Sunday, December 24, 2006

Tonights the night...

Santa's coming, santa's coming, he's on his way, he's got your presents loaded on board and he's on his way tonight, what do you hope he brings for you ?

When they were younger my two daughters would grow sick and tired of me reminding them all through the day on christmas eve that Santa was on his way tonight, I was the one in the house that was excited while they'd sit there with a bored expression on their faces and sigh "We know dad" every time I mentioned it.

But then one year I discovered this web site, the Norad Santa Tracker.

I explained to them how official it was, how NORAD were the North American Air Defence Command, proper official people, Army and Air Force people who normally watched the skies for nasty missiles and alien attacks, but once a year tuned their radar's into Santa's sleigh and published a live radar image for children all over the world to follow.

They swallowed it, hook, line and sinker - and so did I.

One year in particular when they were very young we spent all evening running up and down the stairs to the one computer in the house to check on Santa every ten minutes and the excitement as he travelled across europe towards us grew and grew until we realised that it was way, way past their bedtimes as we'd ignored the clock all night waiting for the tracker to move - it was only when he was in France shortly before midnight and just a hop, skip and a jump across La Manche that we finally convinced them that they needed to quickly get in bed and go to sleep or he wouldn't come to our house.

I don't need to explain to parents what christmas morning is like with small children in the house, but to those who still have small children in the house at the moment I do need to say - savour every moment, relish every second, for it all fades away year on year until you end up with teenagers for whom christmas day is just another day of MTV and sitting amongst presents that they bought for themselves with your money, and have been wearing for several weeks now.

Gone are the days when they would both have a bath and dress in new jimmy-jams and dressing gowns then come downstairs to get a platefull of mince pies and carrots ready to leave out on the fireplace for Santa and Rudolph, gone are the tiptoe'd trips upstairs to see if they are asleep yet two hours after you put them to bed, then the ever so quiet getting out of the ladder and silently sneaking up into the loft to gather down the bags and bags of christmas presents that you'd hidden from prying eyes, and gone are those precious few seconds on christmas morning where they walk into the living room and stand and simply stare at the huge pile of presents awaiting them under the tree, not knowing where to start, absolutely captivated by the magic of Santa.

But we still have the videos.

And we sit and watch them now and they tell us that they can't believe how gullible they were to have believed everything we told them, and I tell them it was all true, Santa's magic is still real, they've just lost sight of it, and they look at me and call me a stupid old fool - I've raised them to be as cynical as me.

The only remnant of those christmas's past are the two handmade bears that they still get from me every year, they open them and give me a look that says "not another bear dad" but they will get one every year until I'm not here any more whether they like it or not, so bugger to them.

Merry Christmas everyone, and remember, early to bed tonight and keep an eye on the Santa tracker, its all true you know.

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