I think we may have over egged the Santa-Claus pudding a bit in the past couple of weeks. It started off gently enough, when we realised that the whole Coming Down The Chimney thing had been a hit. So we progressed onto the usual clichéd parental carrot / stick: Oooh Santa is going to be VERY happy with you / Santa won’t be at all happy with you (the latter being aired many times more than the former). Then the Man went a step further and told the tale of The Naughty Boy Who Was Given a Lump of Coal. Until one day after a more-naughty-than-nice event, before I could interject with an opinion on Santa’s frame of mind, he burst out with: “Don’t tell Santa!” He then proceeded to get quite hysterical about it, begging and pleading with me not to tell Santa, and not wanting black stones (our definition of coal). This continued over the next few days, to the point where Santa was clearly looming in his mind like a cross between a coal-miner and a bogey man (which suits me fine actually – think of all the money we’d save – but runs the risk of scarring his childhood slightly).
So imagine our delight when we got sent a video link via this website. Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of promoting stuff – particularly anything that requires any effort - but... This made my week. You upload info and pictures about your child (or, as in the sender’s case, her nephew) and – Ta-Da! – you get your own personalised video from Santa. The Boy Skypes quite a bit with far-away grandparents, so when his video came through he thought it was real time. I wish I’d videoed him watching it the first time (there have since been many, many times) because he sat there talking back at the Santa, as follows:
Santa: “Hello Freddie!”
Boy: (Gasp!) “Hello Santa!!”
S: “Blah blah blah blah I hope you’ve been a good boy?”
B: “YES!! ME GOOD! But Santa! Ava not good, she very very mean to me. BRING HER COAL!”
S: “Blah blah blah blah Will we look at your file?”
B: “Why he got a picture of me? SANTA, WHY YOU GOT A PICTURE OF ME?”
S: “Will we get the elves to check if you’ve been naughty or nice?”
B:”YES! NO! YES! ME NICE! Ava not nice. Ava MEAN.”
(Not unsurprisingly, the Boy passes the Naughty-or-Nice test. I assume that everyone does. But PLEASE contact me if your child doesn’t. I’ll be seriously impressed)
B: “YES SANTA YES!!!”
S: “So now Freddie, you must promise to be very nice to your sister all the time.”
(Silence from the Boy’s end)
S:”Blah blah blah blah ... I’m VERY PROUD of you Freddie!”
At this point, the Boy burst out crying. I had tears in my eyes too. Then the Man watched it with him and he got teary too. So, it’s brilliant. I have no idea how much effort goes into it – it’s personalised, with photos and references to the kid’s circumstances – but honestly, it’s fantastic. Just be sure to tape the little ones watching it. And pick up some coal next time you're in the coal-shop. Just in case.