We went to a ‘children’s fun day’ at our local town hall today, excited that baby Scarlett would meet Father Christmas for the first time. Advertised was lots of Christmas cheer and plenty of stalls selling Christmas wares. Brilliant we thought, a start to our Christmas season. We arranged to meet two other Mums and five of their friends and children.
Out of the seven of us, who all ended up sitting in Copa, a local family friendly pub shortly after entering the ‘fun’ Christmas day, only two of us ended up even bothering to go in at all and both of us said it hadn’t been worth it. As any kids over 4 should be at school on a Wednesday morning, we mistakenly believed there would be lots of things to occupy the eyes and delight of under 4’s.
We also weren’t expecting in the huge queue to see Father Christmas to be approached by representatives asking if we wanted to consider changing our gas suppliers or fill in council surveys or sign up for a business opportunity. We were there for Christmas joy, but apart from 3 small rather sad looking Christmas trees on the stage, the Christmas part of the event was slightly lacking. We left the Father Christmas line when it was clear that the £2 to see Santa was also accompanied by the very annoying extra queue activities.
The hall was jam packed with stalls, admittedly some Christmassy, but some not at all. In fact, instead of just stalls raising money for well deserved charities and mainly with Christmas based items; the hall was unnecessarily cluttered up by the stalls selling other unrelated things, ‘here’s an aloe product & now I’ve made eye contact with you, let me take your details so I can tell you about this amazing business opportun….’ I’m sorry let me stop you there, I’m here for the delight in my baby girls eyes at twinkling Christmassy things, not to be droned at about soap with hidden motives! I realise that events like that need to make money, I realise a lot of the stall owners were Mums themselves trying to shove their business down our throats so they can make a bit of extra money to give their kids an extra special Christmas. I realise that to such an extent that I often shop from those small business owners especially at this time of year. But it’s too much, it’s too pushy, it’s not a Christmas Fun Day!
Even if all those parts were in a separate room, because trust me, no Mum with a impatient toddler wanting to see Father Christmas is going to want to stand chatting about their energy supplier.
I had been excited to go, at 4 months old, hearing her giggles and seeing her smiles at a Christmas fun day at all the seasonal things are admittedly more for us parents than for her. But after a disappointing trip round, our little girl got more joy walking through the big Xmas tree in the Regent Arcade on the way back to the car than the designated holiday event. Probably because inside the tree no-one was flapping a leaflet in our faces!
I don’t want Scarlett to be disappointed by these events and I don’t want to avoid them because of the shameful consumerism. You expect a day out to Alton Towers to be very expensive. Likewise, you expect to have to spend a few pounds at a local event to make sure they can be held, but you don’t expect (and rightly so) to be lambasted.
In future, we’ll be avoiding the town hall ‘business masquerading as fun day’ events as they sadly advertise in a way that’s misleading. Watching our kids giggling away with a couple of toys and each other’s company with plenty of space in Copa was enough to prove we’d made a much better decision by leaving. Christmas is unavoidably commercial, but companies should at least pretend to give two hoots about their target market!
So sadly today’s blog post is not, as hoped, about how much fun we had starting off our Christmassy period with a fun day.
However, I’d like to end on a positive. We came away with a gift from one charity stall selling seasonal gifts from a fantastic woman who raises money for Cancer Research whilst putting smiles on children’s faces. She hand-makes everything and puts in a lot of her own money to be able to do it. Thankfully there are people like her in the world and we were at least able to have a chat with her and we are all very pleased with our little Christmas bear.
As for Scarlett’s first meeting with Santa, we’re hoping to tick off that particular experience this weekend instead, we’re just hoping it won’t be accompanied by any unwanted corporate baggage…or else Mummy will use words that will land her on the naughty list…!