As we run through November, I get even more excited. I daydream about what presents to buy, I spend ages browsing Amazon and other sites I usually visit for gifts as well as investigating new links. I start winding the little little foxes up, I crank it up bit by bit as December approaches. I ask them repeatedly what they would like to ask Santa for, I 'misplace' their lists so that they have to think it through again. I ask what they might like from mum and dad and leave the odd wrapped present lying around so that they ask me, 'Who is that for?' and 'What is it? Oh yes, this to me is the best part of Christmas - so much so that I actually feel melancholy on Christmas morning because I know it will all be over soon. The evening almost feels, no, it actually does feel like a bit of an anti-climax.
My melancholy morning ends as soon as I hear little hands rustling around sacks and hear them asking each other, 'What have you got? Have you got one of these?' Then there's the moment they rush into our bedroom with their stashes and jump on our bed, excitedly showing us all their bits and bobs.
Of course Christmas Eve is always a challenge. They are so excited but I need them to sleep so that I have enough time to make sure I've got everything covered. I want time to prepare some veg and make sure everywhere is tidy before snuggling up with daddy fox to watch a film while sipping last years batch of sloe gin.
When one of their cousins stayed for Christmas a couple of years ago, I decided that I needed a little white lie to keep the excited chattering to a minimum. Something to make sure their heads were down early enough for them to not be rotten tired and therefore, hard work, by late afternoon the next day. So, after finishing some raffia paper, I used the cardboard roll as the body of a Xmas elf. I had a large wooden bead left over from my paper angel decorations to use as a head and used more raffia and string as hair and clothes for my handy helper.
Come bed time on Christmas Eve, I took one of the lavender bags from my knicker drawer and together my cardboard elf, stepped into their bedroom.
'Ssssshhhh!' I told them, 'ssssshhhh' and held up the elf. 'This little fella' I said, 'he is called Miggle and he's one of Santa's elves. I know he doesn't look much right now but he is magic and will come alive when you lot go to sleep. You all know that Santa can't leave your toys here until you're asleep so Miggle has brought this lavender pillow to help you all drop off. The moment you are all asleep, Miggle will send word to Santa and let him know that it's safe for him to come into the house with your toys.'
Well, I said something along those lines and put the little lavender bag in the middle of the room. This was clearly only going to have a placebo effect, if any, because I really needed 4 bags - one for each of the children but the gist was there and accepted and considered. My oldest was 4, middle was 3 and wee Tom fox was 1 and too young to really know what was going on. Cousin Daisy had just turned 5 and I think that they were all young enough to seriously take it on board. Whether it worked, I don't know but they were asleep well before 9 so I decided the idea was a success.
... visit us again within the week and I'll show you how I made Mrs Fox's elves - with pictures and everything!