I've been so excited about meeting him all day and now I'm with Father Christmas he doesn't seem very nice. We've had to wait ages and Mummy had to ask a lady but now we're in his special room, behind a curtain where everything is bright red in a very big shop with stairs and everything, and he has a very loud voice.
"Have you been a good little girl?" he asks. I nod, my eyes wide. "Because only very good children get presents," he says. I nod again.
"Well then, as you've been good - tell me, what do you want for Christmas?"
I look over at Mummy who is sitting in the corner in her fuzzy brown coat with the big buttons. She smiles and I feel a bit less shy. I do know what I want for Christmas and so does Mummy. "Go on," she urges softly.
All I want for Christmas is.... big breath....
"A clockwork train set," I say quietly.
And this is why Father Christmas isn't very nice because he doesn't smile back, or laugh, or do anything that makes me believe he really is the best and that he is magic and loves children. Instead he frowns and makes a funny hmmphing sound and I can smell his beard as he leans towards me. "But little girls don't have train sets!" he says in his too loud voice. He's not like I thought he would be and I think he's telling me off. "That's a very funny thing for you to want. Little boys have train sets, not little girls," he adds, as he reaches for one of the wrapped presents on the shelf by his side that is full of boxes of all shapes and sizes, although none of them are very big. No train sets.
When we get home Mummy says I can open the present because it's not the real one - the real one will be inside my pillowcase at the end of the bed on Christmas Day. The present from Father Christmas with the smelly beard is a Snakes and Ladders board. I like it very much but I really hope a different, better Father Christmas - the proper one who comes down through the roof and magically gets in by the gas fire - will bring me the thing I truly want.
So there are two Father Christmases it seems. There's the one who lives inside a shop and makes me feel like I must've been naughty because I asked for a train. And there's the other one who I never see who fills the stripey pillowcase on Christmas Eve with presents which I don't know how he gets because the pretty tags on them say they are from Mummy and Daddy and my sister and Nanny and Granddad and other people too. But I suppose he is like a postman really. And this Father Christmas brings me the best Christmas present ever. Much better than Snakes and Ladders. It's clockwork with a big key in the side which twirls round and it has lots of wheels and carriages, some with little windows and a wagon for carrying coal, also Lego, and it goes round and round on a track that you clip together.
When I grow up I'll look back and realise that meeting Father Christmas was probably the start of my feminist tendencies. A bloody sexist Santa!
There is part of me that still yearns for the innocence of childhood and believing in Father Christmas, those times were so special.ReplyDelete
The kids look scared of Santa in that picture of yours, so I'm not sure if I should smile or frown :) Your story reminds me of 'Meeting Santa Claus' scene in the film A Christmas Story (1983) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwGYfMVKQtQ)
Wishing you a Happy Christmas C !
Haha, thanks for the clip, never seen that before - think I was lucky my Santas was just a grumpy sexist compared to the trauma of that!Delete
I know what you mean about the pic - lots of photos on the net of really creepy, scary department store Santas and horrified children - very amusing from this distance....
Thanks for the Christmas wishes, Chris - and sending the same to you.
Wonderful C, just wonderful! I trust your clockwork train set lasted longer than my electric one did in 1965 - it burst into flames on Christmas morning!ReplyDelete
Thank you - but that's terrible about your incendiary train set. Hope you got something else by way of compensation! Mine did indeed last longer, quite a bit longer I'm sure, as I have lots of memories of playing with it until it eventually broke.Delete
"But I suppose he is like a postman really" - Santa Claus to a "T".ReplyDelete
Yes - and a postman who only works one day a year - no idea what all the fuss is about!Delete
Santa's a bastard!ReplyDelete
The perfect summing up CC!Delete
Wonderful story, C!!ReplyDelete
I don't recall that I ever encountered a mean Santa, but perhaps I've blocked out the traumatic memory. I'd have my picture taken sitting on his lap, but I don't remember ever receiving a present from him. All I know is that Santa was paying attention the day that I requested a table hockey game because he somehow managed to squeeze it down the chimney that Christmas Eve.
Ah thank you - and good to know that the *real* Santa was taking notice of your special present request, regardless of those other imposters...Delete
He's not a bad old stick, St. Nic. My dad has a few choice photos of me and my brother sitting on the big man's knee in Hammonds department store in Hull. That's right, Santa even found it in his heart to pull Hull in on his annual world tour.ReplyDelete
Must admit I never had to do the knee/lap-sitting thing for any Santa and I'm rather relieved about that. But clearly they're not all bad. I understand the same can be said for Hull...Delete
(I've only been there once - Mr SDS' band played there, an anarcho-punk band known for their vegetarian credentials. Rumours abounded that the gig was going to be invaded by skinheads throwing meat on stage! It didn't happen, but poor Hull will forever be associated with that in my mind now!)
Phew - thought for a minute that was going to be a picture of your sister and you on Santa's knee but of course not. We do have a picture of a really grumpy DD sitting on Santa's knee when she was a tot - Not happy at all. And you've just reminded me that in these "grottos" there was a bin with parcels for girls and one with parcels for boys, never the twain did meet. Glad you got the present you wanted from the real Santa come the day though - A lovely story as ever C and I know we've done it already at my place but a Very Merry Christmas to you and Mr SDS.ReplyDelete
PS - CC can always be relied upon to come up with the short and pithy remark!
Ha, no, thankfully not my sister and me in the photo but have you seen all those creepy Santa pics? I think there's a whole website devoted to them. They're both scary and hilarious, depending on your viewpoint!Delete
Really I'm thinking it's no surprise that not every child is going to enjoy sitting on a strange man's knee (mixed messages too!) - there's that part of you even when you're so young that still knows it isn't the same Santa that you believe in somehow.
I hope they're not quite so gender specific these days, though - I put this experience down to it being in the 1960s. And he was probably fed-up of seeing all us little brats...
Thanks for the Christmas wishes and again to you too - we may double up a bit between now and then but better that way!
Lovely post, and excellent Kinks track.ReplyDelete
Happy Christmas to you and yours, C. And you've still got 11 days to write a review-of-the-year blog post... :)
Thanks Martin and yes I do like to groove to a bit of early Kinks too.Delete
Happy Christmas to you and yours as well and thanks for yours - no promises re. any review type post for 2017 but hopefully another post or two before the year is out if I can manage it... who knows!
Through that terrible moment it sounds like that Santa gave you a pretty important gift after all. And now you have given one to us. Love love love Kinks. Happy holidays to you and yours.ReplyDelete
Ah, that's a really lovely way of looking at it, thank you!Delete
Happy hols to you and yours as well, Brian.
What a rotter! Hope the train set came your way eventually. That was not the real Father Christmas but some fraud who had clearly kidnapped the real one. Don't worry - he's still out there making wishes come true. Calling Father Christmas! Much love to The Kinks at their finest.ReplyDelete
Thanks and yes, it was waiting for me all along; fortunately my parents had no such gender specific restrictions when it came to present-buying...Delete
Glad to know the real FC is still out there somewhere! And agreed re. the Kinks too.
Santa gave you a special gift. Good read. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day. MiccoliReplyDelete
Thank you. (But I don't check unsolicited links in comments)Delete
Excellent post/story! Merry Krimbio!!!ReplyDelete
Hi William! Lovely to see you again. Thanks - and hope you have a great Christmas/NY too.Delete
A friend at the pub told me yesterday she had had a visit from her niece who had just been to see Santa. She stood there, hands on hips, and said "I was not impressed - you could see eleastic all the way around Santa's beard." "What's that all about then?". She is five.ReplyDelete
Haha, seems very little gets past a five year old these days....Delete