It’s that joyous time of year… the annual visit to The Big Man….
When you first have children, you cannot wait to take them to see Santa. You envisage them sitting on his knee, lovingly looking up at him, and capturing the magic with a photo you can show the grandparents.
The reality is very different.
My eldest was 13mths when we first took her. She screamed her head off. “Santa” was basically a teenager with a dodgy fake beard. He didn’t know what to do, other than to look frantically at an elf that was older than he was.
The result was a crap picture of me holding the legs of my child as she screamed hysterically.
The second year we took her was much the same. We queued for what seemed like hours, got to the door of the grotto, and my daughter ran straight through it and out of the exit screaming her head off.
We then got kicked out because she jabbed a reindeer in the eye. We didn’t realise the thing was real.
Last year we took her to a more intimate setting. This time she got so intimidated she refused to speak. I found myself telling Santa what I wanted. We then ended up with another shit picture of me grinning and my daughter staring at the floor.
So this year, we decided to splash out a bit and make a day of it. I have no idea why I thought this would be any better. I was clearly drunk when I booked it.
We drive an hour down the motorway to The farm.We are promised an Elf village, piglet racing, nativity play and Santa himself.
The reality was a little different. It was muddy. I do not like mud. I do not like muddy puddles. I was not dressed for mud. We had been previously and there was no mud….
Child number 2 was already whinging. We’d been there 5 minutes. We decide to have dinner straight away just to shut him up. This worked for about 15 minutes.
To the “Elf village” we go. This is basically a very narrow shed. Child 2 is scared of the fairy lights on the floor and refuses to budge. Great.
We’re encouraged to make some “reindeer food” this is basically some Tesco basics porridge oats which you put in a bag. Daughter asks where the glitter is..
I reply there’s none as it kills the birds. She points out it’s for reindeers not birds. Course it is.
We trundle through the shed, and arrive at the sheep pen. Child 2 is scared of the sheep and has to be carried kicking and screaming past it.
We go to feed the goats. Child 2 is scared of the goat and legs it. We let him. No one is going to be stupid enough to take him home.
The daughter feeds the goats. “Mum,is that goat supposed to eat the paper bag?”
Kids decide they’re bored of the animals. Into the play barn we go. This is chaos. It is basically full of a shit load of kids ” releasing energy”
The noise hits you as soon as you walk in. Both kids starburst into opposite directions.
Now this play barn isn’t full of feral children. It is full of middle class kids called Theodore and Delilah. They are dressed in last seasons Joules and Boden attire which are weirdly mismatched and too small. Seriously, what is it about posh families and the way they dress their kids?!
One boy/girl – I couldn’t tell which gender they were owing to the hideous bowl haircut, was dressed in old blue leggings, a red striped top of which the arms stopped 3 inches from the wrist, and a floral 3/4 length skirt over the top.
Anyway, we placed our designer kids wellies next to the fellow Hunters and Joules and in we went… no where to sit so you are forced to stand at the side of the play area and supervise your kid, or go into the huge tree house. Hubby asks me which one of us is going in. I give him a look. He dutifully takes his boots off and into the chaos he goes.
Within minutes we have lost one child and the other one ( guess which one) wants to come out because he doesn’t like the green floor or something.
Soon it’s time to go and see Santa. Child 2 is flagging. This should be fun.
Into another shed we go where the kids are encouraged to make a card for Santa. Child 2 is tired and decides to roll around on the glitter covered floor. Daughter makes 2 cards but refuses point blank to even write her name in.
We then enter into a festive room to see The big man himself.
There’s around 12 kids inside who are asked to sit nicely on the benches in front of him. The parents are requested to stand at the back of the room.
Daughter sits dutifully at the front. Child 2 does not. Instead, he decides he wants to practically sit on Santa himself. He wants some of the attention. So like a car reversing, he sticks his bum out and starts walking backwards, edging himself closer and closer.
Santa is addressing the rest of the kids. Child 2 is now leaning against Santa’s knees. The parents give a polite smile before realising that he’s not moving, therefore he’s not budging from any photo’s they want to take.
I move forward and grab my child putting him on a bench. I’m forced to bend down behind it trying to hold him in place. He refuses and throws himself forward. He escapes and resumes his position in front of Santa.
He wanders around for a bit. He heads towards a display of presents and starts dismantling them. I’m stuck behind the bench. I cannot reach him because it means walking in front of Santa who is still giving a speech.
Child 2 picks up a soft toy and sticks it up his top. An Elf tries to gently take it back, but the child lobs it on the floor and runs over it to stand in front of Santa again. This time, he notices Santa’s beard and decides to give it a little tug. Thankfully Santa foresees this and clings onto it.
We are now done with Santa and the kids go into the workshop to pick a gift. Daughter gleefully tells me that she’s traded her coin in for a slime making kit. She is gleeful because she knows I would never have allowed her to pick it had I had known it was there.
We head home soon afterwards. Child 2 is asleep by the time we get out the carpark. Daughter spends the hour journey telling us she can’t wait to make slime when she gets back. We tell her to wait until after tea and daddy will supervise.
We get home. By the time I take my coat off, daughter informs me that she’s made the slime….into the living room I go. There are hundreds of slime particles all over the floor, table and chairs. The slime she’s managed to make is a rigid mess in a cup. We are forced to hoover up and chuck the remaining mess. Daughter spends the entire evening crying.
A minute after hoovering, child 2 drops his crisps into the carpet and treads on them…