‘Taking our son to see the shopping-centre Father Christmas was a disaster.’
Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
They say Christmas is a time for children, but I wouldn’t know about that. Because I don’t have children. I have a 10-and-a-half-month-old boy. And Christmas is absolutely not a time for 10-and-a-half-month-old boys. We’re slowly coming to realise that Christmas – and its swirling vortex of berserk accompanying rituals – is just about the least baby-friendly thing on the planet. In fact, it’s hard to think of anything that’d cause more havoc in our house at this exact moment in time. Maybe, at an absolute push, we could agree to host the National Convention for Bear Traps and Loose Poison in our living room, but that’s only on the assumption that the poison would somehow catch fire and burn something down. Aside from that, it’s Christmas all the way.
For instance, we’ve already decided against having a Christmas tree this year, on the basis that our son would only yank it down. He’s already yanked down everything else we own – the floor lamp he broke, the coffee table we had to stack with literal ballast, the TV unit that’s now been cordoned off like an eastern European second world war checkpoint – so it only seems reasonable to avoid making things worse by buying a six-foot slab of needle-covered wood, loading it up with tiny glass bombs and then just leaving it there for a fortnight.
This might seem like an unnecessarily grinchy approach but we know what we’re doing. At best, our son has no clue what Christmas is. At worst, though, it is the most terrifying thing he has ever witnessed. We’re already building a portfolio of first-hand evidence to back this claim up. A couple of weeks ago, for example, we decided to take our son to see the shopping-centre Father Christmas. It was a disaster.
You could see the blood drain from Santa’s face the moment we entered the grotto. “Too young!” his eyes screamed silently. “Too young!”
Sure enough, as soon as we got within about three feet of the man, our son went off like a fire alarm. If anything, handing him over to Father Christmas at this point only made things worse. The boy screamed and writhed in abject terror for what seemed like an eternity as Father Christmas limply attempted to placate him by initiating one grimly unacknowledged high-five after another.
We decided to put everyone out of their misery and leave. “I’ve had worse,” Father Christmas yelled at the backs of our heads as we apologetically scrambled for the exit. Nobody believed him, but at least we got some funny Instagrams out of it.
With all this in mind, the sensible thing to do would be to ignore Christmas altogether. My family has other ideas, though. In particular, my mum has decided to offload an entire lifetime of pent-up grandchildlessness on to this oblivious little boy all at once.
She’s bought him dozens of presents – several of which are far too large to feasibly fit inside my poky little house – and she’s made it her priority to give him a Christmas he’ll never forget.
Don’t tell anyone, but I couldn’t be happier. He has no idea of this yet – and I maintain the right to refute this at 4pm on Christmas afternoon when I’m too full of gravy to adequately parent him – but our son has become the string that has pulled my family closer together.
I’ve tried my hardest, but it’s no use. This is going to be a great Christmas.[Source:-the gurdian]