Rule number 4 – Seeing only one (and the best) Father Christmas…
(Warning, you may want to throw a Brussel sprout or two at me after reading this…!)
The grotto experience is a once in a year trip and the years are short. As we all know, our children grow up so fast and soon enough will no longer believe in the magic. It is therefore so important that every effort is made to ensure that this experience is as magical as possible and that children only meet one Father Christmas each year.
Which leads me to my bah-humbug moment. I am sorry to say it but I wish, really wish, like really, really, really wish that well meaning people would not role out a crappy Father Christmas at every opprotunity. I know you are just trying to be nice. I really, really do. But please just stop!
Of course, if you are a proper Father Christmas with a proper Father Christmas suit, by all means, children and parents would be absolutely delighted to ‘bump’ into you (obviously having agreed this to be the plan before hand). But for the most part, clubs and organisations who ‘invite a special guest’ to the party by dressing up some poor Dad in a rubbish felt suit with an elasticated beard, does not add to the wonder of Christmas at all. Far from it. In fact, I would go so far as to say that they actually risk the magic of Father Christmas altogether.
Of course, if everyone used Elves instead we would not have this problem!
There are parents who are unable to take their children to a formal Grotto, and for them, perhaps seeing Father Christmas come to their club is a nice thing to do, and as I have l already said, there is no need for FC to only show up in a formal Grotto. But, and here is my big but (and the bit where I duck so you can throw those rotten sprouts at me if you want to) we are insulting our children’s intelligence by them meeting a substandard Father Christmas. Surely we owe our children more than that. Either get a proper Father Christmas or send an Elf. Elves can still be magic, create wonder and bring small gifts. Elves can explain how busy Father Christmas is because there are so many children on the nice list this year. Elves can even bring a personalised letter for each child from Father Christmas himself telling them that they have been good this year, that they are on the nice list, and that he looks forward to visiting them and their siblings (which you can of course name in the letter) on Christmas Eve. Find a drama student, friend of a friend, or anyone who believes in making the magic for children, and on the promise of a pint or glass of wine or two, you can dress them as any kind of Elf you like and create a much more memorable experience for your child than you will do with Tom, Jack or Harry’s Dad in some red felt!
Please keep your well intentioned FCs well out of the way…I beg you!