It’s that time of year again. I tend to spend November intermittently grumpy to be honest. No, I’m not ready for Christmas. No, I dont want to listen to Christmas music yet. No, I havent wrapped any presents…I honestly haven’t bought any! I cant think that far ahead. I often get cards and wrapping paper in the January sales but that’s as far as it goes.
My Dad’s birthday is the middle of December. When my sister and I were kids, nothing Christmassy happened in our house until two days after his birthday. Which meant our tree and decs went up the week before Christmas Day. We didnt know any different and I honestly don’t remember it being an issue for us.
However Mr Six and I do love the whole Advent thing. Come the first of December we’re in with the Christmas thing! Music’s on, Christmas songs in the car, decs go up, Christmas crafts take over our free time. But until the first of December, I’m a bit bah humbug.
As parents we have always done the Father Christmas thing with the girls. I think if we’re honest we’ve become more unsettled about it over time, and we always said that if one of them asked outright that we’d be honest.
I think it was four or five years ago that Big Girl (who would have been 8 or 9) stood in the kitchen and asked me if Father Christmas was real. We had a lovely conversation about it all. She seemed relieved to know that there wasn’t a random bloke coming into our house overnight!
Two Christmasses ago, Happy Dreamer and Little Bud (then 8 and 6 respectively) were writing a mammoth (and completely unaffordable and unrealistic) Christmas list based on the Smyths Toy Superstore Christmas catalogue. It was loud and lary and completely over the top. So Mr Six took the two of them off into another room and sat them down to explain why it wasn’t going to be happening.
They again seemed relieved and not at all disappointed at learning The News.
And so on to Little Legs. She was over three when she joined our family, having lived with one foster family for most of her short life. She knew about The Big Man and had ‘met him’ on a few occasions. So we went with it.
But as with many children who have experienced trauma, we tried to keep it at arms length. Presents were all delivered into our downstairs lounge, well away from the bedrooms, in front of an open fireplace. We haven’t visited a Father Christmas’ grotto, or overemphasised any of it.
We don’t have school in the mix for any of the girls, so we can avoid the ongoing Christmas play rehearsals and all that stuff.
This last week has been a bit tricky for Little Legs. She obviously has stuff going round her head, clearly related to life story issues and questions she is beginning to formulate. Last week she asked me about her birth parents again, but a question that she had not asked before.
Somehow The Big Man was getting mixed up in with the life story stuff.
And so we put a stop to it.
Yesterday in the car, she started asking questions about Father Christmas.
Mr Six spent a few minutes leading her down the path to understanding that it’s all ok. Mummy and Daddy do the present shopping and buying and wrapping and delivering. That she doesn’t need to worry. That she can relax and enjoy Christmas, once it’s the first of December 😉
Hopefully it was the correct decision. Hopefully it will take some of the pressure off, when she already has a head and a heart full of questions about significant others in her life, whom she has no memory of meeting.
Christmas is tricky. Hopefully we have made it feel a bit safer for her.