There really could only be one picture for this week; the moment when Kitty, Elma and Pip went to meet Father Christmas.
Last year we’d had so much fun at Upton House we decided on a repeat visit, and again the National Trust did us proud.
I’m sure they do group sessions to make sure more children get to meet Father Christmas or something logical and organisational like that but actually for us it’s just perfect. Kitty, having been incredibly excited all day about the prospect of meeting Father Christmas suddenly decided that she wasn’t so sure about all of this professed bravery after all, and spent the first five minutes or so hiding in H’s lap, but as some of the other children asked whether he’d seen them in their school plays (yes), whether he remembered where they lived (yes, though thankfully for all that’s where that line of questioning ended), and what he’d like us to leave out on Christmas Eve (mine pies and a glass of red wine). And by the time he’d got on to the time honoured tradition of suggesting sprouts in custard as an alternative to Christmas dinner, she’d got over her shyness and was more than happy to take her turn and go up with a very eager Elma to meet the man himself.
Kitty asked very nicely for an Elsa dress and Elma without a moment’s hesitation said “I thirty-four!” when asked how old she was, though I’m reliably informed by Kitty that she then went on to ask for dressing up clothes under cover of the giggles elicited from her first answer.
Tucked up in the snug, by lamplight and twinkle lights, with more lights and baubles shimmering in the distance on the biggest Christmas tree I think I’ve ever seen you’d have to be pretty hard hearted not to just wallow in the festive spirit. And if all that wasn’t enough; if trees as tall as my house, thousands of baubles, lights everywhere and that gorgeous smell of real pine needles didn’t do the trick, there off in the distance were the carol singers; a little chamber choir letting the house ring out with music.
I watched Kitty with gleaming eyes clutch tight her little red wrapped parcel from Father Christmas, saw Elma’s determination to walk the whole length of the drive all by herself, and stood at the top of the stairs, rocking Pip in my arms listening to Silent Night come rippling down the long gallery, feeling the music wash over us in a moment of utter peacefulness.
Moments of Christmas, the moments that I hope will make their childhood memories.