So who on earth is Farmer MissMiss? Is she an unmarried female involved in the agricultural industry? Here’s a clue: it’s not a she, it’s a he and he wears a red suit, has a big beard and likes squeezing into small spaces. It took me a few days to decipher it too but once I heard that Farmer MissMiss was going to be bringing my daughter presents, the penny dropped and I realised that she meant Father Christmas.
It’s incredible how quickly kids catch on to ideas that can benefit them. Concepts such as packing away toys and putting on shoes can take months to learn, but give them a week at playgroup learning about a funny man on a sleigh who brings them presents and they’ve got it wrapped. You see next week is the last week of school and Father Christmas is coming to visit. We’ve been asked to buy and wrap up a gift for our child, which will go into the communal sack and be given to them when he arrives.
One thing I love about having a child is how it lets you feel a little bit like a child all over again too. I have such clear memories of the excitement as you waited for your name to be called and the pure joy of being surprised when you got given that wrapped gift by the old man in a suit. You had no idea what was inside and it all felt slightly mystical, that this gift had been chosen specially for you, out of all the children in the world.
Unfortunately this joy is not something every child in the world will experience. I’m very aware of how lucky Rachel is, especially compared to the majority of children in South Africa. Initiatives such as Santa’s Shoebox are doing amazing work and I want to try and do this every year with my children, so that they can learn just how lucky they are. Of course, there are cynics who will say that this initiative works so well because the privileged few use it purely as a way of alleviating their guilt. But if it’s enriching children’s lives, even for a short time, I feel that it’s more than achieved its goal.
We all have family traditions revolving around Christmas, whether it’s having a big dinner on Christmas Eve, going to Church together on the 25th or putting your stockings by the fireplace (and not at the bottom of your bed). So as my kids get older I need to work out how the Mountains are going to be doing it. Will we put up the tree on December the 1st? Will we leave some biscuits and milk for Farmer MissMiss or some biltong and beer? The latter was always my father’s idea, as apparently he thought the man in the red suit would need a cold one after the hard work of managing a team of feisty reindeer (makes sense to me!).
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, here’s hoping you have a December break filled with love, reflection, fun, hope and laughter. All those good things, that can’t necessarily be wrapped up and tied with a bow – that’s what I’m wishing for this Christmas.