We approach the mairie at top speed, then grind to an sudden halt in the middle of the cobbled square in front of the main entrance. I realise I am going to be late for work, again, but pausing to show Tadpole Something Interesting is much more important than accurate timekeeping, in my opinion. And my annual evaluation was last week.
“Look! Those men are putting some big Christmas trees up over there!”
Tadpole turns to stare in the wrong direction. She hasn’t yet grasped the concept of looking to see what my finger is actually pointing towards.
“Over there, near the clock,” I prompt, impatiently.
“Ooh! Is VERY BIG that Christmas tree!” she exclaims, suitably excited.
“Soon, the men will put lights on the trees, and decorations, and it will be really pretty,” I explain. “I think they’ll probably turn the lights on on Thursday.”
What a wonderful thing it is to live in a country where the run up to Christmas only starts on December 1st, I think to myself. Overpriced Christmas trees are only just going on sale in the local florist’s, and so far I haven’t been subjected to a single Christmas song while shopping in Monoprix.
“And Père Noël will put some presents there for [Tadpole],” my daughter continues, clearly having taken to heart the lesson I taught her only yesterday using our newly purchased Happyland Christmas Set, pictured above.
“Yes, but only if you’re a very good girl,” I clarify. “If you’re a naughty girl, you’ll get …” I pause, for dramatic effect, to let her finish my sentence.
I think I’m starting to see the logic behind the whole Father Christmas myth, now that Tadpole is old enough to understand it. There is seemingly unlimited mileage to be had out of The Christmas Threat. I wonder how many times between now and December 25th I will catch myself saying “don’t be naughty, Father Christmas is watching you!”
The only flaw in my dastardly plan is my patent inability to actually purchase any presents without giving in to a sudden and overwhelming urge to let Tadpole have them immediately. So, not only will there be no presents under the Christmas tree come D-day if my irresponsible behaviour continues, but Tadpole won’t actually care about The Christmas threat because every single day of the past week has been Christmas as far as she is concerned.
Must try harder.