Christmas is a time to revive traditions, but also – perhaps – to start some new ones. Tonight, we will gather in the garden at twilight with a torch to send a signal up to the skies; we have a special parcel for Santa to come and collect.
Everyone knows that Father Christmas has a huge workshop at the North Pole where the presents for children all around the world are made by thousands of elves, overseen by the benevolent but watchful eye of Mrs Claus; it’s been immortalised in books and films, and is, as far as Christmas goes, a universally understood truth. Not many people know, however, that Santa also has a repair shop, where pre-loved toys are sent in by children so that they can be lovingly repaired and restored, or simply polished and wrapped, ready to be given to another, smaller child who would adore it.
We’ve been busily collecting the clothes that Harry has outgrown, and the toys which were once favourites but are now relegated to the bottom of the toy-box, and have boxed them up to go to the North Pole. Harry is delighted that another small boy might be waiting for his exact yellow truck – and it means that we get to clear the playroom a little ahead of Christmas when new toys are sure to arrive.
From our perspective it works a treat too; Harry’s main Christmas present this year will be his first bike; a gleaming red two-wheeler with a bell and shiny paintwork that is very cool but – without a doubt – definitely second-hand. We found it at a junk sale and knew it would be perfect for him. Explaining that it has come from Santa via the North Pole workshop will account for the occasional scratches and dents, and give it even more of a cool factor; the former possessions of bigger boys are much coveted.
I hope that this becomes a new tradition for us; it emphasises the importance of giving and sharing, helps to keep our house free of outgrown toys and also allows us to have direct contact with the big man himself at the North Pole.
Five flashes of your torch, by the way, will alert Santa and the Elves that they need to swing by in the night to make the collection. Leave your boxes by the back door or in the hearth, and in the morning you’ll wake up to find a candy cane as receipt of your package. And parents; all we have to remember to do is to hide the boxes in the back of the car ready to give to the local charity shop or collection.
Now, must add candy canes to my shopping list today….