Last Friday night we went to the official turning on of the Christmas lights put on by the City of Perth. By the time we had Mishali dressed, and debated which shoes she would wear, managed to quell her crying because the shoes she wanted didn't actually exist, drove into the city, found a park a gazillion miles away from the main event, parked, walked to the main event - there were more than 2000 people packed into a tiny square (Perth is not a big city) with hordes of parents doing the same as us, placating our children and trying to recreate our memories of Christmases past. Bob and I were so not into this event. Never again!
It was crowded; over-crowded. There was a stage show at one end of the mall, with a big screen broadcasting the action on stage. 200 metres away we couldn't even see the big screen. But we were next to the Christmas tree, which lighting of the tree was the main event. With both kids tired, hungry and cranky as it was way past bedtime, and all the parents connecting through surreptitious glances and comments under the breath - damning the fact it was so crowded and the lights did not turn on at exactly 7.30pm so we could all go home - the blasted tree finally lit up and we were all so unimpressed. Even the kids were so super not-impressed.
We then tried to get out of this crazy melee, to flee for home, but were blocked by what I can only describe as iron baricades from a cattle yard. Fenced in, we had to wait until Santa's float (pulled by a good old Aussie ute) was dragged past the teeming hordes.
Oh our poor smart little Toby.
*Mummy, they're not real reindeer, they're fibreglass*. (Yes he knows the difference between animal flesh, plastic and fibreglass)
*Mummy do those presents have anything in them? I don't think so*.
*Mummy Santa's sleigh is too small to hold all the presents for all the children around the world*.
Mummy was too tired and too cranky to even make up lies.
*Toby, ask your father*.
So we finally escaped Santa-season-Alcatraz, got the kids a bendy balloon and headed for home.
Our new family tradition is now, once the Christmas lights go on in the City of Perth (an event we will never attend again) then we can put up our tree.
So here we are mid-November, our tree up, with both kids eagerly running to the letter box to see if Postman Pat has delivered a card saying we must immediately rush to the local post office to pick up whatever parcel Santa tried to deliver that day.
Despite hating crowds, and shows that disappoint even the children, and abhorring supermarkets that display Christmas goods way too soon in the year, I kinda like this Christmas. A trip to Bunnings saw us purchase $160 of icicle lights to decorate our house. Poor Bob, I'm not getting up on that ladder.
Maybe I will become one of those crazy Christmas house decorators, who spends every spare cent on illuminated Santa path lights, and flashing reindeer, fake snow and little wrapped parcels full of nothing. The kids and I may even make a wreath for the front door no-one uses.
If you can't beat them, join them. I am getting into Christmas this year.
Here are my beautiful babies snogging in front of our 2014 Christmas tree, decorated with the same plastic rubbish and flashing lights as last year, lights that will surely cause a seizure in one of us some day.