November is still autumn. Not even the season for Christmas. Lüneburg however, like every other city in the western world, has been walloped with the silly-stick and you can't move for tinsel and glittery balls. Stimulating for the late, great Liberace perhaps but I'm channeling my inner Victor Meldrew.
For me the festive season starts mid December. Before then I do not wish to hear Feed the World, see a reindeer or watch The Sound of Music (I am however partial to the occasional piping hot glühwein, already being sold in the market place).
Around now, Finje receives a blanket ban from going into town. It's too much too soon. All that sparkle causes a reaction in her like Winnie the Pooh when he gets his paws on the honey pot. Of course, demonstrating yet again exemplary parenting skills, I exploit the situation by using the festive season to my own advantage. Anything she asks for from now until The Big Day receives the response, "You'll have to ask Father Christmas".
I'm not above hypocrisy when it serves my needs.
We have a "no gift overload" policy in our home. Fear of raising our only child as a spoiled brat drove us to it and that same fear means we stick to it. Convincing the grandparents to comply however, is challenging.
My mother-in -law and I have, previously, shopped for presents together. I thought it best, assuming I'd be able to curb her spending. But that, as it turned out, was not the main issue. We seemed to be searching for gifts for different people. I was buying for Finje, bit of a tomboy, favourite colour black, wants to be a knight when she grows up and just yesterday made a rocket out of Lego.
Her grandmother on the other hand seems to be shopping for her imaginary granddaughter......Shirley Temple.
Last year, dismayed to learn that she didn't already have one, she insisted on buying Finje a doll. Dolls are freaky. I had to take action but didn't want to seem churlish so conditions were laid down: It must not have blinky eyes (very freaky) and under no circumstances should it pee. Or cry. Most importantly, I told her if she bought a Barbie I would abduct Finje, take her to Siberia and raise her with the wolves.
The doll has blond hair and non blinky eyes. It can usually be found with string in its mouth on all fours carrying a Lego cowboy. Its name?