Some years I take the babies and children I work with to see Santa.
I love it. They look so cute, the older ones get so excited and nervous; they infect me with Xmassy good feelings.
I’m a sucker for Christmas anyway, so it’s not hard to get my good-cheer-meter rising and since I love being with the babies and kids, putting the two together makes my day. If I got to also eat a too-big bowl of pasta while watching TV in my pyjamas at the end that day, I’d pretty much be in heaven.
I don’t have children (yet, I hope!) but I just assume I’ll love taking them to see Santa. I assume that I would jealously preside over such events, fighting off those who’d take on the task as though I were protecting my magical goose that lays golden eggs while writing pithy articles, curing cancer and inventing perpetual motion machines.
So when families ask me to take on the Santa visit duties for them, it gets me thinking about the differences between being a nanny and a parent. I’m paid to be with the children. I have no where else to be, nothing else to do. It’s well and good for me to find it easy to go to the shops or the post office, to enjoy carting them off to see Santa, to have time to lay on the floor with them… I don’t also have to manage the house and another job and a million other things (well I do, but on my own time!) and at the end of the day I unwind at home child-free.
I love taking the kids to see Santa. But if it were my own children, where would it fit on the scale of ‘rapturous pleasure’ to ‘arduous task’? How much do I assume that I will be the kind of mother I am nanny, when it’s clearly not the same thing?
I’m sure any parent would enjoy a happy Santa ritual (if they celebrate Christmas, ‘do’ Santa etc etc etc), I certainly don’t imagine any of them Grinching it up and scowling to see their offspring’s delight, their undersized hearts knocking hollowly against their scorched souls… But is the logistical baggage that comes with the visit to Santa sometimes so heavy it outweighs the potential joy? Do I overrate the Santa visit because I’m seeing it from an unrealistic perspective?
If you celebrate Christmas and the Father Christmas tradition – and have children, work with children, know children….
How do you feel about taking the bubs to see Santa?