Dear Santa… I’m not sure what I want

My son starts writing a letter to Santa – but quickly becomes distracted

My son’s in that sweet twilight period of Christmases past; neither completely ignorant of what Christmas is, nor so radically materialistic that he forms his entire year around it. He’s three and a half, whereas my earliest memories of Christmas begin around four, by which point I was so gleefully mercenary I read the Argos catalogue like a holy text and frequently scoured our home for hidden presents as early as summer.

This latter activity was merely good operational sense, since I spent much of my childhood being gifted presents for my younger brother Conall, by well-meaning aunties and uncles who couldn’t get my 10 siblings’ and my name, correct. No such event was more traumatising than when he, aged three, was given a double-barrelled Nerf gun with plastic scope, while I, aged six, was given a small train that played nursery rhymes. My father, very much the Pontius Pilate of early 90s Northern Ireland, refused to accept a mistake had been made. This left me to dejectedly push my sad little lullaby locomotive round the living room carpet, while being pelted with foam projectiles by a toddler holding a gun so big he could barely lift it above his knees.

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