Last Christmas was one of our least festive on record. We moved house on the last day for completions before Christmas and most of the holidays were spent trying to unpack while keeping our nearly one-year-old entertained. Decorations didn’t even get a thought, which actually was fine as Tilly was much too little to understand any of it but did enjoy the process of opening presents and examining her new toys.

A year on and the house is in shape and we’re ready to deck the halls. Tilly is nearing her second birthday and although unaware of Christmas she’ll soon detect that something’s afoot as all of her toddler groups hold Christmas parties over the next couple of weeks. It will certainly be the last year before she goes headlong into Christmas overdrive, so we’ve been mulling over whether to go the full hog or enjoy perhaps enjoy a quieter and more sane holiday.

Driving home for Christmas

Visiting family and friends is for us very much what our Christmas is all about. With everyone spread all over the place it’s the time of year when we’ll all congregate, catch up and make merry. Tilly is the only child in both immediate families so our job is really to turn up and let the small person Christmas magic happen (that’s how it works, right?)

It’ll be interesting to gauge whether Tilly goes particularly hyper or simply treats it as one of the occasional family visits we make. We will definitely be stepping up with capturing Tilly opening her presents on video, possibly even going as far as Skype, depending on how unfeasibly early in the day it is.

Presents to inspire a little person

There will be presents, no doubt about it, although we’ll hopefully use the occasion as an opportunity to move on Tilly’s playing habits. The electronic toys we were bombarded with last year have long since taken a back seat in favour of imaginative play and we’re really keen to help promote Tilly’s imagination and creativity further. Duplo, construction, drawing and making and likely to feature heavily as may either houses or vehicles for Tilly’s small friends to play in.

Note to journalists: As there are always news articles about men being late buyers of Christmas presents I can state for the record that my own shopping is well underway and aside from some late inspirational surprise gifts, everything is in hand. Thank you for your concern.

Child-proofing the Christmas decorations

Midwinter can be a cold, damp, dark and depressing time of year and it’s no surprise that it’s long been a time for celebration and feasts. Even in our age of the electric light, there’s a yearning for more brightness than the short days provide. We’re planning to put up a decent real Christmas tree but have to try to make it safe for a marauding toddler.

Fortunately we’ve a study into which child access is very much restricted. We’re going to locate the tree in their and manage Tilly’s access to first help decorate the tree – which could be an extremely interest experience in itself – and later to enjoy looking at it during dark afternoons.

The jolly bloke down the chimney

We’re not at all sure how Tilly will respond to the idea of a character coming down the chimney (and we do now have one) to deliver presents. Although Father Christmas / Santa does feature in some of Tilly’s books, she’s yet to show any particular interest in who he is, so we’re not planning to push the idea too much this year. New toys do crop up throughout the year, not least due to my parents’ relentless scouring of car boot sales, so more presents may not necessarily cause Tilly to question it all. We’re going to go with the flow this year as next year there will be no escaping it all.

Silly Christmas daddy

Normally I can’t stand dressing up but when I’ve got my daddy cap on – which to be fair is most of time – such inhibitions are relaxed and something inside is actually getting rather excited about donning a daft Santa hat to accompany Tilly’s festive party outfit. I can only put it down to wanting to fit into the stereotype of a silly and somewhat eccentric daddy figure. Well that’s fine by me.

Going with the flow

As you may have gathered we’re going to go with the flow this year and see what Tilly makes of it all. I have no idea what format the various toddler group Christmas parties are going to take and this may build some Christmas anticipation or it might have no effect whatsoever. What I am expecting though are a lot of magical moments that we’ll remember for years to come.

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