One of the bonuses of having young children in the family is that at this time of year you get to do some great things.
Visits to the panto, heart-warming moments at school Nativity plays, trips out in the car to see homes with over-the-top illuminations in neighbouring towns and villages, and, most special of all, joining the queue to see Santa in his grotto.
A consequence of having a learning disabled child is that these wonderful festive events continue well beyond the time when most children have become more knowing and cynical and are no longer interested.
So it was, that a couple of years ago that we found ourselves queuing with a larger than average child to see Father Christmas before boarding a Santa Special train.
Rory was very well-behaved and queued beautifully to meet the man in red, which is why we weren’t quite prepared for what has become one of our funniest Christmas memories but at the time came as a bit of a shock.
The fat man with the beard made the mistake of asking our young chap ‘and what do you want for Christmas?’.
Rory replied with the well-rehearsed answer (still one of the few three-word phrases he commands) ‘racing game presents’ and with that Santa handed him, with warm words about getting what he wanted, a wrapped gift – very much in the shape of a computer game – and we were ushered towards the door. As we stepped outside, the paper was ripped from the package and simultaneously Rory let out a roar and started back, presumably to ‘sort out’ Father Christmas – it wasn’t a ‘racing game’ at all, but a rather dull DVD.
I’m not sure if Santa was aware how close he came to being confronted by a very angry young man that day, but me and Mrs T are proud to say that we managed divert Rory and save Christmas for future generations.
It was, needless to say, the last time we took Rory to see Santa.
There are many cautionary tales set at Christmas, the best known of which must be Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, aimed at those with Scrooge-like tendencies. This story, too, has a moral, but is directed more at Father Christmas: Don’t promise what you can’t deliver – especially if the kid is bigger than average!
-- Mrs T went to buy our usual family organiser from M&S last week, only to be told they didn’t have any – they all had to be sent back because they’d put Father’s Day on the wrong date. Oops!