It’s October and already my thoughts are on Christmas. I love, love, love Christmas! Yes, of course I’ve already stocked up on the large tubs of chocolates when the supermarket were selling them two for £7. Cheapskate, that, I am! They are safely stored away in the loft; otherwise I would have scoffed the lot by now.
For the past few years we have taken Amelie to a ‘Meet Father Christmas’ experience at one of those farms that has been turned into a mass money making machine and has little reference to actual farming except for the token pig and lama in a pen. They’re all about indoor play centres for kids (living hell for grown-ups) and a café where they can charge a small fortune for a naff tuna sandwich and a “latte” out of a machine where the operator just presses the “latte” button and ‘voila’ half a cup of pale beige liquid with fake froth on top (can you get fake froth?) You get the gist.
At Christmas time, and for the “experience” they get trigger-happy with a can of fake snow and employ local wannabe actors or desperate students to act as Santa’s Elves for the day, who after the first five minutes become really irritating with their fake jolliness. You queue for a lifetime to see the big man in the red suit, who really shouldn’t speak like the very bored teenager he obviously is when playing Santa.
After Amelie had told him what she wanted for Christmas (It’s Christmas Eve and she has just listed items she has never mentioned before!!!), she says goodbye, to which Santa replies “see yer ‘aters”. In that one sentence all of the fake snow, irritating elves and bloke in red suit with a fat tum disintegrates in front of Amelie who was expecting a big “Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas” in a deep and Santa-like voice. And all of this for the bargain price, of a weekend away somewhere nice!!!
So this year we want to do something different. We want Amelie to meet a jolly Santa, who can say (one of the few lines he has to speak) “Ho, Ho, Ho” in traditional Santa style and at a price where we don’t have to re-mortgage to pay for it. Is this too much to ask?
We were discussing this dilemma with our dear friends who also want to find something new for their kids to do at Christmas. This is when my friend Helen said (admittedly after a couple of glasses of Prosecco) we should create a little winter wonderland at our house. My ears instantly pricked up and my imagination went a little wild.
The workshop would become ‘Santa’s workshop’ and a place for the children to meet him. (Mr G would just need a red suit, some white facial hair and ta-da!!!). We would have to hide the tools of course (Health & Safety first. Don’t want this to turn into a scene from the Texas chainsaw massacre), fake snow, lots of fairy lights and Dave (Our Christmas tree is always called Dave, who I will introduce to you at Christmas time) and it could look magical. AND next to the workshop is a stable – perfect for a donkey! And this is where I share with you my plight to win Mr G over in getting a pet miniature donkey.
I have always loved donkeys. My family used to go to Blackpool beach when I was very young and I would be overjoyed that a fair few of the donkeys were called Jenny. A few years later I realised that Jenny is actually the official name for a female ass! Hmmm… But this hasn’t stopped me loving them. They are just so cute and the miniature donkeys are just adorable. Of course I’d also have to get a miniature pig to keep him company. Ssssh!
Anyway, back to the ‘Santa experience’. I could bake Christmas cookies (GF of course) to hand out to the kids and mulled wine for the adults. We could make Christmas decorations and play games in the garden, all prettily lit with lanterns and fairy lights. I have it all planned and if we charge the same as these other ‘Santa experiences’ I’ll never have to do the National Lotto again! “Ho-Ho-Ho”.