I’ve made a resolution to update this blog once a week this year (which will be miraculous, quite frankly), so I thought I’d start with two things I’ve learned from this past Christmas:
- Nearly four year olds absolutely love everything to do with celebrating Christmas; and
- Nearly four year olds can be VERY literal when it comes to celebrating Christmas.
We started our Christmas celebration with a view to Father Christmas at Snow Planet. It’s the second year running that we’ve done it, and I think it will become our Christmas tradition – it really is fun to be in the snow, albeit man-made. As well as meeting the big guy and getting lollipops (a huge treat in our house, owing to their tooth-rotting powers), you also get to go tubing down a snowy slope (and fall over a lot, trying to walk back up the hill again), and then you get hot chocolates in the cafe afterwards. We told the kids that the Father Christmas at Snow Planet is THE Father Christmas, since it’s cold there and he’s from the North Pole. We explained that the Father Christmases they’d see at malls and at any other Christmas parties were his faithful deputies.
Hattie and Joe entirely bought into this particular Father Christmas, and solemnly told him their Christmas requests: Hattie wanted a Skye dog, complete with helicopter (Paw Patrol is very popular in our house at the moment); and Joe asked for a Rapunzel dressing-up costume. We followed up on these requests with letters to Father Christmas, which – in a piece of organisation of which I’m fairly proud – were sent to a friend whose son’s letter was sent to me, so we could each reply to the other’s children as Father Christmas. Hattie and Joe reiterated their requests, and listed many examples of their recent good behaviour (with some prompting from me, admittedly) to strengthen their respective cases.
A few days later, Hattie and Joe’s kindy held its annual Christmas party. Although it wasn’t a day that the two of them go to kindy, we popped along after a swimming lesson. The parents had been briefed beforehand to drop off a gift-wrapped book per child:
And this was where I realised how literal young children are (or, how literal Hattie is). When her name was called she approached Father Christmas with a face like thunder, and despite cajoling from Nanna, me, and the kindy teachers, this was her face upon receiving what was pretty obviously a book:
She stomped over to me afterwards, handed me the present, asked me to help her to open it, and then asked, in perfectly crisp and audible tones over what suddenly seemed to be a hushed kindy:
“What is this? Why has Father Christmas given me a book?! I asked for a Skye! Why hasn’t he given me a Skye?!”
Cue me hurriedly explaining that this was one of the helper Father Christmases, and that the REAL Father Christmas wouldn’t bring a present until Christmas Day. I was sorely tempted to tack on a comment about not being an ungrateful brat, but she was clearly in a ‘I’m going to LOSE IT with this bullshit’ frame of mind at that moment, and I decided that it wouldn’t be wise to push the issue right then. And really, from her perspective, I could see that it was fairly understandable to be frustrated at Father Christmas apparently entirely disregarding her request, made both verbally and in writing. Rest assured, before any further Father Christmas visits over the festive season the kids were briefed about the importance of being suitably grateful when given any present (and reminded that the real Father Christmas wouldn’t show up until Christmas Day…)
A few days after that, we all went to another Christmas party – this one was organised by our fabulous multiple birth club (and specifically, by my amazing friends Clare and Emma). The face painting and entertainment was particularly brilliant:
And although it was clearly Emma’s husband James in the big red suit, Hattie and Joe played along and said thank you for the reindeer food Father Christmas gave them:
This wasn’t the last of the Christmas parties: Dream Au Pair had a party as well, and Pat and Lena took the kids. At this one I had to supply a present per child once again, so we gave them Paw Patrol mugs that I’d already bought for their stockings (and apparently both kids were suitably happy and thankful). The event was also a milestone face-painting moment: the first time that Hattie’s chosen to be something other than a tiger:
And I promise you that those two parties really were on different days, despite the kids choosing to wear the same dresses for both of them.
The kindy year ended, and we celebrated by giving Hattie and Joe’s lovely Christmas cookies (baked by them and Lena, and packaged up by me – so, I can take 5% of the credit for this one):
And we continued the ‘let’s create Christmas traditions’ vibe by visiting the Lego Christmas tree in Aotea Square:
We also went for dinner in the city (high excitement when you’re three), and then the kids and Pat and Richard headed up the Sky Tower to take in the views, before meeting Father Christmas and some very beautiful Reindeer Girls in the foyer (all of which looks unfortunately blurry in this shot):
We finally headed out of town for Christmas, arriving at my parents’ place on the 23rd. The kids duly set out a glass of milk and a mince pie for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve, and sprinkled reindeer food all over the front lawn (rolled oats mixed with glitter):
And Christmas morning was the usual orgy of present-unwrapping and general excitement, which really demonstrated Hattie and Joe’s personality differences: Joe was utterly delighted and very vocally excited with everything he received – included his beloved Rapunzel dress (complemented by a wig bought for him by Nanna and Grandad):
By contrast, Hattie was very intense and fairly overwhelmed by it all, barely cracking a smile (particularly when she wore her new Batgirl outfit for the first time, and obviously felt the need to be in character from the start):
And yes, she did get her Skye dog!
I hope you’ve all had a wonderful festive break and are now chomping at the bit for an awesome 2017. I’m in heavy party mode this coming week, with the fourth birthday shin-dig next Saturday. Birthdays come but once a year, right?