Sat inside a tall perspex cabinet it whirled gently around, casting flickering shadows onto tiny trees dusted with fake snow. Kitty stood next to it, her nose pressed up against the plastic as she drank in every detail. It was love at first sight.
And we thought the carousel was pretty; H and me, Elma, Grandma and Grandad and probably Pip too. Set in the middle of the garden centre’s Christmas Village, with little figures ice skating next door; the toy shop with the tiny train running around its base up above and a miniature snowball fight going on at the bottom of it’s steps. Father Christmas sat comfortably in his sleigh as horses dances around him, their riders clinging on with tiny plastic fingers.
We have a very small Christmas village, it’s more of a Christmas hamlet, that lives on the top of the dresser all through the Christmas holidays, and we’ve been know to add a snowman or two to the collection if we see something we really like, but a full working lit up carousel was a bit more than a little Christmas treat for the family, so we enjoyed it and started to wander on. Past the shelves. The shelves full of boxes of Christmas houses, Christmas toboggans, Christmas bandstands and singers and musicians and. We might have got away with it too were it not for the fact that in their infinite wisdom, those who stacked the shelves had put carousels right at my eldest daughter’s eye line.
And while we settled a fussing Pip and captured Elma before she disappeared off into the distance, Kitty found the right box, lifted it gently off the shelf and set off on a mission. Not to find her parents (I think she knew what our answer would have to be), or Grandma, but carefully weaving her way through the crowds to Grandad.
I never heard what their conversation was, I just saw the result. Kitty held up the box, and her grandfather looked, listened, and then together they placed it in our shopping trolley. I know, if we set her on solving international disputes we’d have world peace within a week.
And so we found ourselves the delighted owners of a beautiful Christmas carousel in mid-November. I’m pretty sure I could live with the idea of setting up the Christmas decorations by mid-November, but as we hadn’t tidied away the bits and bobs that seem to pile up on the dresser whenever I turn my back, and as half a month is far too long to wait to get your carousel out of the box we took it upstairs and set it up on top of the chest of drawers in the girls’ room.
And that’s where it lives. It never moved downstairs for Christmas it’s too much a part of upstairs life.
The girls will turn it on during the day if they’re playing upstairs, or I’ll put it on so that we can dance to the tune while we fold the laundry, and in the evening it is to all intents and purposes a rather beautiful and fancy nightlight. Often as we tuck the girls into bed we’ll turn the carousel on, and if they’re not feeling very sleepy, or just want to have a little thinking time before they fall asleep they curl up in bed, gazing up at it as it goes round and round, lulling them gently into dreams of sugar plums, stockings and fairground horses.
It doesn’t matter to either Kitty or Elma that it’s distinctly Christmassy, it’s their carousel, and it’s very very special.