Do you know about the most stupid Christmas tradition for kids? If you’re living in South America or Spain, I reckon you do.
Let me enlighten you…
The first time I actually experienced it was in Spain. We were staying at a hotel with my Spanish in-laws and staff asked if our one year old would like to see Father Christmas. He’d be passing around at about 11 o’clock. Sounds delightful. Sign us up, please.
It was tricky settling my little one, but at least I had the ‘better get some sleep, Father Christmas is coming soon’ card to play. My husband was off for a festive nightcap with his brothers and I would stay back with our child.
‘I’ll wake you up when Father Christmas is here then!’ he said.
Wait, wait, wait. Say what?! 11 pm? PM? As in night time?!
Christmas Fun, Latino Style
After much debate it turns out that in Spain, Chile, and many Latin American countries parents keep their kids (including tiny toddlers) awake until the early hours when Father Christmas arrives. A Brazilian friend will be keeping her kids up until well past midnight.
Imagine this: it’s Christmas eve and you finally get your hyperactive kids to sleep. Then you wake them up to tell him Father Christmas is here. They don’t want to wake up, so you have to bully them. Stage two: they’re plied with gifts and sweets. Then, as mothers you’re left with sugar high, utterly exhausted kids who refuse to go to bed.
‘No, you have to wait to open your presents in the morning!’ shouted my husband. Yeah, sure. Merry Christmas.
Sitting This One Out
Chile: I adore so many of your traditions. No doubt we’ll be toasting in the New Year over a pisco sour. However, as I’ve explained to my kids, Father Christmas probably still thinks we’re on GMT hours. This is one tradition I’ll be leaving to the Latinos.