|Our favourite Santa - 2012|
Without fail, he has appeared in early December every year that we've lived here. The faint sound of Christmas carols is heard above the onions sizzling for supper, and there is a rush to find all the spare change in the house, for this Santa is the very best kind of Santa. Instead of distributing presents, he lights up the dark December evenings in North Wiltshire, collects money for local good causes, and enables the Lions club to provide Christmas dinners for people living alone.
In our ten visits from the tractor-pulled Santa, my kids have grown from babies, to small children demanding to know if he is the 'real' Santa. Now they are big children; believers in Santa no more, and unpeturbed by the fact that on their way back from the library yesterday, they saw the sprightly, clean-shaven Santa pulling up in his car at the top of the road ready to don his outfit and hop onto the float. Non-believers they may be, but having overtaken Santa down the street, the two of them couldn't wait to stand outside our house with the babies from over the road, who have taken their place as the youngest residents.
I suspect that even when they are surly teenagers, the arrival of Santa will still bring a smile to their faces, and that in years to come, it won't be the gifts of Lego sets, Playmobil or dolls' pushchairs that they remember, but the joy of Santa's early arrival.
Is there something that always heralds the start of the Christmas season for you?