Christmas isn’t the same now; my children are no longer kids and the days of Father Christmas are long gone. But the memories persist and pevery year we talk about one long-departed Christmas ritual that used to take place in our house.
When the kids were small I bought a Santa suit, beard, hat and all the trimmings. The plan was to pop out as they were upstairs having their bath on Christmas Eve and for my wife to bring them downstairs in their pyjamas to sit in the front room, with the curtains open. At the same time, I was in the back alley of our house changing into the costume.
When the time was right I’d shuffle under the weight of my sack past the front of the house and – surprise, surprise – my wife saw me and alerted the kids. Screams of excitement, noses pressed to the window as they peered out at the fat old man in their garden.
He stopped, looked at his watch and pointed to it, before pointing to the kids and then upwards suggesting the little loves should go to bed. They were gone like a shot, mainly because my wife had told them that Santa couldn’t do his stuff if they were still awake.
When I came back in, the boys were abed and my wife and I settled to finish the packing of pressies. But after a few minutes we hears noises from upstairs: the kids weren’t asleep.
Now as it happened we had an external fire escape on our house, and there was a “landing” on this stairs outside the kids bedroom window. So I got the gear on again, went up the fire escape and tapped on the window. The curtain was pulled back, a little face appeared, screamed and disappeared again.
A moment later the other littler face came to check, also screamed and that was the last we heard from them until 5 the next morning.
That was without doubt the best moment around Christmas, we kept it up until the boys were 10 and I even did guest appearances for friends who wanted their kids to see Santa.