Taking Stock - December 17, 2012

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It’s no good, I’ll admit it.

There’s a week to go until Christmas and, well, my wallet is feeling just a little bit light.

I suspect I’m not alone. There’ll be plenty of dads out there totting up the numbers trying to work out just how they managed to spend so much before December even really began.

In my case it’s not because I’ve gone on some horrendous high street spending blitz.

As tempting as it might be for some to blow December’s wages on making sure there’s a huge pile of presents under the tree a week tomorrow – well that’s just not me.

Of course there will be goodies for The Munchkins, and plenty of them.

But I’ve not emptied my wallet or put myself into hoc for the entire of 2013 just to make it happen.

Nor, before you accuse me, have I been out on the festive pop.

The chances are my Christmas do will have involved one or two hastily consumed pints and an early bed, seeing as Saturday took me on the long journey to Gillingham to write about Fleetwood Town.

What has cost me an arm and a leg then?

Well, there was the school Christmas Fair where we paid for a picture with Santa (not sitting on his knee – that sort of thing being frowned on these days), splatted some rats, guessed the weights or contents of umpteen different things and bought all the baubles and other festive creations The Munchkin had made.

Then there was the nativity – £15 to make a chicken costume which ended up looking like a flattened owl – the tombolas at £1 a pop, not to mention the trip to the pantomime.

It’s a wonder schools don’t do a credit check before your little one enrols.

Of course, I’m not claiming for a second all my money has gone to the school.

Nor do I begrudge them the cash. It’s important our youngsters get the best possible start in life, even if I never do manage to go home with a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates from the prize pot.

Plenty of money has gone making sure St Nick brings exactly the right presents on Christmas morning – even if I don’t approve of the idea of a chocolate lolly maker.

Plenty too has gone on ensuring the cupboards are well stocked ahead of the festive season.

And I do feel grateful – reading the stories every day about people in Blackpool and the Fylde who have nothing this festive season – my family will not go wanting.

But I do sometimes sit and wonder where it all goes and the first thing that pops into my head is the nativity raffle money I’ll never see again.

But it doesn’t matter.

Seeing The Munchkin in her first nativity was worth every penny.

As was the look on her face when she sat for a minute with Father Christmas – even if it means I do have to help the big man find a chocolate lolly maker in the next week.

Seeing all of their faces on Christmas morning, well, of course, every parent knows, that’s priceless.