Before I became a dad, Christmas was an important time for me to meet up with my 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 once again became a special time of the year, just like 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 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 catalogs. When I glance through them, I remember the toys I liked to play with, and I see toys 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 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 everyone’s eyes sparkle when the tree lights up!
2. The Christmas tree. No question that someone else is 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 everyone’s eyes sparkle when the tree lights up! I’m really looking forward to Maëlie’s reaction since this 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 (mmmm…) and the chocolate 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 and the window displays and also to take part in the various children’s activities.
Believing in Santa Claus is synonymous with childhood and a carefree life.
4. Santa Claus. Luna still believes in Santa Claus. When she was smaller, she felt very overwhelmed by this colorful character, but now we can’t leave without taking a photo of her by his side! We read a lot of stories that feature this famous old man and we sing festive nursery rhymes.
Believing in Santa Claus 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 little kids… and in the eyes of the larger kids 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