been completely tongue tied and had been unable to recall anything from his well-constructed and comprehensive Christmas list. Sam usually stands there shouting ‘papa istmas’. Both love the experience, and I have loved taking them; and let’s face it once we are in there I do not care how long it takes.

It surely is not my imagination that there has been something of a proliferation of grottos over the last few years. They are everywhere: in stores, on trains, in schools (Santa was at Jake’s school twice), in museums and, yes, even in churches. I seems an obligatory part of any Christmas scene, and we have had to steer the boys past one on more than one occasion this year. After all if we go to too many they might begin to suspect that Father Christmas is spreading himself a bit thin, and that would not do at all.