Operation Father Christmas went about as well as could be expected. The boys had been far more hyper than previously in the run-up to this Christmas and I was worried they wouldn’t do their usual thing of going straight to sleep. But they did! As I walked my eldest into the bedroom at just before 9, my younger son was already tucked up with his eyes closed. He didn’t even speak or move when I kissed him and took his glasses off. Unbelievable.
But there were still a few tense moments and it took 40 minutes rather than the 20 I’d predicted/ hoped for. This was caused by discovering three of my elder son’s presents hadn’t been wrapped, the temporary loss of the kids’ presents from my in-laws in my husband’s wardrobe. ‘Where in my wardrobe?’ my husband said in exasperation. Seriously, it’s a wardrobe. How many places are there to look?
And when my daughter started muttering in her sleep, I stopped breathing. Every sense was sharpened and on highest alert for the duration. The whole experience left me stressed out and not in the least bit tired. But it was a success. Again. Thank goodness.
The kids have strict instructions not to get up before 6 on Christmas day. That is not the same as saying they have to get up at 6, but that is how they interpret the rules. One year, I heard the boys in the kitchen looking at the clock at 5. They didn’t move from the kitchen for a whole hour.
This year they woke me by going to the toilet at 5.45. But they had the decency to wait until 6 before getting everyone up. I listened as they went into their sister’s room. It was tempting to jump straight out of bed, but far more pleasurable to just listen. My daughter was literally squealing with excitement and my boys were being so kind to her – making sure she had her glasses and helping her carefully out of bed.
And then we all went downstairs to see if Santa had been. The kids were so excited, but in a really lovely way. They didn’t behave like spoilt brats. They opened their presents quickly, but not so quickly they didn’t take in what they were or where they’d come from. And they didn’t toss them aside in their eagerness to get onto the next one.
My daughter nearly burst with excitement when she opened her Everything’s Rosie lunch bag. She was so happy with it that she didn’t realise it was heavy and rattled and there were in fact several things inside it.
My younger son jumped around the room squealing and shaking with excitement at a £3 Moshi Monsters figures and collector bag set – hastily purchased on Christmas Eve when suddenly this became the thing he wanted most in the world. In his letter to Father Christmas he’d asked for 10 bags of Moshi Monsters figures – two figures per bag at the cost of £2 a bag. He sat and opened every one of those packets, carefully lining them up, before moving on to his other presents.
My daughter’s DS was at the bottom of her bag – below the lunch bag, pyjamas, her Play-Doh ice cream and her Just Dance 3 Wii game. She’d reached the conclusion she wasn’t going to get it. And she was fine with that. ‘If I don’t get my DS, that’s OK, I can just get it for my birthday.’ Eventually she found it. Her whole body stiffened and she stopped breathing. She just held it there with a grin so big it looked like her face would burst.
When she’d finally started breathing again she said. ‘Can we go and buy some games today?’ She didn’t realise a) that shops aren’t open on Christmas day and b) there was still a bag of presents from Grandma. Which contained the two DS games she’d asked for and a dress she’d admired in Joules.
My son was so happy with his Moshi Monsters and the couple of boxes of Lego he’d got that he forgot what he’d actually asked for – money for the laptop he’s saving for. It was in a gift wallet and wrapped up. It was thin and rather easy to miss – or even lose. I had a tense few seconds scraping around in the discarded wrapping paper before I found. ‘Oh, what’s this?’
He opened it and he couldn’t believe his eyes. ‘A £50 note!’ He held it high above his head and bounced up and down around the room. He’d always wanted a £50 note. He’d had a 20 and a 10, but, like most people, never a 50. When he asked for money for Christmas, I knew he had to have a £50 note. And, just like buses that always come along two at once, he had another £50 note a few minutes later – from his Grandma.
It was all over by 7, but what a lovely Christmas morning.