Before I became a dad, Christmas was an important time for me to meet up with the family, have a hearty meal together and exchange a few gifts around the fireplace. But this ritual eventually became routine and the magic of Christmas was lost. I didn’t feel as bothered about what this time of the year meant anymore.
The sparkling decorations, the smell of clementines, the crackle of the fire…
Since becoming a dad, I’ve rediscovered what a wonderful time of the year it is! When Luna was born, Christmas was once again that special time of year, similar to when I was a child: the sparkling decorations, the smell of clementines, the crackle of the fire, the merry-go-round*, the candles, reuniting with the family… I enjoy everything about Christmas now and preparing for it during the whole month of December.
My 4 tips for getting into the Christmas spirit
1. The toy catalogues. when I glance through them, I remember the ones I liked to play with, and I see ones I would have ordered if I were still a child. I look back with joy at some of the games we used to play – some are still bestsellers, while others are new.
For the first time this year, Luna grabbed a catalogue and with her felt tip pen, she put a ring around everything she wanted to order – there wasn’t much she didn’t want! How nice of her, she was thinking of her little sister by circling the trumpet, drum and other noise-making toys – dad’s ears are already suffering!
It’s great to see the eyes sparkle when the tree lights up!
2. The Christmas tree. There is no question who’s responsible for carrying the Christmas tree all the way home. Every year, I tell myself to be reasonable… but inevitably we get a great big monument in the middle of the living room!
Decorating the tree is a wonderful moment for the family, where everyone gets to hang something – a bauble, some tinsel, or the star at the top… It’s great to see the eyes sparkle when the tree lights up! I’m really looking forward to Maëlie’s reaction because it will be her first Christmas!
3. The Christmas market. I’ve also rediscovered the charm of going to the Christmas market, seeing all the handmade produce and tasting the specialties at every stall: the gingerbread, honey, nougat (mmm…) and the chocolates that I could eat anytime… I share it all with Luna now! Another thing I like doing is taking the car and going for a drive in the smaller towns to see the street decorations, the window displays and also to take part in the various children’s activities.
Believing in Father Christmas is synonymous with childhood and a carefree life.
4. Father Christmas. Luna believes in Father Christmas and when she was smaller, she felt very overwhelmed by this colourful character, but now we can’t leave without taking a photo of her by his side! We read a lot of stories which feature this famous old man and we sing festive nursery rhymes.
Believing in Father Christmas is synonymous with childhood and a carefree life. I hope that Luna will continue to believe in him for a little while yet, but we’ll eventually explain to her that he’s a fictional figure… and that she’s old enough now to help us tell her little sister.
When they grow up, I hope my daughters will remember the spirit, the special atmosphere, the warmth, the lights, smells and happy moments shared by us as a family at Christmas. And, who knows, maybe we’ll get snow this year – to make the moment even more magical in the eyes of the little ones… and in the eyes of the larger ones like me!
*In France it is customary for merry-go-rounds to spring up around cities during the holiday season.
Lives: Saint-Céré, in the French countryside
Work: runs the blog monpapa.fr in which he shares his stories about family life
Family: married with two children, Luna and Maëlie