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Dec 8 / Caro

Introducing the Concept of Christmas to a Two Year Old

This year will be Thomas’s third Christmas, but the first where he will have any clue about what is really going on. He was just six weeks old for his first Christmas, and too little to even notice, never mind care, that we dressed him up as an adorable elf and tried him for size in the roasting tin! Last year he took notice of the tree but was freaked out by Father Christmas and had no real understanding of what was happening. It took him well over two weeks to actually unwrap all of his gifts!

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But we’ve always known that this year, at just over two, it would all be different. He’s old enough, and smart enough, to have some sort of understanding of the whole concept of Christmas and even to begin to be able to anticipate things that are going to happen in the future. And it’s this sense of anticipation that we’ve really wanted to help him with.

Ordinarily, I’m not one for starting Christmas early. I think dragging out too long dilutes the magic and makes it actually seem less special. As children, our Mum’s birthday in early December marked the absolute earliest we could begin Christmas preparations and excitement and the tree did not arrive until at least the second week of the month. In general this is the pattern that I want our Christmas season as a family to continue to follow. But this year, as I filled up the December calendar with Christmassy events – a trip on the Santa special, Thomas’s first visit to the theatre to see an age-appropriate production of The Night Before Christmas, Christmas markets and Christmas parties – I began to wonder if this would all be a bit overwhelming to our toddler. I wanted him to be able to understand what these events were in aid of, who Father Christmas is and most of all to see it all as a build up to Christmas Day – the build up that I remember so fondly from my own childhood.

So this year, for one year only, we started to introduce Christmas a little earlier. About a week after Thomas’s birthday we brought out the books containing Christmas stories – particular favourites have included the Mr Men Christmas stories and Rod Campbell’s Dear Santa (although I have to admit to changing the words to Dear Father Christmas when reading aloud – I’m a bit of a traditionalist like that!) We also brought out Christmas themed Sticker books, which have been a massive hit, and as a direct result of these Thomas quickly understood who Father Christmas is and the multitude of different forms he takes in printed media. He also became an expert at spotting Christmas trees and naming the various decorations he could see on them. The final part of our pre-Christmas prep was the classic DVDs of Father Christmas and The Snowman. These have been surprisingly big hits and although I’ve always loved The Snowman score, after listing to it about three times a day every day for the last couple of weeks, I’m officially sick of it!

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I also introduced a bit of Christmas craft. Thomas is obsessed with “sticking” at the moment, so we constructed our very own Father Christmas from a kitchen roll tube, red and black paper, cotton wool some googly eyes and a pipe cleaner. I felt very Blue Peter and Thomas adored all the glue he got to apply to the paper and sticking the cotton wool in to place!

Christmas Crafting

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All the prep seems to have paid off too. Thomas is absolutely loving the Christmas season. He points out Christmas trees everywhere we go and was so excited to buy our own. When we made the mistake of telling him we were going to go and buy one he declared that he wanted “biggest twee” and that we had to “go buy twee now. Pay for twee” whilst putting his shoes in my lap, despite the fact that I wasn’t yet dressed. (Buying, and paying for, things is another of Thomas’s current obsessions.) When we got it home, he couldn’t wait to “derricate” it and had great fun hanging baubles and directing us where to place them.

Our trip to see Father Christmas was an absolute success. He sat happily on his knee chatting about the “big present” he wanted, and even posed for photographs!

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He wanders around the house talking about “Christmas time coming. Father Christmas coming.” and singing various Christmas songs to himself – chiefly Jingle Bells and Father Christmas, He Got Stuck, which he has learned ready for the nursery Christmas sing along next week. Bizarrely Old MacDonald also has a “Christmas Duck” on his farm at the moment. The Christmas Duck says “Jingle Quack”!

I am loving seeing the Christmas season through Thomas’s eyes for the first time, and I’m so glad we started introducing the idea to his with enough time for him to really take it all in.

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2 Comments

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  1. Carie / Dec 9 2013

    Aww! Tiny elf Thomas was so cute! I love your Blue Peter Father Christmas – I hope there was some sticky backed plastic in there somewhere!

    • Caro / Dec 9 2013

      No sticky backed plastic I’m sorry to say. I do have an idea for a festive winter window craft using the stuff, but I think Thomas may be a bit small for that one this year, so it will have to wait until next year. If I wanted the true Blue Peter effect I suppose we’d have coathangers, tinsel and candles in our front room now… Given the fire hazard, I’m glad to say that we don’t!

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