Monday, December 7, 2009

Holidays are coming…

Nope they’re here.

According to the shops, Christmas starts the day after Halloween, or Thanksgiving, and ends when they take down the January sales signs and replace them with Valentines hearts and Cadburys Crème eggs.

According to one friend they start the moment she sees the Coke lorry advert on the telly.

When I was a kid we knew Christmas was coming when we’d see Harry get the juggling clubs out and start practising above the sofa. Soon afterwards that year's panto script would thump through the letterbox and I'd start running the lines with him… “Now I’m outside Peking’s walls, I think I’ll have a juggle with me balls”…
Ah happy days…

These days my Christmas panic sets in when NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) launches their Santa tracker. For those unaware, every year NORAD counts down to the big day. When Santa sets off from the North Pole they train their heat seeking radar onto Rudolph’s nose and post live updates of exactly when Santa Claus is coming to town so you can make sure you’re in bed. Why they do this is a story to melt the iciest heart.

In 1955 the Sears department store in Colorado ran an advert with a phone number for kids to call Santa. But, thanks to a misprint, when little Jimmy dialed up he didn’t get the man in red – he got the hotline of the Commander-in-Chief of CONAD, NORAD’s predecessor. When Colonel Harry Shoup answered the phone he asked his staff to check the Radar for Santa’s whereabouts. Santa was very pleased with their efforts, so the volunteers at NORAD have done it ever since. God bless ‘em, every one.

Their site also hosts one of the most addictive games online - Light up the Christmas tree. I dare you to play it just the once. I can’t, I got obsessed with it last year. I’m trying to resist as long as I can. Once I start, it means I’ll be ignoring the thousand other things I have to do.

Like thanking my editor for the Christmas party. A few days ago I tootled up to town for a spot of mingling with fellow Children’s authors, whose main advice was to avoid going onto to the pub after the party. Who knew they would be such hell raisers, mind you, as a breed they don’t get out much. I also finally managed to put a face to my editor’s name and voice and got to meet the illustrator of Dragon’s Dinner, Lynne Chapman. Both were charming. Unlike me. While chatting to a partygoer I asked what he did. Gesturing to his name badge he told me, in tones reserved for the terminally thick, “I’m a writer – My last book was a number one Darling!” Feeling like a number two, I got me coat.

Also on the to do list - aside from send all the cards, get all the presents, wrap all the presents, hide all the presents, do all the shopping, clean all the rooms, build all the beds for the descending hoards, get through the school nativity (twice), panto trip, craft morning, carol service, disco and fair – I also have to finish making princess dresses. No. 1 and No. 2 daughters like dressing up. But both are very, very particular. No. 1 wants to have copies of Disney character dresses that are not available in the shops – I know, I’ve looked. And No. 2 will not wear any of No.1’s old dresses. She will only wear the one dress that was specifically given to her last year and is now like a bandage. This explains why the dining room table is awash with pink satin and I’m having to beat back 15 meters of netting with a stick to get to the dress pattern…

All the time the kids chocolate advent calendars shave off the remaining days while the sugar makes them even more hyper… what was I thinking

I’m never going to get it all done in time

Oh yes you are

Oh no I’m not…. Ho, Ho, Ho.

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