It’s that time of year. The time of year when we have to respond to the endless “I WANT THAT” requests to EVERY advert shown in the “Milkshake” break (if it wasn’t for Zingzilla’s we’d be back on CBeebies in the morning). The time of year when every tantrum, stuck out bottom lip, or potential melt down is met with the reminder of the “S” word (Santa). The time of year when, as parents, you begin to panic about how your already bursting at the seems house is going to cope with another influx of toys. Not to mention the fact that you gain half a stone within the first few weeks of December due to the sudden clattering of Quality Street tins, Mince Pies and erm, lashings of Sloe Gin.
It’s also the time of year when you introduce your children to Santa. Every year this needs to be approached with trepidation. Your child might have liked them last year, but this means NOTHING. Last year was lovely, Fatso was too little to be involved, and The Beast was shy, quiet, but loved it.
This year we went at Santa with numbers. We were visiting Centre Parcs (AMAZING winter wonderland this time of year – THANK YOU for a fab time, it was a truly magical experience for the children) and so booked Fatso and The Beast, along with their friend YaYa in to see Santa mid week. We were all nervous, we figured The Beast would be fine since he fearlessly goes up to large Peppa Pig, Kung Fu Panda and Bob The Builder characters and demands a cuddle and a high five, but YaYa was an uncertainty and Fatso was probably going to be melt down.
When the day came, we started building it up “Who are we seeing today?” “What are you going to ask Santa for this year?” “What do you say to him if he gives you a present” that sort of malarkey, and when we walked into the room there were no tears. Santa commented on the boys t.shirts “I heart Santa” (hoping it would make up for the many melt downs we’ve had this year). YaYa and Fatso didn’t cry. The Beast however marched boldly in and said “Where’s my present”. Small titters from the female elf, before we line them up in front of Santa.
“Now then, have you been good little boys and girls this year?” (he wasn’t looking at Larry)
They all responded with a quiet “yes”.
“Now then, what would you like for Christmas?”
YaYa responds quietly in a whisper with “a wabbit”.
The Beast responds LOUDLY with “I..I…I WANT A DINNNNOSSOUUURRRR” (fuck we’ve not got one of those)
I feedback Larry would like some Pie.
“Is that all you’d like is there anything else?”
YaYa is polite and happy with the prospect of the rabbit. Fatso is eyeing up the fake candy canes on the fire place, but The Beast responds with.
“A TALKING BUZZ AND WOODY” (notice how he’s opted for both – he’s getting the Buzz).
A bit more small talk before we go and have our pictures with Santa. Neither child smiles. Then, as we step to the side so YaYa and family can have their picture The Beast turns around, looks at Santa, and as if to secure his present says “I…I..I LIKE YOUR COAT SANTA”. Santa somewhat taken aback thanks him and I swear he sniggered a bit.
The Elf then takes YaYa’s photo before handing Santa presents for the children. We say our thank you’s head towards the door when The Beast looks in his gift bag, looks up with a look of pure disgust, then looks directly at Santa and me exclaiming “BUT I ASKED FOR A TALKING BUZZ AND WOODY”.
I quickly usher him out into the gift shop where we get to collect our picture. I explain that this is a pre Christmas present,and that now Santa knows what he’d like if he continues to be a good boy, Santa will bring it on Christmas Day. In the back ground I hear the wail of “WABBBITTTTT” from YaYa.
To rub poor Theo’s nose in it a little more, he gets chatting to a boy who’s about 5/6 and on comparing gifts he discovers this little boy got a green tractor (Theo got a lovely cuddly snow man). The look of hurt was evident.
I’ve used this to my advantage and pointed out that maybe the little boy had eaten all his dinner that week.
I may also be using it as a daily reminder in the lead up to Christmas at the glimmer of every tantrum. Next stop – the Easter Bunny!