The holidays are here!
Turks do trees for New Year, so ornaments abound. Loads of glitter and gold. Of course, you can't exactly find Nativity scenes or Christmas wrapping paper easily, and there's no caroling in the square. We had Matt's office Christmas party last week, and one of his colleagues, Didier, made an appearance as Santa. Leading up to the event, the kids were excited because they figured Santa=presents. We were unprepared for Lucas' beeline for the far side of the room, as far away from Santa as possible when Santa walked in the door. He was clearly nervous, and despite our encouragement to go over and get his gift, he was talking a mile a minute: "NoI'mOK. Idon'twanttogooverthere. NoI'mnotscared." Riiiiight.
It dawned on us that Lucas' Santa exposure has been limited. No annual visits to the Mall to sit on Santa's lap and share a secret list. The last time Lucas saw Santa he was nearly 2, we were living in Thailand, and the Santa was our friend Charlie, with whom we had partied hard the night before our playgroup's annual Christmas party. I think that Santa Charlie was still a little hungover that morning. Lucas screamed as 2-year-olds are supposed to do when encouraged to sit on a stranger's red lap, but he never got to do the 3- and 4-year-old visits when they slowly, slowly get to the point where they will allow you to take a photo where everyone's smiling and happy. After the swarm of small children had dissolved in front of Santa, Lucas finally got close enough to stretch his arm as far as possible to collect his present.
A few days later, we had the annual Winter Bazaar at school. A new feature this year was Santa in his grotto (it's a British thing, don't ask - I always imagine Santa in a damp cave with nymphs flitting about) and the chance to have your photo taken. While I wasn't exactly expecting the professional Santa who frequents our neighborhood mall in the US with his real beard, snowy white to match his hair and his hearty Ho, Ho, Ho! our school Santa was, um, uncomfortable to say the least. He was the husband of one of the preschool teachers, a lovely man who's quite shy, and thirty seconds before the kids were meant to arrive, we were frantically scrambling to find a beard. I prepped Lucas, telling him who Santa's helper was. He wasn't exactly excited but agreed to pose. I managed to get the kids next to him for 10 seconds to get a photo, and Lucas looks as if he's been arrested. Darcy has the lip-closed smile that is seemingly the only way all the girls in her class are smiling this year, apparently the only appropriate way to smile if you are an 8- or 9-year-old girl.
Deck the halls!