This was Tabby’s first ‘proper’ Christmas. For the last two she was a bit too young to really understand what goes on, but with 12 months of well-remembered birthday parties under her belt she had a good idea that something was coming. Someone at nursery must have prepped her well too – she knew plenty of Christmas songs before I got round to trying to teach her any.
There were some things she wasn’t sure of, though. For the week leading up to Christmas, the putting to bed ritual including clear instructions that Santa was allowed to come down the chimney at Christmas, but he musn’t come into her room. She still wasn’t completely sure what this was all going to be about, and she has a very well developed sense of caution before embarking on any new experiences.
As is her wont before any big event, on Christmas Eve she terrified us by developing a temperature of 40 degrees. So any excitement there was got tempered by illness and a quick run to the doctors surgery before it closed for some antibiotics. We put mice pies and carrots out for Santa and Rudolph before she went to bed, but I’m not sure she was particularly bothered about the whole thing by the time she went to sleep.
Tamsin and I ate the mince pie, broke the carrot to make it look chewed and drank the scotch and settled down to watch District 9. It was about an hour later that Tabby woke up, and too hot to sleep again, came downstairs to join us.
Just as I was putting her back to bed, she noticed the mince pie. The excuse? ‘Santa came down the chimney, but he had to hide again because you woke up. He’ll come back later, when you’re asleep to leave the presents.’
You could almost see the light of realisation go on in her eyes. I’ve never seen her more keen to go to bed, never been more impressed with her quick thinking – we must phone Santa on his mobile and tell him to come back. After putting out another mince pie, of course.
Suddenly, for Tabby, Christmas was really happening. Sickness was forgotten (fortunately it turned out to be a 24 hour thing anyway) and presents Which is why he got two mince pies at our house this year.
The really good news was that because she was so late to bed the second time, we actually got a lie in on Christmas Day. Bet that won’t happen for another decade or so.