Fa la la la la

Oh Christmas Tree, oh Christmas Tree, deck the halls with bows of holly, fa la la la la, la la la la, we wish you a merry Christmas, and a partridge in a pear tree.

It’s that time of year again. For the last few weeks people have been playing Christmas songs and everybody’s been groaning at how early it is. But now it’s December, now nobody has any excuses.

For the last few years I’ve put the average Christmas carol to one side, ignored the top 40 of Christmas, and found a bit of Christmas cheer in the unlikeliest of places: Australia.

I recently spent a month in Australia, it’s a country where my heart has belonged long before I’d ever set foot there. So much so that ever since I discovered a little thing called Australian Christmas carols, my life (and my Christmas) has never been the same.

Now, I’m sure you’ll agree Australia and Christmas don’t really go together. As a British born human, Christmas is a time when we place bets on whether there’ll be snow, and we always, always have a full roast dinner.

Australia, unfortunately, get all of the hype of a white Christmas, with none of the reward. Some places hit 40 degrees on Christmas Day, and some are threatened with bush fires.

So, what exactly does an Australian Christmas carol entail? Everything Aussie, of course.

There is no song that quite explains an Australian Christmas quite like Jingle Bells. (I know, I know…dashing through the snow hardly sounds Australian, but take a few minutes to listen anyway!)

On the first day of Blogmas…

blogmas-day-1Your three year old doesn’t want an iPad for Christmas, nor does he also want a PlayStation, a computer and a phone. He probably doesn’t even want Paw Patrol, or Peppa Pig. He’s three. Give him some brightly coloured stacking cups and he’ll probably be happy enough.

This November/December I’ve been working as a helper for Father Christmas. It’s a fun job. I’ve been opening his letters and helping him to respond (there’s so many, after all).

I can split the letters up into two different piles – those who ask Father C for the world, and those who ask for very little.

The letters are funny – little Evie wants a pork pie…for her uncle. I’m not sure how he’d feel about that?

There’s been at least one pony.

Dozens and dozens of iPads, iPhones, laptops, computers, and PlayStations – many of requests for which have come from small children. Some wanting all of the above. As I said, your three year old doesn’t need an iPad for Christmas. They also don’t need a NEW iPad for Christmas (suggesting they already have one that is unlikely to be older than their few years on this Earth…)!

Aside from the over the top, bulging lists, from families who probably have more money than I’ve made in my entire working life, there have also been some heartwarming ones.

One girl also wrote a letter for her two year old sister, she didn’t want much; some toys, but it’s the thought that counts. Father Christmas appreciates the thought of a nine year old considering their younger sibling.

What Father Christmas does not appreciate is children who do not know how to say please and thank you.

Maybe fifty per cent of letters actually showed good manners. Maybe less. Those that did were praised for it. Sometimes I think it’s a shame Father C doesn’t suggest children use their manners, or else they won’t be getting anything this year.

Alas, I would probably not be allowed to continue helping Father C if I was to suggest such a thing.

Many, many children also didn’t seem to understand the concept of a letter. The letters come on already printed sheets, so ‘Dear Father Christmas’ already exists. Unfortunately, what follows for many is merely a list.

Dear Father Christmas,

iPad
Peppa Pig
Frozen whatsit
All the Shopkins
Laptop
Motorised scooter
Electric propellered flying bicycle
Three computers and a PlayStation 4, slim, even though we already have a PS4 and an X Box
The World

And so few signed it off nicely. So few thanked Father Christmas.

Though, if the children are to be believed, he’s going to be putting on some more weight this year. Perhaps he’ll save some of the treats for me, since I’ve helped him out with his letters.

This blog was brought to you on day one of Blogmas, a bit of random festive-related blogging up until Christmas. Think of it as my advent calendar to you. What will you get tomorrow? We’ll see! (Ideas for future days are most welcome, though cannot be guaranteed to be used.)

Thanks to Charlie for doing Blogmas, without whom I would not be inspired.