Tuesday, 11 December 2012

It's a time for children, so I'm told

Tigger, the irrepressible bouncing chum of Shark, Squirrel and Tiger, is off her face with joy.

Mostly thanks to having the world's best parents. They know exactly how to set her Christmas Joy Switch to a permanent state, ON. Simple. Turn your entire house into Santa's Grotto.

Result. Tigger is bouncing off the walls because did you KNOW? It is CHRISTMAS! Come and see our LIT UP REINDEER and SANTA and FAIRY LIGHTS and it is all WONDERFUL and mama makes a GROTTO and it is BRILLIANT and there are STARS and that is usually the point where I pass out, and someone has to slap me round to bring me to consciousness.

But Tigger makes me realise how awfully wrong I have got this Christmas lark. Here I am, with my strugglings to regain a patch of front room decorum, I have totally failed to lie about fat men with presents entering your bedroom late at night. Then there is all my Soviet-style military marchings backwards and forwards to the 10p bauble sale at the Community Re-use Shop, where I come over all control-freakery with the front door wreath.

No darling DON'T CHOOSE THAT ONE. It is so vulgar! Choose these discreet silver baubles instead! They are much prettier, ARE THEY NOT. Right, shut up crying. We're having them, because every time I enter the house, I have to look at your choice and quite frankly a dangling thing that looks like a tinselled stool on a stick will make my face melt as well as alert social services to what we get up to behind closed doors.

What I should have done, I now realise, was proudly and defiantly tip the contents of the local skip onto the front door step, chuck six foot of fairy lights over the lot, garnish it with a blow-up Santa, and declare it a grotto. Then I would have raised three children similarly off their heads with joy at the spirit that is Christmas.

But I fear, with my curmudgeonly ways, that I have done the stiff and judging British thing with my offspring. I have introduced them to social anxiety, made them aware that they will inevitably get on the wrong side of the scales of social judgements, and I have brought them to that point where they must apologise it is Christmas and they are not even Christians. That is what I do, and I can say it is not exactly healthy.

Well I am going to change my ways. Tigger, with all her uncomplicated joy and delightful bounce, has taught me wisdoms about the needs of children. It is not enough to shove the plastic Christmas trees at my offspring, then tell them to decorate them up to the eyeballs with crap in their bedrooms where I can't see them, I must proudly declare my altered child-led vision of Christmas in public.

I am going to tell Shark, Squirrel and Tiger to decorate the cherry tree that stands in the front garden and which is visible to the WHOLE WORLD.

This, I feel, will be a sign that I am finally led, totally, generously, and fulsomely, by children at this special time of year.

Thank you, Tigger.

Edited to add: When Dig enters the house from his long, long journey home from Hong Kong for the Christmas holidays, his first words are not Hello my lovely family! But Call the Police. Someone has tipped rubbish all over the front garden. Honestly, the vandalism that goes on in England is one reason why I stay in Hong Kong.

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