While I personally think it’s still too early to put the Christmas tree up, my children disagree. I promised we’d do it today, and at 7 on the dot this morning, the pestering started.
“Mummy, c’mon. Get out of bed,” BB ordered, tugging at the duvet. “You said we’d put the tree up.”
“Later, BB, later,” I uttered in reply, but to no avail. The kids’ excitement about hanging twinkly lights, baubles and tinsel on a fake tree had taken on the momentum of a runaway train that wasn’t about to be halted by a mummy hoping for a lie-in.
I gave in – and got up. We hauled the decorations from the outside storeroom to the house, dusted them off, and got started (minus the Christmas music – as I said, too blimin’ early).
You would think that living in a Muslim country might mean Christmas would start a little later. Not so. The shops are full of it, their floors adorned with trees and their windows decked out.
But the commercialism aside, it’s definitely harder to convey the true meaning of Christmas here. It’s all a bit of a hush-hush operation at BB’s international school, where they do put on a celebration, but disguised as a ‘winter festival’.
To be honest, my children don’t think beyond the presents – and I was reminded of my shortfall in this department today.
Each year, I bring out a nativity scene that I bought at a Christmas festival. As I was setting it up, LB came over and peered at the figurines: he touched the baby Jesus swaddled in the manger; looked quizzically at the reverent wise men bearing gifts, the proud, tired parents and the guardian angel. Then he reached out and grabbed the cow sitting lowing in the hay.
“Mummy, what is it?” he asked, with a not-so-reverent shine in his eyes. “Is it a farm?”
Mental note to self: make sure that this is the year my children learn the basic story of the nativity.