Tuesday 23 December 2008

gonna find out who's naughty or nice....

Today I carried out one of my favourite tasks of the year. It is also, as it happens, one of the most important jobs that I do every year.... I copied out some letters from Father Christmas for a colleague's two daughters.

We started doing this several years ago: my colleague is determined that her children should grow up in a house where Christmas is a magical time of the year, and as such she encourages her kids to write letters to Santa which they "post" up the chimney breast. Then, on Chrismas Day, these two little girls wake up to find their presents and a lovely letter in reply from Santa. More often than not, these letters are an exercise in expectation setting and a way of explaining why the girls may not have got everything that they asked for. It is also, clearly, a special moment for both of them - Santa's letters are stored away each year in a folder of precious things and are looked at from time to time. The eldest daughter is now nearly ten, but she has resolutely insisted that she still believes and has painstakingly made up a letter to Santa with stickers and glitter and all sorts on it. That said, she's also old enough to insist on checking the handwriting on the letter and making sure that:

a) it is the same handwriting as it was last year
b) that it is not the same as her mum and dad's handwriting

Luckily for everyone, she hasn't got around to thinking that it could easily be the handwriting of someone else her mum and dad know.... although C. did write our Christmas card to them this year just in case. So you can see, I pretty much have a job for life here, or at least for another few years. (Besides, every smart kid knows better than to be too loud or grown up in their declarations about Santa's existence or otherwise... after all, you wouldn't want to jeapordise the volume of presents you receive, would you? I officially "believed" until long after I left home. In fact, I think I may still....perhaps I'll put my stocking out just in case, eh?)

The ritual is always the same: my colleague provides me with some headed notepaper ("From the home of Santa Claus. Lapland, The North Pole") and a couple of letters to copy out. I get out my good fountain pen and carefully transcribe what's written in my best handwriting and in blue-black ink. This year, the eldest had to be steered away from her desire for a "Dareway" (which looks hideously dangerous) and set up to receive her surprise present - an MP3 player. The youngest was easier: she only really wants Hannah Montana and High School Musical stuff. She'd expressed a desire for a bike, but told her dad that she realised that Santa would really struggle to put it onto his sledge. Well, I'm pleased to say that Santa has managed to squeeze one on for her, and hopefully her parents will be able to see her face light up when she gets exactly what she wanted.

When I first mentioned that I did this a couple of years ago, I was surprised by the level of debate it kicked off around perpetuating gender roles. Well, I do think that Lizzie raised an interesting point, but I still cannot quite bring myself to believe that helping to keep a tiny piece of the magic of Christmas alive for these two little girls is anything other than a good thing.

I enjoy doing it, anyway.

Happy Christmas.

Ho ho ho, etc.


Over at The Auditorium, we've reached the number 9s in our countdown of our top 10 albums of the year. Between the three of us, LB, bedshaped and I have plumped for albums by Sigur Ros, TV on the Radio and Billy Bragg. It's a bit harder to spot which one is mine today, but I'm sure you can manage it......

You can also vote for your singles of the year here.

Oh, and I also need your 5 selections for Earworms of the Year 2008 please. You may as well give in and email them to me now - I'm only going to go on about it until you do.....

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