Every Christmas Eve we meet at our friends’ house in the main town of the island (the only one I know on this rock that always has a real Christmas tree, a fire roaring and all sorts of handmade decorations). We love going there for various reasons. To start with, we are always the only locals present. Our friends are German and Welsh respectively and the other families invited are usually German, British and French. This makes for interesting conversations and I am always fascinated to learn about different traditions. Another reason is that our children (who all go to the same school) have a ball. The can run around barefoot (the floor is heated too) and our hosts are very laid back so it’s not unusual for the little ones to jump on the sofas and do somersaults all over the place. The highlight of the evening, though, is when one of the guests (the funniest German I know, named Didi) slips out of the house and returns a few minutes later dressed as Father Christmas. He then proceeds to call the children one by one, sits them on his knee and has a conversation with each. Before the transformation into Father Christmas, he is briefed about one thing that each child needs to work on that year and is given a present to give to said child.
Last year, our daughter was having problems controlling the amount of toilet paper she used every time she visited the ladies’. It wasn’t unusual for a roll to last just a day. So in comes Father Christmas and all the children waited with bright eyes for their turn. They were so excited that nobody said a word (a rare occurrence). When it was our daughter’s turn, she walked shyly to him and looked expectedly at his toy sack. Her face fell when he fished out a roll of toilet paper***. He then explained that he was shocked to learn of the amount she wasted every time and made her promise to use only 2 squares of paper every visit. And that was all it took. A word from Father Christmas. Since then she has learned to control her urge to go through half a roll every time and she still quotes the white-bearded man to this day about the matter. In fact, she made sure to mention it in her letter.
This year, we are thinking that he should give her a talking to about the mess she leaves her clothes in every time she eats. We might need a bib for that…
***He then gave her a Barbie doll but the toilet paper made a bigger impact!