'First Christmas': 2nd is the new 1st

Christmas is a time for firsts;

Whether it be; your first Christmas as a couple, first as husband and wife, in a new house, with a newborn or first with a child that believes in the magic of Santa Claus. I've 2 kids now so I've completed all of the above ......if I was on the PlayStation I'd have several achievements unlocked at this stage.

My little man is 6 (…...going on 12, or so it seems) so its been a long time since his first Christmas but I remember it being spent visiting both relatives and the Care Doc. Oh what fun we had! He had a really high temperature and couldn't keep anything down. I hate to break it to new parents but Christmas to a newborn is just like any other day, except there's more flashing lights, less routine and more commotion going which will most likely lead to irritability and general crabbiness.

At 8 months old it didn't matter to him that it was Christmas, you could dress him in as many 'elf outfits' as you like or a bib that says 'My 1st Xmas', he doesn't remember. This kind of thing is only for the parents, to look back on their kid in the photos (and show to the first girlfriend you bring home).

The same applies to my little one, she was only 2 months old last Christmas and we did the rounds of the grandparents and everyone got a cuddle and photo op in her little Santa Babygro but was it really her first Christmas? I suppose technically it was but to me this one coming will be her real 1st Christmas. She's just turned one and is a little bundle of joy/mischief.

As I write this, its the 2nd of December and today is 'Tree Day', this year the stars have cosmically aligned, its both; the first weekend in December and the Late Late toy show is on (If your tree doesn't go up tonight then I contend that you just aren't Irish).

...Oh my God!! the Tree!! I forgot about having a toddler and a tree!

Last year the whole tree thing was easy, no one pulling or dragging out of it. Just a little bundle of joy dressed in her Christmas attire, napping, pooping and screaming through the festivities (Thankfully her main sleep matched up perfectly to the traditional 'post Christmas Dinner couch coma'). How will we survive this year? In a few hours battle will commence. Another Christmas first... the first tree versus toddler battle. What shall we do? I better consult with the Boss....(my wife, of course)

'Oh look!! What are all these shiny things?'

'We could just put ornaments on the top of the tree, where she can't reach'

'Don't be silly'

'How about we block it off with something?'

'Like a cordoned off nativity scene in a shopping centre, get real'

'So what do we do?'

'We just put up the tree like normal and say Ah! Ah! If she goes near it'

'hmm....this is going to be a long month'

So the tree is now up

We are officially at war. I'm playing the role of the UN; stepping in to cease hostilities with only the power of 'Ah Ah Ah!' at my disposal. The tree really isn't helping here, its just standing there, not even fighting back. (Not like the one my now 6 year old faced during his real first Christmas).

 

Tree Wars 2: The Tree fights back

Ah! Its all prickly!
— Ben, aged 1 and a 1/2

What chance does this static tree have against a rampaging toddler with an eye for shiny items? There's only one way to save this tree...... by using more distraction techniques than a seasoned magician.

Behold the all singing all dancing tree distractor

So we've managed to wean her off the Christmas tree, onto a smaller, noisier, dancing tree that still requires me to press a button every 30 or so seconds. (Actually, now that I think about it I'm not sure which is worse). Anything at ground level is fair game......even the 'Elf on the Shelf' was scrambling for higher ground

'Help me!!'

If you have a little person in your house then you're going to have a similar battle this Christmas. You have to realise you've entered a new stage in your life. No longer are you the child who wonders at the magic of Santa delivering all that wonderful gifts. Gone are the late teen, early 20's 'Drinking Christmases'. You are an adult now, maybe even 'the adult'. You are the one organising the festivities. You've been passed the baton.

Sacrifices have to be made, however you get to witness the childhood wonder of the Christmas period from the other side. Christmas is about kids, so sit back and enjoy the magic enfold. (Even if that entails listening to a 12 inch dancing tree belt out rocking around the Christmas tree for the 467th time). I'm not going to sugar coat it, its going to be hard work; entertaining kids, making sure no one eats a bauble or ends up in A and E due some bizarre tinsel related incident (there's a 'tinsel-itis' joke in here somewhere).

For all the diversionary button pressing, endless festive films, constant moving of little people away from the hot oven and the pain in your back from Lego building on the floor there'll be those moments that make it all worth while; the excitement coming down the stairs in the morning, the delight on their little faces as they open their presents (the obligatory playing in the boxes that the presents came in rather than with the presents themselves).

Some memories money can't buy, be prepared, make it their first real Christmas, the kind of Christmas that they'll want their kids to have in the future (once the baton has been passed yet again)

What are your Christmas plans with the kids? How are you keeping them out of 'festive danger'? Are you ready for both the stress and joy of this Christmas? Let me know in the comments...

Have a good one,

Happy Christmas

Daddy Poppins