The life and times of a happy go lucky blogger in London
Do your kids still believe in Father Christmas?
Categories: blogging mums

The thing about Christmas, is that while everyone complains about being bombarded by commercialised holidays and the pressure to consumer anything and everything avidly for the duration of the season, there are hundreds of thousands kids who absolutely love it.  And then, there are those slightly older children that are beginning to think that Rudolph doesn’t really eat the carrots left out for him and Father Christmas doesn’t really pop down the chimney in the middle of the night and that perhaps it’s a slightly tipsy Mum or Dad that shuffles in to their room with a sack of presents at an ungodly hour while they’re fast asleep.

Not believing in Father Christmas is a symptom of Secondary School in our house and the Year 7s have been coolly discussing their lack of belief.  While it’s more poignant than painful to sense this change of perspective that my 11 year old and her friends are experiencing, I feel like there is a small window of opportunity to redeem this sense of wonder that surrounds Christmas, if only to a tiny degree.

When Polar Express came out a few years ago, we went to see it at the cinema and it was a really sweet and life affirming film.  ’Of course you’ll never stop believing in Father Christmas,’ I said when bright eyes looked up at me beseechingly as we left the theatre.  So hoping that Arthur Christmas would have the same effect, albeit few years on, off we went to Westfield for an Orange Wednesdays treat; and yawned our way through the film.  It just didn’t measure up.  It was an average story and we left deflated and resolutely unfestive!

Trying again with the animated film format, we watched A Christmas Carol after a lazy Sunday lunch and it was great – scary, spirited (literally) and of course, it’s one of the great Dickens’s stories.  It still hadn’t quite hit the spot.

Presented with a free day off school (or rather the November 30 strikes) I decided I would take direct action myself and book a slot in the grotto and a skating session for my daughter and her best friend.

‘What? The (groan) grotto?  We don’t want to go there – it’s rubbish!’

‘Don’t be silly, there’ll be loads of kids your age going – school will be shut so what else will there be to do?’

‘I’m only going if we can go skating…’

And so the morning arrived and we went to ‘The Grotto’.  I think a trip to an abattoir would have been better received, but I remained resolute and unperturbed as I joined the queue and told the friendly Elves I would be back to collect the girls in 40 minutes.

‘You can’t let them go in unaccompanied I’m afraid,’ said the Elf-in-Charge.  Damn, I thought, I’m going to have to sit through this myself?!  And so in I went as well.

We sat through a 5-D move extravaganza (whatever that is) and then the girls went to meet Father Christmas.  He was very jolly with a South African accent and a red nose, there was also a professional camera set up to capture the moment and pictures were on sale for £15 a pop at the end.  And who said Christmas wasn’t commercial? I thought.

They did get gifts.  They were shoved in a bag and they proceeded to the ice rink to get their boots on and risk life and limb on a giant ice cube.  45 minutes later, with rosy cheeks and smiles, the girls changed back into their shoes and I took them for lunch.  Their gifts were colouring books, and to my surprise they both set about colouring in the pictures with gusto – all world weariness shoved aside and a small piece of childhood reclaimed, if only for a moment, made it a pretty great day to still believe in the good old Christmas spirit.

So that’s it for me, who cares if Father Christmas really does exist at all, it’s all about recapturing the spirit of true childhood that matters, and that goes for us all, whatever our ages.



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