“Are you excited about Christmas?!”
This is the first question out of everyone’s mouths when they speak to Arlo. This question has been being asked since early December. That’s one looong Christmas build up.
Christmas has been pushed onto him so much when I feel that at the tender age of three, he hasn’t really had a chance to work out his own excitement about Christmas yet. Instead, he is left a little confused – he knows that he should be excited, but he doesn’t quite understand why.
This year, Arlo’s Christmas excitement is very sweet and understated. He’s not counting down the days until Father Christmas’s arrival. Nor is he particularly interested in the growing pile of presents under the tree.
The things Arlo has enjoyed most about Christmas are: “Dada’s Christmas holidays”, singing Christmas songs, writing Christmas cards to his friends, and telling me repeatedly that he is seeing Grandma and Grandad on Christmas Day, and Grandma and Oscar the dog on Boxing Day. That’s what he’s most looking forward to – visiting his family.
Here he is singing some very cute renditions of his favourite Christmas songs:
There’s an encounter with Father Christmas every week – Father Christmas was at the local Christmas party, he was at the farm, he came to visit Arlo’s preschool. Every Cbeebies program is Christmas-related. There’s just SO much Christmas stuff going on for little ones these days. It seems December is one long Christmas party, with preschool drumming the Christmas imagery into his head as soon as the calendar month started.
Was it really like this when I was young, or have things changed? My memories of Christmas as a child don’t seem so full on, and Father Christmas was a distant, mystical figure who certainly wasn’t present at every turn.
It’s with a sense of unease that I watch the commercialism of Christmas pulling at my three year old. Not because I don’t want him to get swept up in the presents and the treats. Or because I think Christmas commercialism ‘spoils’ children.
Come Christmas Day, I’m sure he WILL be excited. The sugar rush will see to that, even if the present-opening doesn’t.
I just want him to be able to work out his own excitement towards Christmas in his own time.