Last week we began a tradition that I’ve been excited about ever since Thomas was born. We sat down together and wrote his first proper letter to Father Christmas.
We’ve mentioned to him a couple of times recently that he could “maybe ask Father Christmas” when he has expressed his latest wish for a particular new train or two. But the excitement for writing a letter reached fever pitch this week just before a trip to the library. I had to explain to Thomas that we’d have to return a very favourite book about trains as we’d reached the maximum number of renewals. He sat at the top of the stairs and sulked for a few moments before his face lit up. He looked at me and declared “I’m going to ask Father Christmas”. We headed off to the library and to run a few other errands, finishing with a Mummy-and-Thomas-date in Starbucks. There he pulled all the usual tricks of charming (or irritating, depending on their disposition) other customers and engaged in a long conversation about dinosaurs with an elderly gentleman. When I told him it was time to put his coat on, he ran back to the same man and declared at the top of his voice “I’m going home now. I’m going to write my letter.”
And I’d hardly got us through the door before he was pulling me towards the table asking if we could start yet.
He dictated to me carefully what he wished to ask for. He also added that he thought he’s been a good boy (and I couldn’t help but elaborate that I felt he’d been “mostly good”!!) His list consisted of two new wooden railway trains, a new train for his electric train set and his beloved train book. (The first two items we’d already got covered. I discovered later that day that the book is actually out of print. Cue a five minute panic until I managed to find a used copy in “very good condition”. Crisis averted!)
When he was finished, I asked him if he wanted to write his name at the bottom. He’s been getting better at forming specific shapes and letters for a while, but hasn’t really shown much interest in writing anything specific other than numbers up until now. And being so young, it’s definitely not something I want to push or even work at. So imagine my surprise when he took the pen and wrote his name, if not entirely clearly, at least recognisably at the bottom! I don’t care how gushy I sound, it was a proud mummy moment and somehow seemed extra special to be at the bottom of that particularly traditional letter.
The decoration around the edges was all his own work too, after a raid of my Christmas craft supplies.
Later that evening, before bath time, we completed the establishment of a tradition by placing the letter in the fireplace. (Excuse our fireplace. Hopefully it will be replaced by a lovely stove sometime in the new year!) As a child, we never made much of a ceremony about actually sending our letters. I think my mum just took them to “post”. We didn’t have a fireplace anyway. But I’ve been looking forward to spinning the story of the letter in the fireplace being collected by elves overnight. And Thomas, obviously, got completely on board. He even ran to check the following morning and declared with glee that “The letter has gone.”
Fortunately no elves really seized the letter, for that is one that will be going in to the memory box for keeps!