Posted in Family, Personal life

We Really Do Not Need Another Reindeer

Plastic toy reindeer from Bristol Zoo
Monarch of the Toybox)

With Christmas still a month away, I’ve been resisting my daughter’s requests to put up our decorations this weekend.  

The festive season doesn’t start until December,  I tell her. No matter how many “Buy One Get One Free” or “3 for 2” offers we see, now is not the time to buy  crackers, tinsel or wrapping paper,

In any case, we already have lots of Christmas decorations stashed away in the cellar. Once we’ve turned our kitchen calendar to its final page, I will bring them back upstairs. When I do, there will be plenty to go around.

Then, at the zoo today, she suggests we buy a plastic reindeer. We really do not need another reindeer. There are whole herds of them in this house, in various shapes and forms. We have more reindeer than Santa:

  • a large cuddly one with light-up antlers the colour of traffic lights
  • a small plush that looks like it’s leapt out of a Babycham advert
  • a Playmobil team of reindeer, complete with sleigh and Santa
  • a bristly creature made of bundles of sticks
  • a family of small straw reindeer that stowed away in our IKEA trolley

How many reindeer does a girl need, for goodness sake?

But then again, for how many more Christmases will my only child be treasuring these childhood trappings of Christmas?

This morning she had a playdate with a friend. Together they retreated to the playroom and all fell uncharacteristically quiet. I asked her afterwards what games they had been playing.

“Oh, we didn’t really play,” she replied vaguely. “We just sat around and talked for a long time. And we flicked through the Argos book to look at Christmas presents. She’s getting an iPod touch.”

Comet the Reindeer with light-up antlers
Comet, the only reindeer whose antlers light up and flash

With a twinge of melancholy, I recognised that this will be her last Christmas in single figures. Then we’ll be on a slippery slope to the teenage years, when her wish-list is more likely to be clothes and make-up rather than cuddly toys and games. Playdates will be supplanted by sessions experimenting with make-up and biro tattoos of boys’ initials.

That is of course as it should be. If she’s still requesting cuddly toys when she’s fifteen, I shall be worried. But I’m in no hurry.

And so on this afternoon’s trip to the zoo, I find myself positively encouraging her to bring home yet another a small plastic reindeer.

After all, it is nearly Christmas.


If you liked that post, you might like this one about My Best Childhood Christmas Memories.


English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

6 thoughts on “We Really Do Not Need Another Reindeer

  1. I’m resisting decorating ’til next weekend (well, we wil begin next weekend and do the main stuff – i.e. tree – the following weekend) but I have been embracing the Christmas spirit elsewhere and loving all the neighbourhood houses that are highly decorated already!

    1. I think that’s the best of both worlds, Madeleine. Though I’m slow to put my decorations up, I still love seeing other people’s decorations. I’ve been known to detour to take in a few local houses that I know will be covered, pavement to chimney, in lights for weeks in advance of Christmas Day! Much as I love those elegant candle bridges made popular by Nordic nations (and IKEA), they just do not have the same wow factor!

  2. Lovely post, Debbie, made me feel wistful and determined to appreciate these years while my daughter is still young enough to get excited about the little things. I was also under pressure to put up our decorations this weekend, but I resisted too. Now I’m thinking – decorations in November? What harm can it do? 🙂

    1. If it’s what you want to do, Jo, put those decorations up now! The time when they are little goes far too quickly…

      I must admit I am a purist about Xmas decs and although I’m slow to put them up, I’m also slow to take them down – not a moment before Twelfth Night!

  3. I remember picking up marissa in 5th grade and all of a sudden instead of running around playing they were sitting on the swings or hanging out

Leave a Reply