The Christmas letter

November 21st. Shops are full of Christmas-related merchandise. Two boxes of mince pies have already been consumed. I caught the Pogues’ Fairytale of New York on the TV last night – my personal milestone for denoting the start of the official run-up to Christmas. And the boys decided this morning that they’re going to write letters to Santa.

Isaac with Christmas list
Have you got a first class stamp, Dad?

In truth, Christmas in our house started a fortnight ago when the boys and I embarked on our annual shopping expedition to buy a few new Christmas decorations for our trees. (Yes, we have two – the boys have our old artificial tree in their playroom, while we have a newer one in the living room.)

The anticipation will continue to build until Christmas Eve, when I will fire up the NORAD Santa Tracker app on the iPad so the kids can follow Santa’s progress across the globe. (You’ve got to love technology, right?) And there are various intermediate milestones along the way that have become traditional in our household. The trees are assembled as soon as it is December. Christmas cards go up after we have taken down Isaac’s birthday cards a few days later.

But now it looks like we have the beginning of a new Christmas tradition. Much though I will roll my eyes at it, I love the way the children embrace the festive season and the dedication and care that Isaac put into his Christmas list. Unprompted and without any assistance whatsoever, our six-year-old hacker-in-development fired up the PC, typed up the following in Word and printed it off.

Dear Father Christmas

After breakfast he accessed the Pentagon and narrowly averted World War Three with a game of tic-tac-toe. (There’s a 1980s film reference in there for readers of a certain age …)

I love the way he manipulates language – “please can you bring some of the listed items”, heh – and the care he has taken into listing a wide range of items, from sweets and a toy car to an iPod and camera.

Now all I need is a second mortgage to pay for it all. And possibly a third one by the time Toby has done his this evening …