I’m sitting here, in a garden centre. Jackie has gone to watch a craft demonstration so I’m using the time to pull my thoughts together. That’s not as easy as it sounds. It’s Saturday and Father Christmas is in attendance. The entire floor area is waist high in three to five year olds, half of them excitedly clutching a small parcel or a soft toy – the other fifty percent are screwed up to bursting point with the anticipation. The tension oozes out of every child as they jerk and bounce in the direction of Santa’s Grotto.
The problem, of course, is the need to be ‘good’. “Have you been good?” How grown-ups do grind on. What would be really nice is if they would just explain what ‘being good’ actually is. The only way to find out what being good is, seems to be when you do something bad – but at this time of year that is just too risky. So we skate on, over the thin ice of parental approval and disapproval – the closer to Christmas, the worse the stress becomes.
The other major issue at this time of year, of course, is chimney pots. How will he fit down if you have one and how will he deliver the presents if you don’t have one.
Can he come out of the central heating, do you think?