Today on our way home from school Elli noticed the gigantic Christmas tree in front of the mall near my place. It is on a 3 meter pedestal and is about 6 meters tall itself, fully bedecked with lights and shiny metallic balls. She was absolutely insistent that we go see it so after dinner we wandered over to the mall to look at the thing. I am far past the stage where huge fake Christmas trees have any impact but she was thrilled to just stand in the rain staring at it. We wandered into the mall and the trend continued; she noticed the 'pine boughs' and lights strung above us and said,
"Daddy, look at that, isn't it beautiful?"
I was more thinking "Chintzy", but I am a bit of a curmudgeon sometimes. She was taken again by the fake holly strung along posts outside the grocery store and the chocolate bars shaped like Santa Claus sitting in boxes awaiting a parent and a whining child. It is a strange transition to go from the awe and wonder at all things Christmas to grumbling about how stores start Christmas too early these days and being disappointed by the fakeness of it all. Surely when I was younger I was as easy to impress with holiday decorations as she is now but I am so far from that place by this point I cannot see it.
I asked her what her favourite part of Christmas is and she answered "The Presents!". No shocker, but I fished a little for a more heartwarming response and asked her if she thought that presents were more important or if it was more important that we were going to visit her Nana and Papa and Uncle Matt at Christmas instead. She thought long and hard about that one and decided that presents were still her favourite thing and visits just didn't make number one. I tried to have a wonderful, heartwarming quote for my parents but I failed... perhaps I needed to sell the trip a little harder.
My plan is still to go with "The Santa Claus Game" as my technique for dealing with the jolly old myth and I wonder if she remembers that from when I talked about it last year. She is very interested in Santa's presents but doesn't seem particularly concerned with his characteristics or rules so I haven't really had a spot where I need to explain the realities of life to her. I probably should do that sometime soon though so we are clear - I don't want it to be a "crushing of dreams" moment but rather just a "just so we are all clear on this" moment but riding that line is tricky.
My post today is a bit meandering and I missed yesterday entirely. You can blame the voluminous quantities of snot exiting my body and perhaps the hacking cough. Either that or lazy, take your pick.