THE Girl met Father Christmas this week. And despite being rather chatty and shouty in Real Life, she chose to do her ‘I’m Shy’ act.
The Big Man, and Mrs Christmas, were at Billy’s school fete and had popped in to give out selection boxes or colouring books to a huge queue of excited under 10s.
She watched quietly as other children came out of the grotto beaming, trying to break into the chocolate before the accompanying adult whipped it out of their hands for ‘later.’
Billy, aged 8, went in first, on his own, and we could hear him earnestly reeling off a list of Star Wars related gift ideas.
Our daughter Bonnie, aged 3, is still a little baffled by the whole Christmas thing. She’s aware that when the nights start getting dark, this Father Christmas bloke starts appearing on TV ads and everyone around her starts putting in orders for things they’d like but aren’t usually allowed to have.
Her three brothers use this time of year to start making outrageous statements about things they ‘hope’ Father Christmas will bring, seeing as how they’ve been REALLY good all year. Like laptops and £100 trainers. (Never going to happen boys).
Bonnie has joined in this game, by bringing home things she’s cut out of magazines on the ‘safety scissors’ table at nursery. Including the most ridiculous Princess-themed four-poster bed, complete with pink covers, cushions, teddies, pyjamas and glittery slippers.
She points at the TV ads: “I want that, and that, and that,” she chirps, before joining in the tedious household mantra “I want, never gets. . .”
“Pleeeease?” she adds, hopefully.
But when faced with Santa himself, she went mute. “Talk to Father Christmas darling, he’s asking what you’d like him to bring for Christmas, if you’re a good girl,” I cajoled. She smiled, held her hands to her face, and refused to speak. She took the proffered chocs from Mother Christmas and made a dash for the door. And then wouldn’t stop talking about it.
Once home, she remembered another Christmas-themed clipping she’d brought home, this time with Santa on. It was an advert for the NSPCC’s letter from Father Christmas appeal.
While she got busy drawing up a letter to Father Christmas explaining her real wish list that she’d been ‘too shy’ to reveal, (fairies and flowers and butterflies, on this request), I ordered her a letter from Lapland HQ, which costs just a £5 donation to the NSPCC and Childline. You get a personalised letter (which can be sent to a child anywhere in the world), with added pictures depending on their age, which even mentions their best friend.
I know there are many of these ‘letters’ around but seems a nicer idea to be giving money to a charity which helps less fortunate children than just giving it to a corporation for profit. Because as we know, a lot of people have exploited poor old Father Christmas’s image and generosity to their own ends.
To find out more, visit the NSPCC website at www.nspcc.org.uk and click on the Santa link, text santa to 65599 or call 0854 839 9304.