Santa Claus is coming to town…

By Angeline Ruston 2019-01-09 16:47:29

Christmas! A most frenzied time for most parents and in my case an almost fanatical time of year. I am the definitive Mother Christmas. The crazy lady who dusts off her plastic pine-coned and imitation holly wreath as soon the Halloween paraphernalia is turfed! “Darling, if we put the decorations up now we will have them up for a fifth of the year. That just isn’t normal!” my husband, the traditionalist, complains. I’m that menace on the JinQiao pavement, strolling whilst scrolling through Taobao’s array of gimmicky stocking fillers and causing many a crazy laowai comment from passersby. I have a very real addiction to any pretty, red and gold wrapped irrelevant gift set; a retail marketer’s dream come true!



I just love everything Christmas. From putting up the tree as early as possible and adorning it with hundreds of beautifully fragile ornaments lovingly collected, alongside the sentimental child-made decorations, so ugly that they are strategically placed either at the back of the tree or behind the guest loo door handle… To the sickly sweet smell of cinnamon candles, homemade mince pies, calorie filled turkey stuffing and that deliciously spiced and warmed mulled wine.



I have all the apparel too. The sexy red and white trimmed dress, and the silly, fugly jumper. An assortment of accessories including, sparkly snowmen and bauble earrings, reindeer antlers, and Father Christmas ear muffs. Every plate, mug and table cloth hand-picked from Christmas Bazaars over the years. Even my devotee to dress-up husband has a Christmas Pudding outfit, and I think my kids have inherited this crazy Christmas obsessed gene too.

Juliette started writing her present wish list to Santa in August, and has been making her signature reindeer food for weeks; a delightful mixture of crayon shavings, glitter and water meticulously slopped together in her toy kitchen’s wooden pot. Unfortunately, this also means we will need to replace the carpets in her bedroom if we ever want to get our deposit back!

"A wonderful catch phrase phrase that is ever present in our home this time of year, "SANTA IS WATCHING!"

But now as a Mum, I love something even more about Christmas. A wonderful catch phrase that is ever present in our home this time of year, “SANTA IS WATCHING!” It’s motivating, threatening, and entirely innocent all at once. And for our impressionable three and almost five year olds, it is the ultimate inspiration for good behaviour! If ever there was encouragement to keep the kids believing, this is surely it. Like the song goes:

"You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout (with our girls, we change 'pout' to 'fight') I'm telling you why... Santa Claus is coming to town!"

All a parent needs to do, especially the lazy ones like myself that can’t seem to finish the first chapter of the Positive Parenting book on my bedside table, is to learn the words to Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Even just humming this tune has the desired effect. Simply put it is the Pavlovian Christmas bell to get perfectly behaved children!



I am not ashamed to admit that this Mum (and sometimes Dad) rely on the fact that Santa is watching, and of course, keeping score, for almost three months before Christmas. And as Juliette ‘accidentally-on-purpose’ pulls Isabella’s hair, and Isabella retaliates by smacking off her sister’s glasses, I softly hum the melody to get them to apologise with an awkward hug.

Even Amazon (and now IKEA) seem to be cashing in on this concept with the ever popular ‘Elf on the Shelf’, and when Christmas is over, the Shanghai Police Legoman will take over to be the all-seeing ‘Big Brother is watching’ eye in our house. For confidential conversations, I highly recommend doing this with the vacuum cleaner on!

But before I sign off… to search for my antique nativity scene stashed away from the kids in a forgotten hiding place. And continue the painstaking and crazed planning that goes into having Christmas back home, including the conundrum of how to flat pack a bike purchased in China to place under Granny’s real live tree (plastic not acceptable!)… I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and remind you that if you are a parent, who also suffers from children who occasionally misbehave, the only song you will ever need at Christmas is ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’.

Trust me… it works ;)