Thursday, 8 December 2011

all that glisters

Today I opened the advent calendar window. I am glad I did as this date marks a number of anniversaries for me – one about food (a year at goal weight), one about drink (10 without alcohol) and one about John Lennon (31 - can you believe it?).

Snooks has already lost interest in the calendar, figuring that anything over One Day To Go is too much to think about. His love affair with numbers goes on all right. Last night I got him to eat a whole bowl of spaghetti by letting him run to the microwave between mouthfuls to read off the time on the clock. The passing of each minute meant another morsel of Hidden Vegetable Bolognese passed his lips affording me the satisfaction only a mother knows at seeing her offspring ingest good homemade nutrition

But his Christmas exuberance has moved on now from counting off days. He’s had the tree buying; he’s had the ice-skating. Now, he’s all about the baubles.

We started off with a few admittedly lacklustre ones dredged up from the Engineer’s past, packed away in musty plastic bags in the shed.

Then the two giant ones purchased by Snooks and I last week added a bit of post-noughties glamour to the place.

But Snooks was still not satisfied. After he deemed the tree ‘horrible’ as the baubles were ‘not shiny enough’, I spent a frantic hour last Sunday morning running around the local shopping centre castigating apathetic shop assistants for their overly tasteful selection of xmas fare.

“What, only hand-painted-with-Victorian-skating-scenes baubles? Only muted grey with a dusting of silver? I want shiny, I want plastic, I want a giant snow-globe containing an angel with the word ‘peace’ written in gold glitter on the base.” (Incidentally, if you also want these things, Homebase is your place).

I returned triumphant, if a little puzzled at why the WHSmith assistant standing amid the tinsel and reindeerorama had answered “I doubt it” when I asked if they sold Christmas decorations, bearing two boxes of gold shiny baubles.

But we were not out of the enchanted faery woods yet. During our festive steam train ride in the dark with stars later that day Snooks launched one of the new baubles at the carriage door (he always carries one or two about his person at this time of year) shattering it into tiny lethal shards, which explained why they were £2 a box and not widely available.

Luckily it missed (and hopefully was not aimed at) Santa Claus who had made a surprise visit to our carriage earlier in the trip, kindly handing Snooks a puppy in a bag (not a real one) and a packet of Smarties. I say kindly as unlike the other lucky recipients further down the train we had not booked in for the Santa Special Experience and so were not exactly entitled to accept his gift. However no amount of guilty conscience could bring the Engineer or I to point out to Santa that we had not paid for his services, as this would, after all, have rather ruined the moment.

I have to hand it to St Nick, my attempts to play down his role in our family Christmas mythology have been severely hampered by this event as Snooks witnessed his parents’ utter astonishment as Santa and his two elves tapped on the carriage window asking to come in.

However as we also later witnessed the trio tiptoeing across the track to make their magical appearance in the grotto inconveniently located on the opposite platform, the balance in favour of reality may once again have been righted. We all concluded that this could not be the real Father Christmas as he, clearly, would have been able to fly across on his sleigh.

By Monday night a further 50 shiny, different coloured, non-breakable baubles had been purchased, threaded, thrown around the house and subsequently hung on the tree making ours the shiniest, baubliest most beautiful Christmas tree ever, according to its creative director.

So all we need now is snow, a party and a skateboard for his world to be complete.

Two out of three are already in motion and the third … well come on Santa.

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