Mummy vs Father Christmas
At this time of year, our thoughts often turn to Santa. How, we wonder, does he get around the world in a single night? How does he keep track of whether our children are naughty or nice? He must work terribly hard to get things ready every year, we say to each other.
The children are not preoccupied with such practicalities. They love Santa unconditionally, despite never having met him. The mention of his name and the proximity of his visit is enough to sort out any naughty behaviour. And they are thrilled at the thought of meeting him and giving him a cuddle.
Mothers? Well, our Christmas isn’t quite the same as Santa’s. For a start, we’re on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If our children are naughty, we don’t have the option of simply giving them coal – we actually have to do something about it.
We work terribly hard to get things ready every day.
The children may love us unconditionally, but they sometimes have a funny way of showing it. The mention of mummy doesn’t inspire any particular enthusiasm. And cuddles are often simply a means of wheedling another cookie out of us.
Oh and did I mention? Santa gets fed wherever he goes. He doesn’t have to prepare his own snacks. He sits on a sleigh and doesn’t have to move a muscle for most of his journey (the reindeers, I imagine, are pretty self-sufficient and don’t require constant toilet breaks when travelling). He has elves – tiny people who actually help out.
And not only does he not have to worry about putting on weight – he’s actively encouraged to be fat.
So this Christmas, children, be excited about Santa by all means.
But try to remember that, whilst he may receive the accolade, he's probably not the one who works hardest at Christmas time.